The Office of Health Equity (OoHE) at CAMH has demonstrated a positive change within CAMH and the larger community through its community collaboration, research and capacity building in response to the arrival of Syrian Refugees to Canada.
In 2015, when the Federal government announced support for Syrian Refugees, the OoHE joined a community coalition with researchers from Wellesley Institute, York University and community partner agencies, including COSTI, the Arab Community Centre and Armenian Family Services. The coalition aimed to examine integration and the health service response in Toronto for better access to mental and physical health of refugees.
This collaboration allowed for data development and the overall findings leading to further policy conversations. The OoHE acted as conveners of community, recognizing service gaps that exist for the refugee population and becoming a catalyst for change. As a result:
• the New Beginnings Clinic (NBC), a refugee clinic at CAMH, was established with primary care partners;
• the Refugee Mental Health Project (RMHP) was expanded to a national scope and to include the experiences of Immigrants in the Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health Project (IRMHP); and
• training through School Mental Health ASSIST (SMH ASSIST) was developed for educators across Ontario on refugee mental health.