Speaker Series Yields Call to Action

Mar 12, 2019

Dr. Turnbull addresses attendees at our January 23 Speaker Series

“It’s rooms like us that make change happen” 

Dr. Jeff Turnbull ended his disturbing, but inspiring, presentation with a call to action: “The solution rests with all of us in the room … we all have a role to play.”

He called on everyone present – service providers, elected officials, city representatives, funders, engaged citizens – to work together to improve health equity, decrease homelessness, and achieve greater success treating addictions and mental health.

An experienced large hospital leader (The Ottawa Hospital), Dr. Turnbull argues that using the community hospital ER to treat the addiction and mental health incidents of the homeless is neither sustainable nor equitable; therefore, he joined Ottawa Inner City Health to develop innovative and unorthodox approaches that provide better access to health care for Ottawa’s most vulnerable populations: the homeless, and the poor, the addicted, and the mentally ill. The goal: “The right care, at the right place at the right time.”

The stand-out piece of advice that Dr. Turnbull had for those working with the chronically homeless, addicted, and mentally ill: “Focus on youth” to prevent the start of street living and addiction. It is easier and more cost-effective to prevent than to treat homelessness and addiction, once in the cycle.

CFKA’s Vital Signs® 2016 documents the Early Development Index results for local children’s readiness to enter school, identifying those children at risk at an early age,  page 4: Click here to read more

Getting Started is one of the Foundation’s Smart & Caring Priorities.

Mike Bell, CEO of Kingston Community Health Centres (KCHC) followed with a local perspective on homelessness and health equity in Kingston.  He cited some local successes to date since Kingston adopted the Housing First approach in 2015 and called on the community to keep the momentum going by creating a common understanding and philosophy based on trauma-informed principles.

We will be picking up on these two speakers’ calls to action at our Speaker Series event May 13 featuring Dr. Meredith MacKenzie. This presentation will dive deeper into the topic of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and how we can use this knowledge to change our approach dealing with youth to yield better health and life outcomes.  Watch for details and registration to come.

Copies of the presentation slides are available here:

Dr. Turnbull’s presentation: Health Equity & Homelessness: Our Collective Responsibility to Service & Community

Mike Bell’s presentation: Homelessness and Health Equity in Kingston

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