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Webinar: Increasing older adults’ access to care: Lessons learned from the pandemic response


The Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA) Community of Interest invites you to its upcoming webinar on initiatives to address equitable access to care for older adults during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Older adults are a diverse and growing population in Ontario, often with greater healthcare and social support needs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these needs have only increased and so has the risk of social isolation. As a result, many Community Health Centres (CHCs), which are comprehensive primary health care organizations in Ontario, responded rapidly to try to provide safe and accessible services to marginalized older adults.

In this webinar, Sara Bhatti of the Alliance for Healthier Communities and Alvis Choi of Yet Keen Seniors’ Day Centre describe specific responses taken by CHCs to address the needs of older adults during the pandemic.

Sara Bhatti will explore the delivery of virtual care by CHCs during the pandemic and its implications for older adults. Virtual care, defined in simplest terms as receiving care remotely, has the ability to both increase and decrease access to primary health care. It is therefore crucial to understand how to implement virtual care with a specific lens on health equity. Sara’s presentation will look at:

  • how virtual delivery of care was implemented by CHCs
  • the challenges CHCs faced during this implementation
  • the experiences of older adults who received virtual care.

Alvis Choi will describe an evolving process of supporting a population of racialized seniors through the pandemic. Alvis will share:

  • the specific challenges and barriers that the Chinese-speaking seniors at Yet Keen face
  • the approaches and strategies that have been practised in understanding and meeting the needs of this community.

Register here.

About the presenters

Sara Bhatti (she/her) is the Research and Policy Analyst at the Alliance for Healthier Communities. Her work revolves around coordinating research projects led by or in partnership with the Alliance, which are typically focused on primary care models, integrated care, social determinants of health, and health equity. Prior to coming to the Alliance, Sara was a research coordinator at Rexdale Community Health Centre. Sara holds a Master in Public Health, specializing in social inequities and health, and qualitative research.

Alvis Choi (they/them) is the Program Coordinator of Yet Keen Seniors’ Day Centre in Ottawa, a program of Somerset West Community Health Centre. Prior to this commitment, Alvis worked with various marginalized communities to promote racial justice, affordable healthcare, and labour equity. From 2015-2017, Alvis was appointed as the Chairperson of the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter. They are a collective member of Marvellous Grounds, a project that seeks to document and create space to vision the ways that QTBIPOC (queer and trans Black, Indigenous and people of colour) create communities, innovate projects and foster connections, and have also been involved with the work of Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network) since 2015. Alvis holds a Master in Environmental Studies with a research focus on Performance as Pedagogy and Community Transformation.

About the organizations

The Alliance for Healthier Communities is the voice of a vibrant network of community-governed primary health care organizations. Alliance members serve diverse communities across the province, and they are rooted in the communities they serve. They share a commitment to advancing health equity through the delivery of comprehensive primary health care.

Yet Keen Seniors’ Day Centre is a program of Somerset West Community Health Centre in Ottawa. The Centre typically opens 4 days a week as a drop-in centre with vibrant activities serving mainly Cantonese and Mandarin speaking seniors. During COVID, Yet Keen has been offering language and cultural specific online and phone programs, remote social opportunities, technical assistance for seniors as well as outreach support. Our focus on physical health and mental wellbeing ensures that seniors stay healthy, active, and engaged.

Visit the HEIA Community of Interest website for information about the HEIA tool and to learn more about this community of interest.

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