Rexdale Community Health Centre (RCHC) has three locations in Etobicoke, serving the Rexdale and surrounding communities. Over the pandemic, their team has worked tirelessly to meet the continually high needs of their patient community. As they look ahead, they intend to continue collaboration with organizations like the BPAO to keep the momentum of good work progressing forward.
“I think our partnership is strong. Now it’s about continuing to come together to find ways to make things better for our communities,” said Althea Martin-Risden, Director of Health Promotions at RCHC.
BPAO and RCHC partnered together throughout the pandemic to bring care and clinics to communities. This initiated the long work of relationship building, both with the clinics and care providers, along with the communities they serve.
“Many of our patients were so excited to see Black doctors at the vaccination and wellness clinics. Many saw doctors who looked like them for the first time in this space,” she said.
Representation makes all the difference when it comes to creating safety, and building trust in communities. Terrence Rodriguez, Manager of the COVID Community Program with RCHC reminds us though, that it takes more than being Black to build that trust.
“Just because you identify as ACB, doesn’t mean the community is going to just trust you. It’s about the consistency and the attitudes doctors come with. Connecting with the younger generation is not just about accessing services, but building a community and building that trust,” he said.
As community health systems move forward through the complex challenges facing ACB communities, a consensus of unity weaves through each of the conversations. Communities will be better supported when providers are standing together in support of the particular challenges impacting ACB families and neighbourhoods.
“We have to be there to help to push the voices of people of colour because nobody is listening. A lot of these communities don’t have the economic power to influence. So the relationships we have, and are developing with physicians, will escalate that voice and really broaden our impact,” said Martin-Risden.
The challenges that come with certain social determinants of health make it difficult to be heard by certain people with power. This is why coming together to ensure there is strength in numbers is one key strategy in making our way forward in the effort to advance community health.
You can learn more about the awesome work RCHC is doing: