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St. Michael’s chosen by WHO as example of integrated and people-centred health care

Toronto, June 3, 2016

By Geoff Koehler

Deborah Kopansky-Giles and Mart Leys
Deborah Kopansky-Giles and Mart Leys (WHO) put final finishing touches on the IPCHC Practice Example.

During an event at the Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly, the World Health Organization recognized St. Michael’s Hospital’s Academic Family Health Team and its ongoing work enhancing primary care delivery in Toronto’s inner-city community.

Since its development, St. Michael’s Academic Family Health Team has continued transforming its comprehensive program to include non-traditional primary care services, such as two income support specialists, chiropractic, psychology and acupuncture services and a committee dedicated to addressing the social determinants of health.

Some of the unique, patient-centred services of St. Michael’s Academic Family Health Team include:

“These are only a few of the reasons I’m proud to be a part of St. Michael’s and the Family Health Team,” said Dr. Deborah Kopansky-Giles, who is a chiropractor and clinician-scientist with St. Michael’s Department of Family and Community Medicine. “We select services and design care around our patients’ needs, we organize our people to improve team cohesion and satisfaction, we measure quality improvement and always ask ‘how can we do better?’.”

St. Michael’s Family Health Team has been able to expand service delivery by strengthening key partnerships with organizations such as the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Ryerson University and Toronto Public Health.

The WHO shared St. Michael’s approach to health service reform with the world on May 27 through its new website IntegratedCare4People. St. Michael’s was the only North American example selected by the WHO at the website launch.

Dr. Kopansky-Giles, who is also a professor at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, was in Geneva, Switzerland for the World Health Assembly and has been involved with the WHO’s Framework on Integrated People-centred Health Services since 2014.

“It takes a dedicated team of people to improve care and that credit belongs to everyone working together to make things better for our patients and community,” said Dr. Karen Weyman, Chief of the Department of Family and Community Medicine of St. Michael’s. “Deborah has been instrumental sharing the work of the entire department with the WHO. Its website launch means a global network of health professionals will have practical, real-life examples of how to reform health services and many will be following the steps of St. Michael’s primary care team.”

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.