Q&A with Cian Knights
Toronto, June 27, 2016
By Marc Dodsworth
(Photo by Katie Cooper)
Cian Knights is the community engagement specialist for St. Michael’s Academic Family Health Team. She’s based at the Sumac Creek Health Centre in Regent Park but represents all six sites.
Q: What does the Family Health Team’s community engagement specialist do?
A: Part of my job is developing connections to resources within the community. I work to build partnerships that enhance our St. Michael’s family practice services and meet the needs of patients, their families and the community. For example, I recently joined a network of local agencies to explore how the FHT can play a role in filling health service gaps at a seniors building in Regent Park. The Community Residents’ Panel, led by the hospital, is another example of how the Family Health Team is working to collaborate with community residents to implement their input toward strategic priorities for the hospital.
Q: Why is community engagement important?
A: Our hospital’s history is rooted in being community-connected. My role is about using community engagement to reduce health inequities by reaching disenfranchised patients, community members and community organizations. Knowing how the community and its members feel leads to more informed decision-making. Engagement also increases community partners’ involvement and responsibility, produces more ideas and options for improving care, leads to better access and outcomes, and increases transparency and accountability.
Q: Did you have any connections to Regent Park before working with the Family Health Team?
A: Before I joined St. Michael’s, I had implemented a few projects in Regent Park, including equity education training and youth development programming. Because of that, I was already familiar with some of the key players in the area and understood the community’s history. This knowledge provided a network to start building with.
Q: What is the hidden gem of Regent Park?
A: There are a few. One is the spirit of Regent Park residents. They are passionate about their community and transforming it into a place where all, young and old, can thrive. Another is Daniels Spectrum –Regent Park’s cultural hub—which has helped incubate community arts in the area. Finally, the restaurant Sukothai is a must for Thai food lovers!
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.