Newcomer Health Symposium Workshops

Supporting Newcomer Health Together:  A City-Wide Learning and Networking Symposium

Workshop Descriptions


Morning Workshops (Session 1)

Workshop A:  Impacts of Changes to the Interim Federal Health Program

Presenters:  Steve Barnes, Wellesley Institute, and Dr. Meb Rashid, Women’s College Hospital Crossroads Clinic

  • This workshop examined recent changes to the Interim Federal Health  Program and the health impacts on uninsured refugees and immigrants.  Presenters discussed health care options in Toronto for newcomers and immigrants who do not have public health insurance.

Presentation slides


Workshop B:  Immigrant Women and HIV/AIDS Awareness

Presenter:  Zahra Bolouk, AIDS Committee of Toronto

  • Given the trend in HIV prevalence among women, and particularly newcomers, it’s important that frontline workers be aware of the resources and services available to women who are infected or who are at risk of infection.  This workshop provided an overview of the critical role that referrals play in supporting women’s access to services.

Presentation slides


Workshop C:  Early Health Screening for Newcomer Children

Presenters:  Lisa Werlich, Adventure Place Ontario Early Years Centre, and Elmira Galiyeva, Toronto North LIP

  • Presenters spoke about the ‘Little Ones’ Health Check-up’ project, which offered newcomer families with young children the opportunity to access a range of check-up services in one place, on the same day. This collaborative project was developed by a group of agencies to address various barriers to accessing health services among newcomer families.


Afternoon Workshops (Session 2)

Workshop D:  An Introduction to Health Links

Presenter:  Deb Daniels, Mid-West Toronto Health Link

  • Health Links have been charged with increasing the quality of care for patients, closing health inequality gaps and building coalitions and partnerships between acute, primary and community care organizations.  This workshop presented an overview of Health Links, their origins, and their mandate.  The presenter spoke about the work of the Mid-West Toronto Health Link and opportunities for collaboration with agencies that serve newcomers and immigrants.


Workshop E:  Pregnancy and Maternal Health

Presenter:  Saleha Bismilla, Toronto Public Health

  • This workshop explored maternal health needs related to pregnancy and early parenting among newcomer mothers.  The presenter provided information about how to best support newcomer women and link them to health resources in the community.


Workshop F:  Newcomers and Access to Healthy Food

Presenters:  Angela Elzinga-Cheng, FoodShare, and Julia Graham, Stonegate Community Health Centre

  • Many newcomers in Toronto struggle with food insecurity and access to healthy food.  This workshop explored ways to bring a food justice perspective into program planning and community development work.


Workshop G:  Health Inequities: 5 Referrals for the Newly Arrived

Presenter:  Peter Dorfman, Cancer Care Ontario

  • Newly arrived immigrants are usually too preoccupied with day-to-day challenges to focus on most health issues.  However, there are health services that are important to some newcomers in their first months.          The presenter reviewed recent research to describe key health issues among recently arrived immigrants and relevant services that they can access.  This workshop focused on the role that settlement and health workers can play in supporting newcomer health.


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