In 2011, Canada accepted approximately 27,000 refugees with 25 to 35 per cent settling in Toronto. Arriving in Canada with the hope of a better life, refugees often deal with the immediacy of finding housing and employment, culture shock and learning a new language. Many are struggling with existing health conditions stemming from poor health care in their home countries, as well as the physical and psychosocial effects of war, violence and refugee camps. Navigating the Canadian medical system, however, can be a barrier to care for this vulnerable population.
Women’s College Hospital’s newly created Crossroads Clinic will ease the transition for refugees by providing comprehensive primary care that is tailored to their unmet needs.
“The Crossroads Clinic is a place where newly arrived refugees can get the help they need without the usual barriers they face,” explains Dr. Meb Rashid, medical director at the Crossroads Clinic.
“We also expect it to provide systemic benefits, like reducing unnecessary emergency department visits and preventing chronic conditions,” says Rashid.
Not only will the Crossroads Clinic fill a gap in much-needed health-care services, but it will also foster research in immigrant health that is directly applicable to the GTA.
“There is a real lack of research into health issues that affect immigrants to Canada,” says Rashid. “Considering the differences in immigration patterns, we can’t reliably extrapolate data from other countries.”
That’s why the clinic’s 400 to 500 annual patients will be so valuable to informing and guiding other clinicians about issues to be aware of.
“Our research will describe the issues faced my immigrants in the GTA, and provide critical demographic and health data,” says Rashid. “There’s tremendous research potential that we will be in an excellent position to capitalize on.”Jump to top page