New community health and wellness clinics at Niagara College’s Welland Campus are not only enhancing students’ education but are addressing a need to improve access to health services in the region.
The South Niagara Health and Wellness Centre, located on-site at the college’s Applied Health Institute, is now home to several clinics – Adult Day Services for physically frail seniors, the Niagara Stroke Clinic, and the LHIN-funded Feet First program (a medical foot clinic for diabetics or at-risk seniors) – and will soon include a geriatric assessment clinic. The clinics are run and supported by partners including the Niagara Health System, the Niagara Region, the March of Dimes, Community Care Access Clinic and the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network.
Operated by the partners in a space Niagara College has devoted to community use, the clinics provide vocational opportunities for students in the college’s Health and Community Services programs. Students have the opportunity to work with and learn from professionals for clinical placements, workshops, or information sessions with clients.
“The centre is a living laboratory for students in NC’s health-related and community studies programs, and we are working with our partners to support a need that’s well-recognized in the community,” said David Veres, dean of NC’s Health and Community Studies.
In addition to its popular community dental clinic, the college had reserved dedicated space for community clinics as part of its recently built state-of-the-art AHI building which opened spring 2011 as part of a major campus redevelopment plan.
“Community focus is an important component of Niagara College’s strategic plan and the SNHWC takes it a step further by bringing our dedicated partners together for a unique collaboration that will help improve access to services in South Niagara, said Steve Hudson, acting president, Niagara College. “At the same time, the SNHWC will enhance our students’ applied educational opportunities, which is a win-win for all involved.”
Donna Cripps, CEO of the HNHB LHIN) called the clinics “a unique partnership between the health and education sectors.”
“The HNHB LHIN is so proud to have a played a part in the SNHWC,” she said. “The adult day service as well as other programs at the centre is ensuring citizens have access to the best care, in the right place at the right time.”
MaryLee Bull, regional independent living manager, March of Dimes Canada, noted that the clinics play a vital role by bringing the right level of care and supports to individuals who require assistance so they may remain living independently in their homes.
“What better environment for our students of today and future employees of tomorrow, to learn firsthand what this right level of care actually looks like,” she said.