As a partnership between the Association for New Canadians (ANC) and the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN-MED), the Gateway Project trains medical students in cross-cultural medicine and engages them in community action while improving access to health care for new Canadians arriving in the province. Refugee clients agree to participate in a medical history interview conducted by first-and second-year medical students at the ESL Training Centre. The project also matches clients with a family physician in St. John’s and their medical history is then forwarded to the new family doctor. In addition, following client consent, the information from the interviews is used anonymously to improve the health outcomes for new Canadians.
“Some of the health issues identified during initial history taking and screening include: poor vision due to cataracts or other eye conditions, hearing loss, ruptured eardrums, nutrition deficiencies, lack of prenatal and wellness care, dental cavities and trauma, hypertension, diabetes and human immunodeficiency virus. At each Gateway session, tuberculosis (TB) screening is offered to all patients from countries of origin where TB incidence is high.”
Interpretation and transportation are provided to make the service fully accessible for government-assisted refugees (GAR).
The ANC strives to have all GARs involved with the Gateway Project. However, during the summer months, this is not always possible. Approximately 85 to 90 per cent of the GAR population avail of this service.
ANC clients agree to participate in a medical history interview conducted by first- and second-year medical students, often with the assistance of an interpreter. In addition to the medical history interview, the project also has a physical screening component aimed at collecting information on the client’s height, weight, vision, hearing, blood pressure, and dental health.
The project has a Steering Committee which consists of ANC staff, medical students, MUN-MED advisors, a public health nurse, and the project coordinator. The committee meets monthly to review, and plan for, the program.
The project team completes a program report twice a year and sends it to program funders and partners.
Starting in September 2011, the Gateway Project plans to put in place a formal process of collecting client feedback and using the data for program planning and evaluation.
As a result of the service, access to medical care for the refugee population of St. John’s is improved and new physicians are trained in cross-cultural medicine. During the period of April 2010 to March 2011, a total of 102 clients were interviewed in 40 interview sessions. Since the start of the Gateway Project, a total of 594 clients have been seen by the medical team. Approximately 534 have been matched with a family doctor.
The positive experience of the Gateway interview is often a client’s first contact with the medical system in Canada. As such, the model can be adapted to any Canadian city with a reception house for government-assisted refugees and a medical school.
- Service Providers
- Association for New Canadians (ANC) and MUN-MED
- Citizenship and Immigration Canada (support in-kind) and MUN-MED
- St. John’s, NL
- Year of Launch
- Languages of Delivery
- English, French, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Burmese, Farsi, Nepali, Oromo, Karen, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, Swahili, Tigrinya
- Newcomer Groups Served
- Government-Assisted Refugees
- Expected Results
Information and Orientation (Newcomers make informed decisions about their settlement and understand life in Canada)Welcoming Communities (Newcomers receive help to establish social and professional networks so they are engaged and feel welcomed in their communities)
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