Good health and an education are two important building blocks that every child needs to succeed. Last February we opened our paediatric clinic at Parkdale Public School in partnership with the Toronto District School Board, doing our part to give children in our community a healthy start. Since then, our team of ten physicians has seen over 400 visits to the clinic from students and their siblings. With specialties in family medicine, paediatrics and neurology, our team provides much-needed support to families to identify and address health challenges that are having an impact on academic performance.
“I’ve had patients whose parents had not yet raised concerns with their family doctor, but the school noticed academic challenges and referred them to the clinic,” said Dr. Anne Wormsbecker, a paediatrician working at the clinic. “The parents have been grateful to be connected to a paediatrician and have guidance to support their child’s learning.”
Parkdale is a diverse community with a large population of newcomer families — 60 per cent of students at the school speak a language other than English at home. Recognizing that language can be a barrier to receiving care, the clinic uses the Health Centre’s interpreter services during appointments to facilitate understanding and ensure all issues are addressed. Since the clinic opened, we’ve fulfilled close to a hundred requests for interpretation in 11 different languages. It’s one of the ways the clinic is improving access to care.
“As a family doctor, I see school-aged children far less after they get their last set of immunizations,” said Dr. Aparna Swaminathan. “The clinic provides an incredible opportunity to connect with families and understand the diversity and dynamism of the neighbourhood as well as learn from my colleagues, which enhances my own practice.”
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