The Collective Impact Network (CIN) is a Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) sponsored initiative, being co-led by PAN acting as the backbone. It consists of the nine PHSA-contracted agencies that are supporting the community-based response to HIV and HCV, alongside the PHSA, and including the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and BC Women’s Hospital.
The goal of the CIN is to facilitate collaboration on priority areas that will best support people living with HIV and HCV and the frontline organizations that serve them. As new agencies join us, we will feature them, and what they bring to the CIN… so you can get to know them, hear some stories and meet the people!
Jennifer Hoy, High Acuity Support Program Coordinator
Central Interior Native Health Center is an Integrated Health care clinic offering health and psychosocial services to Aboriginal peoples, people living on or near the streets, and people living with HIV/HCV in our community. Our team of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, counsellors, social workers and support workers along with our Elder provide wrap around supports for all health and psychosocial needs. Our goal is to ensure our community’s most vulnerable people have access to culturally safe health care, advocacy, and support.
Personally, what led you into taking on your role?
I grew up with an older first nation’s sibling who struggled with addiction since I was very young. Being from a small northern community there were very few resources available for her, or others in similar circumstances, and it seemed almost inevitable when she soon moved to Vancouver’s downtown eastside. Watching her struggle to get help in a small town with an abundance of small town stigma was so frustrating, and then to see her get swallowed up by the streets of Vancouver was crushing. She passed away 3 years ago, after a long battle with addictions, homelessness, and uncontrolled HIV. When I had the chance to combine my Pharmacy education, my own families experiences, along with my passion for social justice, this program was a perfect fit. I saw the gaps northern communities face first hand growing up, and it is gratifying to be a small part of the many individuals working for a solution.
Can you tell a story that excites you about the impact your work is having?
Something that excites me about the work happening at our clinic, and this program specifically, is the opportunity to work very close with each individual client, and really be a part of their healing journey. We are a part of their successes, their setbacks, their dreams and goals. One client, who has been a part of HASP since its inception in 2012, struck fear in all of us for years. She had a long history of trauma, violence, and incarceration. I cannot count the times we had to call the police for our safety, and not allow her to come in; it seemed almost a sport for her to see how many of us she could scare away from this clinic. A few years ago, she was ready for change, and started working with us on her medication adherence, housing, parenting, and addictions. This was not without its own set of struggles. Like many of our clients, she was not allowed at access a lot of services, and advocating on her behalf was a daily battle. Within a few months, she was undetectable, stably housed, and clean for the first time in a decade. Within 6 months, she was giving me hugs, and verbalizing her thanks her thoughts and her goals. Fast forward 2 years and she is still clean, has attended treatment, and is successfully housed with her child. She has completed multiple parenting and life skills programs, and has started making plans for her future. We get to celebrate all of the successes, wipe away a lot of tears, and be a voice for so many that are not able to speak up for themselves.
What is the unique value that your agency brings to the Collective Impact Network and its priority areas?
Most notably, what our agency brings is a northern and more rural perspective. We serve some of the most vulnerable clients in the north, First Nation’s people as well as those struggling with poverty, homelessness, addictions, mental health problems, and HIV. Led by principles of indigenous world views, we follow the teachings of the medicine wheel to support holistic health, with a balance of cultural, spiritual, physical, and mental health care.
So far, what have you learnt – or how has your work been enhanced – by being a part of the network?
As I have just joined this network I am unable to answer this now, however I look forward to the collaboration between the various service providers and health authorities.
How can readers get involved with your agency?
For those interested in working at our agency, openings are listed on our website. We also work within our various community partnerships, sharing resources and staff such as satellite medical clinics, community wellness meetings, and outreach support.
The best way to support the work happening at Central Interior Native Health Society is to be an ally. Take the time to learn the colonial history of Canada, try and understand the longstanding and firmly entrenched systemic racism, and be willing to take a stand against it.