Ministry Funding Improves Health Care at St. Clair College
Windsor, ON - A government-funded initiative has ramped up health care at St. Clair College, making it easier for students and staff to have access to medical services.

A partnership between the Windsor Family Health Team and St. Clair College has meant an increase in medical staff, which has enhanced health services on campus.

"We provide a full-time nurse practitioner, part-time nurse, part-time social worker and a full-time medical receptionist," said Windsor Family Health Team executive director Mark Ferrari. "We share clinic space with college staff and together we offer comprehensive primary health care services."

The Windsor FHT staff travels between the college's three clinics, located at the main campus, St. Clair Centre for the Arts and Thames campus in Chatham.

"We understood that students and staff could benefit from having on-campus access to primary health care services regardless of whether they have a regular doctor in Windsor, or their home-base community for people not from the Windsor area," said Ferrari about the partnership.

Portrait: Mark Ferrari
Mark Ferrari, Executive Director of the Windsor Family Health Team.

The joint venture became a permanent partnership after a successful yearlong pilot project, which was approved by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term and launched in fall 2013.

"St. Clair College cares very much about our students' success overall," said Rebecca Demchuk, Occupational Health and Safety manager for St. Clair College. "Being there to help them address their physical and mental wellbeing is a very important part of that success strategy."

Since the partnership, usage at the college's clinics has increased by about 30 per cent, said Demchuk, "The stats were impressive," said Demchuk. "The Windsor Family Health Team staff was fully utilized from the get-go and it has been a huge success."

By spring 2014, the Ministry was so impressed they decided to make the pilot an ongoing program and funding was annualized into the base budget, beginning in the 2014/2015 operating budget, for the Windsor Family Health Team, said Ferrari.

Mira Pio, Terry Peirone, Linda Jahn and Rebecca Demchuk
St Clair College clinic staff Mira Pio, Terry Peirone and Linda Jahn with Rebecca Demchuk (right), Manager of Occupational Health and Safety.

The addition of the nurse practitioner is great because they are able to write prescriptions for many common drugs after full consultation, said Demchuk. And the addition of the RN means being able to open the downtown clinic for three days a week instead of just half a day, like it was previous to the partnership.

"And the social worker has been a much needed addition to the mix, offering cognitive behavioural therapy to students who have mental health concerns," said Demchuk, adding the medical receptionist addition also helps significantly by keeping the office running smooth, organized and efficient.

Ferrari said the partnership is a convenient option for those who would otherwise need to seek out health care at a walk-in clinic in the community.

"This integrated model offers good value for the government in terms of cost to the health care system, better patient experience and improved access for students and staff," said Ferrari.

He said for students and staff who wish to formally enroll as a patient of the Windsor Family Health Team, even more programs and services, including evening urgent care, are available at their main site located at 2475 McDougall Street. The Windsor FHT is affiliated with Windsor Regional Hospital.

Students and staff can call 519-972-2380 (in Windsor) or 519-354-9100 ext. 3800 (in Chatham) for appointments. More information can also be found at St. Clair College's website at www.stclaircollege.ca/studentservices/healthservices.html for more information.

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