Primary Health Care: Research Sites

Central Interior Native Health

The Central Interior Native Health Society (CINHS) is a non-profit organization in Prince George, British Columbia that has been operating as an Urban Aboriginal Health Centre since 1993. Their mission is to provide comprehensive, quality primary health care that can meet the needs of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people living with social disadvantages. CINHS supports nearly 1300 people, approximately 80% of whom self-identify as Aboriginal. Other characteristics of the population served include low income, high rates of unstable housing, social housing or no housing, high rates of trauma histories, and high rates of substance use, addictions, and HIV/AIDS.

As one of the main primary health care organizations in Prince George and the surrounding communities in this region of northern BC, CINHS offers a wide range of health care services. These services are delivered by an interdisciplinary team, which includes: physicians, nurse practitioners, RNs, social workers, drug and alcohol counseling, outreach support staff, mental health counseling and a range of specialist services, including infectious disease specialist, methadone maintenance program and psychiatry. CINHS also offers a seven-day-a-week medication adherence support program, working with mainly HIV positive patients who struggle with medication adherence.

CINHS has integrated Indigenous approaches to health and healing, for example, by offering traditional healing practices (e.g. smudging, healing circles). All these services are provided with the goal of promoting physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual harmony.

For more information, please visit: Central Interior Native Health Society

Cool Aid Community Health Centre

The Victoria Cool Aid Community Health Centre (CHC) provides health services to inner city populations, including those experiencing homelessness and poverty, people with HIV infections, mental health issues, problematic substance use and chronic illnesses. Cool Aid CHC seeks to be a medical home for this population of Victoria, providing health care that emphasizes low-barrier access to interdisciplinary primary health care services for economically vulnerable clients with complex medical needs and multiple barriers to accessing care. As a comprehensive health service, the CHC also provides outreach services, a dental clinic and pharmacy.

Cool Aid CHC’s interdisciplinary health team includes physicians, nurses, counselors, a nutritionist, psychiatrist, acupuncturist, dentists and dental hygienists, and a pharmacist and pharmacy technician. There are currently over 3,700 actively registered patients with the CHC.

The health services of the CHC are effectively linked to the overall work of the Victoria Cool Aid Society which seeks to end homelessness by advocating for and providing emergency shelter, supportive housing, integrated health care and other support services.

For more information, please visit: Victoria Cool Aid Society

Health Zone Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic

Health Zone is an innovative Nurse Practitioner-Led clinic (NPLC) located in London, Ontario. Health Zone serves mostly women and children, many of whom are affected by conditions of poverty and social isolation, and many of whom have histories of violence and trauma. Health Zone’s team of inter-disciplinary staff believes in the importance of trauma-informed care, cultural competence, and equity competence of primary health care organizations.

With three clinic locations and four outreach sites, Health Zone supports people who are socially marginalized, live in poverty, are negotiating life transitions, and/or who face significant barriers that make it difficult to access, or benefit from, traditional primary health care services. These barriers include access to transportation, mistrust of service providers, language barriers, poverty and associated stresses, and living with multiple, complex health and social problems which are not easily addressed in a “one problem per visit” model of care. The clinic has the capacity to serve as many as 2,400 clients.

Health Zone is also designed as a university/community partnership and seeks to link high quality, accessible health care with education of future health care practitioners, and with research to enhance best practices in care and service delivery.

For more information, please visit: Health Zone Nurse Practitioner-led Clinic

North Lambton Community Health Centre

North Lambton Community Health Centre is a non-profit organization comprised of four clinic sites in and around Sarnia, Ontario. The Centre is governed by a board of local citizens and funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care through the Erie-St. Clair Local Health Network. NLCHC’s multi-disciplinary team provides primary health care, health promotion and community development services. Populations served include seniors, First Nations people, farming families, low income people, youth at risk, people with moderate mental illness, and families with young children.

The NLCHC’s mission is to provide excellent people-centered care to the communities they serve. Clients using the North Lambton Community Health Centre work with a multi-disciplinary team of physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers, and dietitians. Primary care services provided include assessments, diagnosis, treatment and referral to other health care professionals when required. NLCHC also offers 40 free health and prevention programs, many of them facilitated by a volunteer base of nearly 80 community members.

NLCHC is guided by the values of Excellence, Empowerment, Collaboration, and Health Equity, and the organization’s model of care incorporates the social determinants of health.

For more information, please visit: North Lambton Community Health Centre.

Blue Pine Primary Health Care Clinic

Please note: Blue Pine worked with EQUIP Primary Care as a partner but was not a research site.

The Blue Pine Primary Health Care Clinic was created to address the needs of the population of Prince George who do not currently have access to a Family Physician or Nurse Practitioner. Although patients with a wide range of needs are seen at the clinic, they focus on providing care to people who need more support than a regular family doctor’s office is able to offer. Blue Pine has a team of health professionals including family physicians, nurse practitioners, a mental health clinician and a social worker who work together to support the diverse care needs of their patients. As space becomes available in the other primary care clinics of Prince George, patients who are a good fit for the traditional GP office are transferred to these clinics.

Blue Pine strives to provide holistic, patient-centered care. They are one of the primary care homes chosen to prototype Northern Health’s new integrated team-based approach to primary care. This provides an opportunity for the clinic to share some of the successes of the team-based approach and help adapt these to work within more traditional primary care homes.

The Blue Pine Primary Health Care Clinic came into being through an initiative of the General Practice Services Committee and is run through an ongoing partnership between the Prince George Division of Family Practice and Northern Health.

For more information, please visit Blue Pine Primary Health Care Clinic

To contact the clinic, please call 250-596-8100

Community and Clinic Profiles

As part of the EQUIP research program, we regularly create narrative profiles of partnering organizations and the socio-political and historical context of the communities where they operate. To view the reports, please click on the report title below and feel free to distribute widely.

Health Zone Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic

North Lambton Community Health Centre

Victoria Cool Aid Society

Prince George