The Thorncliffe Park Neighborhood Experience

Improving Access to Interdisciplinary Paediatric and Primary Care Services Through Multisectoral Partnerships and Collaboration


In this talk, Dr. Dr. Catherine Yu; Munira Khilji; Safeera Mulla, welcome audiences to Thorncliffe Park: an east Toronto neighborhood known for its diverse immigrant and newcomer population, a high birth rate and proportion of children and youth under 14 years of age, with significant health care needs. Through multisectoral partnership and collaboration, a school-based clinic was established in Thorncliffe Park Public School, to address the various barriers to accessing care in this neighborhood. This presentation will highlight some of the strategies used to deliver coordinated accessible care to families. This includes establishing strong collaborative relationships within an integrated model of care that includes the sectors of health, education, community & social services.

About Speakers

Dr. Catherine Yu is a family physician at Health Access Thorncliffe Park (HATP) and Michael Garron Hospital. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. She is a passionate advocate for her patients. In her role as the medical director (physician engagement and health systems design) at HATP, she has been working diligently to establish strong, collaborative relationships between the health, social and educational agencies in Thorncliffe Park. Through these partnerships, a school-based clinic was established in the neighborhood in 2017, to help address access barriers to pediatrics and primary care, in a community with complex needs and challenges associated with the social determinants of health.

Her training as a healthcare professional, experiences as a parent of two and insight as a Thorncliffe Park resident deeply inform the initiatives Munira Khilji supports. A strong advocate for better supports and services for families of children with autism, Munira has worked with the Thorncliffe Collaborative to partner with the Geneva Centre for Autism, a relationship that has allowed for engagement of parents in training opportunities that are accessible and culturally sensitive. Currently, Munira coordinates a school-based paediatric clinic for Health Access Thorncliffe Park that focuses on challenges with learning, growth, behaviour and development. Her role allows for cross collaboration & consolidation of partnerships among the sectors of health, education and social services to provide meaningful care to families with multiple challenges requiring extensive navigation across systems.

Leading the Thorncliffe Collaborative for Muslim Families for the past five years, Safeera Mulla has been advocating for culturally responsive care in the neighbourhood of Thorncliffe Park especially for families of children with autism. Working closely with agencies such as Geneva Centre for Autism, Children’s Aid Society, CMHA and most recently, Health Access Thorncliffe Park, her role as a community liaison has been instrumental in building bridges of understanding between service providers and community. Her work has played a significant role in building effective pathways to service provision for the community from locally accessible services to tertiary care. In addition to this role, Safeera is currently also the case manager for SAAAC Autism Centre’s Mobile Developmental Outreach Clinic.

Have an autism education article to share?