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During the 90s, following the announcement of the possible creation of new Community Health Centres (CHC) in the province in the years to come, the francophone community of the area took action and submitted a first request regarding the acquisition of a CHC in the Sudbury East area. Unfortunately, this request was not successful.
In 1999, two nurse practitioners took root in the Sudbury East area in order to establish a nursing clinic under the supervision of the Centre de santé communautaire de Sudbury. Recognizing the extent to which primary health care services were needed in the area and the imminent departure (upon retirement) of the only physicians established in the region, these two individuals discussed with the community the possibility of establishing a new CHC in the area. A second request was sent in 2001. Once again, the proposal didn’t generate the desired response.
A group of people were hired to implement all the elements required to produce a favorable response from the government. Finally, a promise was received from the three municipalities that would eventually be serviced (Markstay-Warren, St. Charles and French River) to build a structure in their respective areas to house CHC points of service.
The municipality of St. Charles, anticipating the creation of a CHC, decided to convert an existing building into a multiservice centre welcoming the nurse practitioners that would soon become the core of Univi Health Centre as we know today.
Incorporation of SECHC
In 2003, the request was revisited and was once more submitted. Anticipating a favorable response, the organization was formally incorporated. Unfortunately, the request was not successful under the first wave of CHC implementations in the province.
In early 2005, the group persisted; anticipating the creation of a number of Family Health Teams (FHT) in the province, the request was once more reviewed in order to meet the criteria of this type of clinic. While examining this request, the Ministry of Health realized that the region’s need for a CHC was greater than that of a FHT; in 2005, after a fifth request, it was finally announced that Sudbury East would receive the funding required for the establishment of a CHC in 2007.
Official Opening of SECHC
In April 2007, the nursing clinic officially became the Sudbury East Community Health Centre and in August, it hired its first Executive Director.
From April 2007 to September 2008, the SECHC was under the direction of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. In October 2008, transfer was made to the North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN).
In April 2009, the SECHC signed its first service accountability agreement (2009 to 2011) with the NE LHIN.
In September 2009, the team moved from its prelimary location to its new location in Noëlville at 44, St.-Christophe Rd., a multiservice centre built by the Municaplity of French River.
In 2009, nurse practitioners of the area, alongside a group of residents from Sudbury East began to lobby the government to increase primary care services. Both family physicians in the area retired in 2007 and 2008, and no other family physician opted to establish their practices in the region since.
The French River Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic (FRNPLC) proposal was approved in 2009 as it was part of the second wave of the Ministry of Health initiative to establish nurse practitioner-led clinics throughout the province. The FRNPLC has been lobbying the government for a distinct site as it became obvious that the Sudbury East Community Health Centre could not service the entire Sudbury East area with the funding and staffing allocation it had received.
The French River Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic opened its doors in September 2012, and was established as a separate and self-governed entity in Alban. The clinic boasts an interdisciplinary which included nurse practitioners, registered nurses, a social worker, a dietitian, a health promoter, collaborating physicians and a chiropractor.
Integration of Univi Health Centre
In April 2018, the SECHC and the FRNPLC were successfully integrated to create the new organization called Univi Health Centre. Univi Health Centre is one of 73 health centres in Ontario. It is the only bilingual health centre that provides primary health care services to the communities of Sudbury East.
It is managed by a Board of Directors comprised of eight representatives from the Francophone community: two from the French River area representing the interest of the community of Alban, two from the French River area representing the interest of the community of Noëlville, two representing the municipality of St.-Charles and two representing the municipality of Markstay-Warren.
About Univi Health Centre
Approximately 90% of Univi Health Centre’s funding comes from the North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN) via an accountability agreement. The rest of its funding comes from a variety of projects and fundraisers.
Univi Health Centre is a non-profit organization that offers easy access to a comprehensive range of client-oriented programs and services.
Physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, mental health workers, dieticians, health promoters and other professionals work under one roof as part of an interdisciplinary team that offers essential health care services.
Univi Health Centre offers individualized care based on the needs of the client and the community. The programs aim to reduce the root causes of diseases and injuries through its integrated preventative elements.
Univi Health Centre is particularly successful at increasing access to care in the communities that have traditionally struggled to receive the necessary programs and services to keep its citizens healthy. These communities include minority linguistic and cultural groups, people living in remote or under-served communities, low income citizens, and seniors.
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