Strength in unity: Two teams unite to create the Archipel Ontario Health Team in Champlain East
Ottawa, unceded Algonquin territory, December 21, 2022 – The members of the Ottawa East Ontario Health Team and the Prescott Russell in development Team are proud to announce their alliance to form the Archipel Ontario Health Team (OHT). In keeping with the territory of the two teams, which is bordered by the Ottawa River, Archipel (archipelago) symbolizes the grouping of entities that are relatively close to one another, and yet distinct, unique and vital to the ecosystem that they form together. Archipel is a multisectoral partnership born of a natural proximity that benefits all of its entities.
Officially created by 25 partners at the end of 2019 under the name Ottawa East OHT, Archipel is now comprised of more than 80 partners offering community and health services, from Ottawa to Hawkesbury, and from the Ottawa River to the southern border of the United Counties of Prescott and Russell. With its many partners, Archipel’s mandate is to better respond to citizens’ needs by optimizing the planning, coordination and delivery of services in both official languages.
Co-chairs committed to collaboration with a capital “C”
A major milestone in the advancement of the OHT, the union took concrete form with the adoption of a shared chairpersonship between the two regions. Dania Versailles, Director of Clinical Services at the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Ottawa, is assuming the position of co-chair of Archipel alongside Sylvie Lefebvre, Executive Director of Prescott Russell Community Services (PRCS). Both nurses by training, Archipel’s co-chairs work, respectively, in the sectors of mental health and addiction and in community services. With their expertise and experience, they are well placed to ensure that collaboration is equitable and that, together, the partners strive to provide care that is better connected and centred on people in their local communities.
A nurse for 27 years, Ms. Versailles holds two masters in nursing, including one specialized in mental health and psychiatry. She joined the CMHA Ottawa as Director of Clinical Services in November 2017 and has been actively contributing to the OHT’s work since its creation in 2019. Having chaired the Ottawa East OHT mental health and addiction (MHA) working group, she sits on the Steering Committee as the representative of the MHA sector and now serves at its co-chair. “My aspirations are focused on people, on their capacity to navigate the system, and on mobilizing resources and partnerships in order to heighten this capacity by 1) building or improving bridges that will facilitate access, 2) adapting the service offer to the needs of people and organizations, and 3) basing ourselves on the best evidence and exemplary practices available.”
Ms. Lefebvre has been working in the health and social services sector for over 40 years. In addition to her training as a registered nurse, she has a certificate in critical care. After completing a bachelor’s with a specialization in psychology, she pursued her studies in financial management and leadership, opening the door to her work in clinical management, including as Clinical Director at the Hawkesbury General Hospital, from 2005 to 2020. Interested in working for more just and equitable development for her community, she embarked on a master’s in social work and took over the directorship of Prescott-Russell Community Services in 2020. Having recently joined the Steering Committee of the OHT as the representative of the community sector, it is precisely this potential for intersectoral collaboration that has motivated her to co-chair Archipel. “We need to work together so that the people who come to us receive the best possible care, at the right time and from the right team. I also hope to bring a perspective on the care and services offered to seniors living in rural and semi-rural areas so that our team is better able to respond to the needs of this vulnerable clientele.”
A partner network that breaks down activity silos and optimizes Ontario’s health system to better serve the population
Patients and clients in the region served by Archipel will certainly benefit from the alliance of the two teams. In fact, one of the top priorites of the OHT is to jointly develop, with end-users, a navigation solution, in order to simplify and improve access and transitioning between different appropriate departments. The Director of Archipel OHT, Elizabeth Tanguay, explains, “Our main objective is to faciliate access to care and services that are better adapted to the needs of individuals and local communities, in both official languages. Moreover, since we’re an interegrated network of service providers, we have a duty to better coordinate ourselves so that we become more efficient, which will improve performance through the system.”
Multisectoral collaboration is key to achieving these objectives because it will help break down the silos between activity sectors, which penalize end-users. In addition to including client partners representing the communities served, Archipel’s partners work in several activity sectors related to the wellbeing of these communities:
- Promotion and prevention (public health)
- Primary care
- Secondary care (hospital or acute)
- Emergency or paramedical services
- Community services
- Mental health and addiction
- Home care and services
- Short-term and transitional care
- Rehabilitation and complex care
- Long-term care (residences and homes)
- Palliative care
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About the Archipel Ontario Health Team
The Archipel Ontario Health Team (OHT) is a multisectoral grouping of partner organizations dedicated to the wellbeing of the community. Born of a union of two teams, the Ottawa East OHT and the Prescott Russell in development Team, Archipel is one of 54 teams mandated by the Ministry of Health to support the integration of Ontario’s health system. Supported by funding from the Government of Ontario, the collective mission of the OHTs is to optimize the coordination and delivery of community services and health care in order to better respond to citizens’ needs. Archipel is comprised of more than 80 partners offering services in urban, semi-rural and rural areas. Operating on unceded Algonquin territory, Archipel serves diverse communities, from Ottawa to Hawkesbury, and from the Ottawa River to the southern border of the United Counties of Prescott and Russell. With the significant presence of Franco-Ontarians in the Eastern region, the OHT is sensitive to the reality of Francophones. Sensible à la réalité des francophones et des communautés rurales, Archipel veut aussi apprendre des communautés méritantes d'équité et collaborer pour éliminer les iniquités.
Elizabeth Tanguay, Director
Archipel Ontario Health Team