Newcomer Services in St James Town

Rotary Health Clinic

  • Why a Health Clinic in St James Town?

    • Many residents are newcomers or immigrants; they struggle with physical and mental health care challenges but face cultural, linguistic and socio-economic barriers that can prevent them from seeking services beyond their immediate community.
    • Newcomers to Canada are increasingly shown to face declining health over time and immigrants have notably higher rates of certain diseases and overall health disparities.

    A tragic fire in 2010 highlighted the serious needs of this vibrant community. Those most isolated were simply not accessing help until they were in crisis. A Rotary Club award to Sherbourne enabled the renovation of two clinical rooms and multi-purpose work-spaces in St James Town Community Corner in 2013. The Corner is a community space and service hub co-led by community members and service providers. The Rotary Health Clinic brings health care and education into the heart of the community.

    What Happens at the Rotary Health Clinic?

    The Clinic has enabled us to provide on-site access to primary care, mental health counselling and groups focussed on mental health, well-being and stress management, and to provide greater access to preventative health-related activities, and support with chronic disease management. Initiatives include:

    • A half-day a week primary care clinic; and a weekly Diabetes Clinic, complemented by a monthly drop-in group for high-risk community members
    • Health education programming space with regular peer-run workshops and service-provider led health education sessions
    • Flu clinics for the general population (immunizations) in the Fall, with additional seniors’ flu clinics supported by the TC LHIN, and in partnership with organizations serving local seniors
    • Cervical cancer screening. St James Town has one of the areas with the lowest screening rates in Toronto; we are partnering with Cancer Care Ontario and Women’s Health in Women’s Hands to increase education, outreach and screening

    Strategic Approach

    The Rotary Health Clinic in St James Town reflects our Strategic Plan priority to “put health promotion at the heart of our programs and services”. As well as better serving this underserved community with direct physical and mental health care services, we have an active focus on health education and a preventative approach.  Diabetes prevention workshops, flu clinics and cancer screening work are enabling us to raise awareness and support the resilience of particularly vulnerable populations. We share our learning and work closely with our rich base of community partners, including the Toronto Central LHIN.


    The Clinic has been very positively received by local residents and partners. In its first 6 months it provided flu immunizations to around 80 residents, particularly seniors; carried out cervical cancer screening for 21 women; and held a weekly Diabetes Clinic, and Type 2 Diabetes prevention workshops – part of Sherbourne’s wider Diabetes Education Program, which recorded 1323 visits in 2012-13. In the first 3 months of primary care it connected over 60 unattached clients to ongoing services. We are seeking increased Family Health Team support to serve even greater numbers of clients; our aims include increasing child immunization rates and TB testing amongst newcomer families and providing more mental health counseling.

  • Gayathri Shymal, one of the first Sherbourne doctors to support the Rotary Health Clinic

    “Services are easy to access as they are onsite”

    Rotary Health Clinic Client

    Outside of the St James Town Community Corner, with a billboard showing 'what's on'

    “Very co-operative and kind doctor and nurses. They listen to their patient’s problem and always try their best to solve.”

    Newcomer Services Client

    3 women discuss Diabetes Education around a table at the Rotary Health Clinic