As part of our community, we support your health and wellness and work in unity with our partners to provide you with caring and integrated services. Founded by The Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre and Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre, our services are responsive to your individual health goals, and together we create healthy communities.
We offer evidence-informed, innovative healthcaring for anyone facing barriers to health services, including people who are newcomers, refugees, experiencing homelessness or precarious housing and who are challenged by other social influences of health in Kitchener-Waterloo.
Healthcaring is defined as “Exhibiting positive attitudes and behaviors toward the health and wellbeing of oneself and others. Healthcaring has three key features: embodiment (internalizing healthcaring), facilitation (awareness of and helping others reach health goals), and selflessness (working for the good of the community).”
The Heart represents our commitment to you to innovatively collaborate with our partners and community organizations to provide caring and integrated services to anyone facing barriers to access.
The Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre began through a grass roots movement of Kitchener downtown residents. The Health Centre has been providing primary health care and social support services to Kitchener-Waterloo residents facing barriers to access for over 20 years. The Centre provides services to individuals and families experiencing barriers to service including those experiencing homelessness or precarious housing, mental health and addiction issues, isolated seniors, newcomers, and refugees. Services include medical care, health promotion, trauma counseling, illness prevention, social prescribing, dental, outreach services, breastfeeding, and food security supports. The Centre uses a client-centric collaborative care model to provide clients the tools, services, and information they need to manage and make decisions around their own healthcare choices.
On April 4, 2013, Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre was founded by Dr. Michael Stephenson and began in a church library with 6 patients, with a vision to create a welcoming environment where, with the expertise of staff, refugees can heal and fulfill the potential within them. Sanctuary provides patient-centred, evidence-based health care, recognizing issues arising from persecution, trauma, migratory stress, and social integration. The Health Centre seeks to bridge cultural and linguistic difference in offering orientation and access to the Canadian health care system. Sanctuary’s growth over the years has resulted in their serving more than 5500 patients and counting! Among them, 84 countries of origin and more than 55 different first languages are represented.
In 2021, recognizing our common goals, we merged our organizations to collaborate with our teams, partners, and the community to develop a new integrated brand that reflects our values of caring and providing excellent service to Kitchener-Waterloo.