Scarborough-Global-Resource-CentreRecently, the Scarborough Hospital (TSH) came up with a way to better serve its community while also providing an opportunity for newly arrived internationally trained professionals.

The hospital works with a diverse and dynamic Toronto East community: half the population of Scarborough are immigrants.

TSH brainstormed different options to communicate health prevention information to its patients and their families before they visit the hospital. The Centre was also created as a way to bridge the gap between health care and local community services.

In May 2012, the hospital launched the Global Community Resource Centre – a volunteer based multilingual “one-stop” information centre that provides free material on health prevention and community services on the phone, face-to-face, and through workshops.

“The idea was to be able to empower our patients and our community through increased health literacy and better access to community services,” said Waheeda Rahman, Director of Diversity, Equity and Stakeholder Outreach for TSH.

To work at the Centre, the hospital needed volunteers that would fit a certain profile: multilingual, with cross-cultural understanding, able to provide strong customer service to clients seeking information in multiple formats, TSH saw an opportunity to recruit internationally trained professionals as volunteers with the Global Community Resource Centre.

“Many of them speak multiple languages and already understand the cultural differences. They are well educated and often have Master’s Degrees,” added Rahman.

For individuals coming to Canada with their international credentials, it is a chance to gain Canadian experience in the healthcare industry as a first step towards building their careers in Canada.

Recognizing the needs of the community and the advantage of working with internationally trained health professionals, TSH reached out to TRIEC to tap into its networks to identify potential candidates.

“TRIEC has a very large network and was able to advertise this volunteer opportunity, and we’ve got quite a few people referred to us from TRIEC. What is great about TRIEC is that it understands the needs of employers as well as the needs of skilled immigrants,” concludes Rahman.

Profile of the community TSH serves*

  • More than 50% of the Scarborough population speak a primary language other than English and French
  • 57% of the population are immigrants (arrived in Canada less than 5 years ago)
  • Recent immigrants to Scarborough by country of birth include: China, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Afghanistan, Iran and South Korea.
  • One in four recent immigrants is considered to be low income.

*Based on 2006 Census the following is a profile of the community the hospital serves