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Wednesday, 13 May 2015 00:00

Poverty also causes poor health

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            Poverty is a major but reversible factor causing poor health, Dr. Ariella Zbar, a Medical Resident with the Peterborough County-City Health Unit told a group of 19 local doctors at a workshop earlier this month.

            “The link between poor health outcomes and poverty are well known, so helping doctors

connect their patients with vital social services is essential and can ultimately benefit the entire community,” said Zbar.

            The Health Unit and the Ontario College of Family Physicians offered the half-day workshop to help family doctors:

  • Explore a simple three-step, primary-care approach to helping patients living in poverty;
  • Develop an understanding of the provincial and federal income-security systems, including benefits for children, working-age adults, people with disabilities, and seniors;
  • Learn about three user-friendly, web-based resources to navigate income-support systems in clinical practice, and become familiar with one, Canada Benefits;
  • Explore and critique the Ontario Disability Support Program in depth;
  • Consider ethical challenges that arise in helping patients navigate the income-security system.

            Poverty can only be reduced through “a comprehensive, community-wide approach,” said Zbar, including more affordable housing, and mental-health and income-support programs, and educating healthcare providers to help their patients access existing programs.

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