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Our History

AddressA Brief History of the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre

Sandy Hill is a quiet, older neighbourhood in east-central Ottawa. An unusually mixed community, its tree-lined streets are home to embassies and diplomatic residences, a large subsidized housing complex, Canada's largest bilingual university, a number of rooming houses, high-rise apartments with large immigrant populations, middle-class and elegant older homes, and homeless people. In serving a bilingual community composed of all income groups, the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre (SHCHC) has attracted clients from all walks of life.

1973 – SHCHC's forerunner, the Sandy Hill Community Development Corporation, was incorporated. Its board of directors – largely composed of civic-minded Sandy Hill residents – met to discuss the need for additional health care facilities, low-income housing, a dental clinic, and day care services in the Sandy Hill area. An assessment conducted by the Corporation confirmed that health services were badly needed in the area, and within the next two years the board convinced the Ministry of Health that the community was ready to sponsor a health centre.

1975 – The Centre opened its doors at 278 Friel Street on December 1. The original staff consisted of two physicians, a nurse, and a secretary-receptionist. During its first four years, the Centre operated in a fairly traditional manner, much like a family physician's office.

1980 – Increased client demand and a desire to expand programming resulted in the relocation of the Centre to a larger and far more visible location: Sandy Hill's recreation building at 250 Somerset Street East. The relocation and major staff changes in '80 and '81 paved the way for a new, multi-service vision of the Centre.

1981 – The Centre became a founding member of the Association of Ontario Health Centres. Staff now consisted of two physicians, two nurse practitioners, a registered nursing assistant, a nutritionist, an administrator, and three support staff.

1982 - 1984 – SHCHC marked its tenth anniversary year by publicly commiting itself to providing primary health care with an emphasis on holistic, preventive services. The unique integration of medical, social, and health promotion services and the innovative forms of service delivery that now characterize the Centre developed considerably over this period.

1985 – The Centre's patient roster reached 5,600, with increases of 6-10% per year.

1987 - 1988 – The Centre's name was officially changed from Sandy Hill Community Development Corporation to Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, Inc. Health Minister Larry Grossman announced major financial support for Ontario health centres; this new funding enabled SHCHC to buy much-needed computers and to develop new health promotion programs. SHCHC's Health Services program began serving the homeless population.

1989 - 1990 – SHCHC was forced to move from its Somerset location. While searching for a permanent home, the Centre moved to temporary quarters at 24 Selkirk Street in Vanier. SHCHC adopted an Official Languages policy, formalizing its commitment to providing services in French. Also during this period, three new major programs were established: Seniors' Health, Community Outreach, and Addiction Assessment and Referral.

1991 – SHCHC located, purchased, and began renovating the building in which it is currently located.

1994 – SHCHC moved into its present site at the corner of Nelson Street and Rideau Street.

1996 – In January, SHCHC opened Oasis to serve people affected by AIDS/HIV.

1998 – The Centre received funding for its new Homeless Initiative, enabling it to expand its outreach and health services for Ottawa's homeless population.

2000 – A staff of 75 – including a wide variety of health care providers and administrative staff – and a pool of over 100 volunteers provide an impressive variety of programs that serve specific client populations and the community at large.

2001 - Hired new Executive Director, Karen Patzer.  SHCHC is the largest CHC in Ontario.

2002 - SHCHC has over150 staff, 100 volunteers, and more than 70 community partners managing and delivering programs and services in primary care, social services, addictions services, health promotion and education, community development, mental health crisis and advocacy.

2003 - The Ottawa Hospital makes decision to take back the $2.5 million MHCS Program.  First salary increase approved by the MOHLTC since 1992.

2004 - Hired new Executive Director, David Gibson. SHCHC initiates a 2-year organizational renewal plan.

2005 - Champlain Local Health Integration Network begins new Regional health planning and funding role

2006 - SHCHC receives French Language Health Services Designation from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

2007 - New Strategic Plan Approved.

2008 - Oasis Program re-locates to 221 Nelson Street.

2009 - SHCHC receives funding to renovate 221 Nelson Street building.

2010 - SHCHC receives a provincial Health Equity Award for new health clinic for street-involved youth.

Sandy Hill Community Health Centre

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Ottawa, ON  K1N 1C7
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