A4- More than medication: the importance of integrating health care and social supports

4. Public health and primary care

  • Date: Thursday, October 8, 2020
  • Concurrent Session A
  • Time: 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
  • Style: Panel Discussion (45 minutes-session)


As Ontario continues to grapple with the impacts of COVID-19, the importance of integrating health care and social supports is more critical than ever. Comprehensive primary healthcare teams, with trusted relationships in the community, have a crucial role to play in identifying non-clinical needs and connecting patients to appropriate information and services.

Social prescribing, an intentional and evidence-informed pathway to better connect health and social care, empowers clinicians, teams, participants, and community providers to collaborate and do just that. And as Ontario moves towards population health management with OHTs, the integration with public health will be important to ensure we promote upstream approaches towards health promotion and disease prevention for the wellbeing of each community.  

In this session, you will learn what your teams can do now to address social isolation and loneliness, improve mental health, and collaborate toward healthier and more resilient communities.


Kate Mulligan

Dr. Kate Mulligan is the Director of Policy and Communications at the Alliance for Healthier Communities and an Assistant Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. She works toward healthier cities and communities through research, mentorship and action on healthy public policy, political ecologies of health and wellbeing, climate and health equity, and upstream health systems interventions.

 Jennifer Rayner
Dr. Jennifer Rayner is the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Alliance for Healthier Communities. She is also an Associate Professor at University of Toronto in the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation and an adjunct Research Professor at Western University in Health Sciences and within the Centre for Studies in Family Medicine. An epidemiologist by training, Dr. Rayner has worked within the Community Health sector for over 20 years and works in collaboration with researchers, evaluators and policy makers to improve care for people facing barriers.
Kara Gillies Kara Gillies is the Executive Director at Humber River Family Health Team in North Western Toronto.  She is working with her team to introduce and grow a sustainable health equity framework that centres an anti-racist, intersectional analysis. Kara has over twenty years’ experience in non-profit and healthcare leadership. She sits on the Board of the National Abortion Federation (Canada), the Federal Advisory Council on Gender-based Violence, and the sex workers’ rights coalition, the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform.