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Leaders’ Forum: University and Community Dialogue: Collaborating for Mutual Success

March 4, 2010, Views and Ideas from the Small Group Dialogues

1. What can Western and the city and region do, collaboratively, to increase the physical and mental health of our London and regional community?


Address the Health Care System in London and Region

  • There are relationship-building opportunities between Western and London Hospitals.
  • People don’t recognize the connection between the hospitals and Western; all are “teaching hospitals” and attract joint funding.
  • Revamp the health care system; stop closing wings of the hospital.
  • Demolish South Street Hospital and rebuild in partnership with Western.
  • Address London and area's shortage of physicians and increase the number of health care providers in the region in order to improve the health of its population.

Promote and Extend Wellness Resources

  • Recognize and address the increase in drug use and the increase in food bank use
  • We are not the white middle-class city some assume we are.
  • Build awareness of how to change one’s level of health
  • Offer safe starting places for personal changes in the community.
  • Promote to the community Western’s Dental Clinics, Mouth Guard Clinic, Blu Tooth Audiology, Centre for Activity & Aging, etc.
  • Address obesity – establish a Centre for Youth to increase physical activity. - Start a community version of the “Western Heads East” project.
  • Promote and duplicate programs like the Faculty of Education’s Bridges Program for Abused Women, that provides food, bus tickets, and teachers to help women in this circumstance achieve a Grade 12 education - all funded through government and foundations.

Address Mental Health Needs

  • At Western, let leaders know that the Mental Health First Aid course is available proactively get the information out - escalate communication during peak stress times.
  • Expand Mental Health First Aid and train more Western staff.
  • Connect students to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).
  • Increase communication between CMHA and Student Health Services to improve access for students in distress.
  • Address homelessness due to mental health issues - 70% of 911 calls involve mental health and/or drug issues.
  • Establish student placements in community agencies - reduce the stigma associated with mental health; publicly bring to light good news stories; build on partnerships (e.g. Mental Health First Aid).
  • Strengthen the resources of community members with mental health issues (e.g. after hours resources).
  • Western is working with public institutions for “safe” places for mental health patients.

Increase Research Contributions

  • Bigger health and wellness issues could really be explored more in-depth through research in the city and region.
  • Opportunities for improvement can come from our faculty/students who are doing research.
  • Demonstrate outcomes (e.g. inactivity and mal-nutrition in youth) via initiatives like the YMCA partnership with Western to design, conduct and document research.
  • Community engagement for students is important – encourage researchers at Western to do research in the region. This will increase the number of students in the community; e.g. have Western students mentor those in the community with physical, mental or nutrition issues.
  • Do research locally (e.g. with London Police Services).
  • Get evidence-based research to practitioners so they can change their practice.
  • Increase the participation rate of community members in research studies.
  • Combine research with health outcomes – take research to the community to influence lifestyle changes.
  • Western doesn’t know what research/other needs the community has.
  • The community doesn’t know what capacity/resources Western has or whom to contact
  • Establish a place in the university where community members can call and say “we want to do research on X; who can help us?”
  • Partner with London’s hospital libraries.

Support Wellness and Recreation

  • Make sure Londoners know that Campus Recreation is available.
  • Make better use of the services/programs at Western and open them up to the city and region (e.g. recreation) and find ways to engage the Faculties; consider how can we partner better with Parks and Recreation.
  • Idea: Offer free Campus Recreation.
  • Use sport teams/Western events to draw the community to the campus; we need to increase marketing to the community and promote contact with Western athletes in the London community.
  • Walk to work.
  • Increase opportunities for alternate methods to go to work.
  • Establish more bike lanes and more pedestrian friendly routes.
  • Offer a Bike to Work incentive.
  • Offer a Health and Wellness Learning Series for the general community.
  • Develop a culture of going to the gym during the work day.



Leader's Digest is produced following each Leaders' Forum to provide an
overview of key discussion points.
This page was last updated on April 14, 2010
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