The clinic treats racialized and vulnerable patients to correct poor health outcomes
for dr Danielle Brown-Shreves is a dream come true as she walks through the three-story clinic she opened in the Glebe during the pandemic.
For two decades, she envisioned leading a multidisciplinary medical center where vulnerable patients would have easier access to healthcare.
“I wanted to do something for people that I’ve seen have really poor health outcomes,” Brown-Shreves said. “I grew up in Jamaica and that was my reality – poverty. I’ve seen how it really affects health.”
When she came to Canada, she found that people who looked like her were disproportionately affected, noting that data shows cancer mortality, chronic disease, and diabetes rates are higher among blacks.
During the pandemic, she saw a more pressing need for comprehensive, collaborative, and compassionate care for the homeless, refugees, and immigrants, particularly in the African, Caribbean, and Black communities.
“We use a equity perspective to care for patients of all ages and races, but for my practice in particular, I wanted to do something more for this community,” said Brown-Shreves, who has a background in global healthcare.
Collaborative medical approach
She opened the Restore Medical Clinics on Bronson Avenue in April 2021, about a year after the pandemic began, which currently features a walk-in and appointment clinic, pharmacy, laboratory and the ability to offer psychiatric services.
“We take care of patients’ needs from head to toe and consider all aspects of health, not just the physical ones,” she said.
“If we look at socio-demographic factors that affect health, we think this can happen through multiple collaborations [of health-care practitioners].”
The third floor is currently under construction to eventually house dental, optometric and physiotherapy services.
An elevator will also be installed to make the building more accessible.
Culturally sensitive care
Brown-Shreves recognizes that access to healthcare is a major city-wide challenge. While some doctors at Restore Medical Clinics have waiting lists, some doctors are accepting new patients there.
dr Samuel Ijeh, who joined Restore last month, calls the clinic “a breath of fresh air.”
“I saw all kinds of people, especially people who were on the waiting list [at other clinics] for about five to six years, some up to ten,” he said.
He said he met with patients from every possible ethnic group and socioeconomic class.
“You come here and you find an identity,” he said. “For me, it’s about providing the same level of care to all this diverse group of people.”
Patient Ime Patrick Edet said additional communication is key for newcomers trying to navigate Canada’s healthcare system and commended his doctor for providing a detailed roadmap about his health and blood tests, which allayed his concerns.
Matilda Boateng said having a black woman as a doctor, referring to Brown-Shreves, makes her more comfortable.
“As a black woman, she knows some of the things we’re going through. She can read between the lines for me,” said Boateng.
At a time when some GPs are absent due to burnout or retirement, Brown-Shreves said passion and compassion keep her going.
“I’m trying to see what difference I can make to drive change to better serve the community,” she said.
The clinic provides space and mentoring to other black doctors, medical students, and high school students who may be interested in the field.
Brown-Shreves also runs a foundation that supports the education of young people.
“We support young black people in whatever they choose to be the best they can be so there can be representation.”