The REACH Clinic is Saskatoon’s only primary health clinic established specifically to address the needs of newly arrived refugees.
REACH was established by the Refugee Health Collective, made up of representatives from Global Gathering Place; Saskatoon Community Clinic; Saskatoon Open Door Society; University of Saskatchewan’s Departments of Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Community Health and Epidemiology; the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s Public Health, Primary Health and Mental Health Services; and Tuberculosis Prevention Control (SK).
Our organizations form a community of care around each patient, collaborating to eliminate the myriad of healthcare barriers refugees face in their first year. Navigating a new healthcare system within days or weeks of your arrival in a new country is nearly impossible alone. Through constant coordination, REACH has reduced the number of refugees seeking care at the emergency room, walk-in clinics, or not seeking care at all. Accessing a primary healthcare provider within the first few weeks of arrival is a key factor in determining the success of a refugee’s settlement journey.
GGP staff refer refugee clients to REACH for medical care and arrange their appointments, but our involvement does not end there. We work closely with the clinic and our other partners, following each client through their first year. Our Cultural Health Navigator (CHN) and Providing Accessing to Healthcare (PATH) programs enable us to provide our clients with constant support throughout their medical journey, from language interpretation to transportation.
The structure of the clinic itself immediately eliminates several barriers. Rather than sending new refugees across the city to access different healthcare providers for different services, REACH is situated within the Community Clinic which contains a pharmacy, a medical lab, and a diagnostic imaging center alongside the primary care clinic. The doctors and staff who work at the clinic are familiar with the unique needs of the refugee population, providing culturally aware and competent care based on Canadian Standards of Refugee Health Screening and Preventative Care.
REACH grew out of the need for more specialized care amongst Syrian refugees and, in the intervening years, the demand for our services has not wavered. Just this week, we met with the Refugee Health Collaborative met to share information on the incoming Afghan and Ukrainian refugees. In the coming months, cross-sector partnerships like ours will only prove more vital.