One year anniversary of KW4 OHT's Executive Director, Ashnoor Rahim.
To mark a full year in the position, we interviewed Ashnoor and asked her to reflect on the past 12 months and speak to the future of the OHT.
Can you introduce yourself and the goals of the KW4 OHT?
Ashnoor Rahim is the Executive Director for the KW4 OHT, with a background in physical therapy. Ashnoor has worked in the healthcare field for almost 30 years. Prior to this role, she has worked as a frontline physiotherapist in the hospital. She has worked in progressive leadership roles that have allowed her to understand the importance of the different sectors and interconnectedness of care.
Ontario Health Teams recognize the significance of integrated healthcare and aim to take a population health approach to health and wellness. This goal ensures that people are receiving the right care in their home and community, but also have access to specialized care such as hospitals, long-term care in a timely manner when needed. Another goal of OHTs is ensuring that all Ontarians have access to a primary care provider. The OHT contributes to these goals by focusing on community wellness through collaborative partnerships.
What do you like best about your job?
Ashnoor admires many aspects of her job as her professional purpose aligns with the goals and values of the OHT. She strongly believes in the importance of integrated care to achieve better health outcomes. Moreover, she also appreciates the health equity approach taken by the OHT. As an immigrant from Tanzania, she understands and recognizes the importance of immigrantion to the country and region and also some of the challenges that newcomers face in accessing health and other services.. Additionally, Ashnoor loves working with the community members in Kitchener-Waterloo and the townships, she describes her experience as “incredible and an honour ”. She feels valued and praises the dedication put towards helping the community thrive by the region and townships, the hospitals, the community providers, and the University of Waterloo.
What are the most unique aspects of the OHT?
One thing that makes this OHT unique is the mix of urban and rural communities within the designated area. Ashnoor called attention to the urban growth happening in the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, and also the unique needs of our townships. For instance, she shared an example of how the Woolwich Community Health Centre and Community Care Concepts work together to provide health and communities services for the Mennonite communities. She also highlighted that another unique aspect of the OHT is its broad approach to health through various partnerships.
What was your first impression of the KW4 OHT?
Ashnoor reflected on her first few weeks with the organization and how she got to know the region and community. She was taken on a tour of the townships with Rosslyn Bentley from Woolwich Community Health Centre and Cathy Harrington with Community Care Concepts, and she got to interact with farmers in our rural communities. She participated in calls with the hospitals and community leaders discussing the needs for the new hospital build. Ashnoor raved about the level of commitment of the region to determine the correct resources and needs of the community. Ashnoor describes her first impression of the organizations and community partners as discovering a “pockets of excellence” with the desire to educate and work collaboratively.
What is your favorite thing about the region?
Ashnoor stated that her favourite thing would be the people and the vast amount of pride they have for the region. The citizens are interested in wanting to make it a better place for all, and she sees this in her work with healthcare equity. Though the region is not small by any means, she says it has the small-town feel in the way leaders feel and work together in support of common goals. .
What do you hope to see in the near future of KW4 OHT?
Embracing the energy and excitement of partners to continue to support the current work, Ashnoor is proud of the work done to date by the OHT members. She hopes to continue to support member goals, and those of the Ministry of Health, Ontario Health and the community. Recognizing that the KW4 OHT is still young, she sees the organization adjusting to accommodate clearer expectations and goals.
The next 12 months will see more focus on the KW4’s three main initiatives. The Neighbourhood Integrated Care Team, Newcomer App, and Primary Care Integration and Governance projects will evolve based on resources, opportunities and direction from the expertise of Leadership Action Committees and Implementation teams. The Kw4 OHT will continue to meet with providers to build out the network of resources. The work so far can be explained through a metaphor of building a house. The first two years were laying the foundation, and these priority initiatives will set the framework.
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