Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your organization?
Tiffany Smith, the Manager of Community Programming at the City of Waterloo, has over 15 years of leadership experience in the community health sector. She has been with the City of Waterloo for three years, working with an exceptional team of staff who lead, plan, and deliver programs and services to meet the growing needs of the community, ranging from young children to older adults. In addition, the staff team provides community support services through their partnership and agreement with Ontario Health, which includes a senior day program and a variety of home support services - community dining, transportation, shopping, telephone reassurance, and homemaking and home maintenance.
The City of Waterloo extends beyond the Community Programming area and includes a large team of volunteers, staff, and elected officials who provide leadership and delivery of services to support the community overall. The City's current work plans aim to support sustainable growth, equity, and an inclusive community. The team is currently working on their strategic plan for 2023 to 2026, which will be released in June.
What drew you to City of Waterloo originally? And how has it changed since?
Tiffany Smith initially worked in community healthcare, particularly supporting older adults living at risk due to various social and health factors. She joined the City of Waterloo three years ago and feels fortunate to work for an organization where equity, diversity, and inclusion are strong strategic pillars. The municipality recognizes its role in contributing to a thriving and interconnected healthcare system across various sectors.
Tiffany's passion for providing services and programs to the community now extends across different age groups, from children to older adults. She focuses on creating a sense of community and belonging in the City of Waterloo and through partnerships and connections, such as KW4 OHT. Since joining the City of Waterloo, Tiffany has seen tremendous growth and regeneration after the pandemic.
What do you like most about City of Waterloo?
Tiffany appreciates the emphasis on diversity and inclusion within the City of Waterloo. Although she does not reside in the city, she notes that the organization places a high value on equity, diversity, and inclusion, which is reflected in the recent investment in a dedicated team to support these principles. Additionally, she enjoys the broad range of services and programs offered by the City, from Ontario Health-funded programs to leisure and active living activities. Tiffany appreciates the balance between keeping seniors active and engaged in the community and offering specialized programs to support aging at home.
Can you tell us what your role is with the OHT?
Tiffany Smith provided an overview of the programs offered by the City of Waterloo, emphasizing their strong foundation and long-standing agreement with the Ministry of Health and the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). As a strategic partner with the KW4 OHT, the City of Waterloo recognizes its role in promoting overall community health and wellbeing beyond the impact of local hospitals. Tiffany highlighted the organization provides support and guidance, educates the community around different issues, and improves access to social programming and infrastructure to address systemic issues. The City of Waterloo is fortunate to have the involvement of local municipalities at the KW4 level, which allows for creative opportunities to collaborate and partner with the health team. Tiffany summarized the City’s role as encompassing all aspects of community health, including efforts to address housing and homelessness. The joint co-op opportunity with KW4 OHT, the city of Waterloo, and the city of Kitchener is one example of the City's commitment to collaborating and working towards shared goals and outcomes.
How does your organization align with the values and goals of the OHT?
Tiffany explained that KW4 OHT’s vision is to support a community where everyone thrives and no one is left behind. She stated that the City of Waterloo is committed to collaborating with the OHT to ensure that the community has access to the health services they need. Tiffany emphasized the importance of interconnected care and stated that both City of Waterloo and KW4 OHT share similar visions to ensure the community is healthy and thriving. Overall, Tiffany believes that working together to collaborate on a health and wellness system is crucial in providing interconnected care for the community.
What do you hope to see in the near future with your continued partnership with the OHT?
Tiffany hopes to see continued collaboration and effective delivery of healthcare through their partnership with the OHT in the near future. She believes that building positive relationships and connections with the OHT will be essential for this collaboration and anticipates that the partnership will continue to develop as KW4 OHT evolves and matures.