2015 Community Partner of Distinction Award - More than a good neighbour

The Community Partner of Distinction Award is one of the President’s Awards for St. Joseph’s Health Care London. It recognizes partnership and collaboration - essential requirements of health care delivery and community service. In appreciation of other organizations that demonstrate a strong commitment to collaboration, the Partner of Distinction Award is presented each year at St. Joseph’s Annual Community Meeting to a team or organization that has shown significant support of St. Joseph’s mission and/or the advancement of the health care system in collaboration with others.

Gillian Kernaghan, President and CEO presents the Community Partner of Distinction Award to Detachment Commander Brad Fishleigh, Detachment Manager Sergeant Greg Dafoe and Staff Sergeant Al Gordon.

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Elgin Detachment is the 2015 recipient of St. Joseph’s Community Partner of Distinction Award. This award recognizes partnership and collaboration – essential requirements of health care delivery and community service and the commitment of the Elgin OPP to serve and protect the vulnerable in our communities is exemplary. We congratulate the Elgin OPP as worthy recipient of this award.

Elgin detachment OPP

The Elgin OPP has been a longstanding community partner of the St. Joseph's Mental Health Care Program. A strong partnership has evolved over the years through regular communication and mutual understanding of the unique roles and mandates of both organizations. This has allowed St. Joseph's to partner in way that best serves both our patients and the community as a whole. They have also demonstrated tremendous compassion and understanding of the needs of our patients and clients and advocate for our patient needs along with fighting stigma of mental illness in the community. They have organized and welcomed educational sessions offered by our team for their front line officers and this has allowed the officers to not only gain an understanding of the mental health and forensic system but also how to better interact with patients they encounter in the community who might be exhibiting signs of mental illness.

St. Joseph's sincerely thanks and appreciates the Elgin OPP for their continued support, compassion and collaborative partnership, which truly makes a lasting difference in the lives of others.

Their collaboration and willingness to partner closely with St. Joseph's has helped to establish a process to allow for proactive communication and discussion in situations where we are likely to require police assistance. The sensitivity and compassion shown to both our patients and to the work of our program has been exceptional.

More than a good neighbour

constables with award

Arriving in full uniform, the four officers of the law stood beside St. Joseph’s leaders as proud partners to receive the Community Partner of Distinction Award.

One of four St. Joseph’s President’s Awards, the honour recognizes a group or organization that has made significant contributions to the health and well-being of individuals and the community as a whole through collaboration with St. Joseph’s Health Care London. 

This year’s recipient – Elgin OPP – “has been more than just a good neighbour,” says Janice Vandevooren, Director, Forensic Psychiatry Program at Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care. “We partner in a way that best serves our patients and also allows us to serve our mutual purpose of public safety.”

A longstanding community partner of St. Joseph’s Mental Health Program, the Elgin OPP were nominated by the leadership team at Southwest Centre for their hard work advocating for patient needs and assisting in the fight to end stigma.

“The Elgin OPP have reached out into the larger community in numerous ways that impact individuals receiving mental health services,” says Janice. This includes: 

  • Participation in the Southwest LHIN Behavioural Supports Ontario program – a program aimed at improving the lives of older adults who display challenging behaviours due to mental health and addiction issues or dementia related diseases.
  • Development and implementation of a Provincial Mental Health Strategy, which required  reaching out to more than 50 community partners across health, social, justice and political sectors to develop creative solutions to meeting the needs of individuals with mental health issues. 
  • Participation in education sessions offered by St. Joseph’s teams to create better interactions with patients encountered in the community who exhibit signs of mental illness.

“On behalf of St. Joseph’s we want to sincerely thank you for all that you do to serve and protect some of the most vulnerable people in our communities,” said Janice.  “Thank you for being a tremendous partner to St. Joseph’s and we look forward to continuing to serve our communities alongside you.”

Representing Elgin OPP at the award presentation, part of the annual meeting of the St. Joseph’s Health Care Society, were Detachment Commander Brad Fishleigh, Detachment Manager Staff Sergeant Greg Dafoe and Staff Sergeant Al Gordon .

 “You help us provide the best possible service where individuals suffering from mental illness are treated with dignity and respect,” said Fishleigh. “Only through our continued collaboration will we be in a position to adapt and change to meet the needs of our community.”

The Elgin OPP values the partnership with St. Joseph’s, added Fishleigh. “The strength and effectiveness of our collaborative team will only remain effective through our continued relationships.”

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