Big News for Ontario

From the News Release:

“The province is providing nearly $560,000 to support two new annual fellowships over three years for a total of six new fellowships. They will allow family medicine graduates to complete an extra year of focused training in environmental health, and will help primary care providers like family doctors offer the right care to assess, diagnose and treat environmentally-linked health issues.”

 

“Environmental health is an emerging public health field that examines the relationship between the environment and human health. This includes the role of the environment in contributing to serious health conditions that can be disabling and even life threatening, such as environmental sensitivities, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and other chronic, complex disorders. ”

 

“There is a growing recognition that our environment and our health are connected. Through these new fellowships, we can develop greater understanding of the links between health and the environment in order to provide better care to those suffering from complex chronic illnesses.”

~
~ Deb Matthews
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

 

“The study of the environment’s effects on human health is an important emerging field of research. Support for investigating environmental impacts on health is emblematic of our government’s commitment to strengthen healthy communities.”

~
~ Jim Bradley
Minister of Environment

Full News Release:

Building Expertise in Environmental Health

Ontario Supporting New Fellowships in Emerging Public Health Field

April 21, 2014 12:00 p.m.

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Ontario is supporting new fellowships in environmental health that will help primary care providers deliver better patient care.

Environmental health is an emerging public health field that examines the relationship between the environment and human health. This includes the role of the environment in contributing to serious health conditions that can be disabling and even life threatening, such as environmental sensitivities, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and other chronic, complex disorders.

The province is providing nearly $560,000 to support two new annual fellowships over three years for a total of six new fellowships. They will allow family medicine graduates to complete an extra year of focused training in environmental health, and will help primary care providers like family doctors offer the right care to assess, diagnose and treat environmentally-linked health issues.

The new fellowships will be offered by the University of Toronto’s Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, in collaboration with physicians at the Environmental Health Clinic at Women’s College Hospital.

Building expertise in environmental health among primary care providers supports Ontario’s Action Plan for Health Care by ensuring that patients get the right care, at the right time, in the right place. It is also part of the government’s economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow by focusing on Ontario’s greatest strengths –its people and strategic partnerships.

Quick Facts

  • Last week, Ontario fulfilled its commitment to phase out coal-fired power generation, which has been replaced with cleaner, renewable energy sources.
  • Cleaner air lowers the health risks associated with pollution such as asthma and other respiratory diseases.

Quotes

“There is a growing recognition that our environment and our health are connected. Through these new fellowships, we can develop greater understanding of the links between health and the environment in order to provide better care to those suffering from complex chronic illnesses.”

Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

~

“The study of the environment’s effects on human health is an important emerging field of research. Support for investigating environmental impacts on health is emblematic of our government’s commitment to strengthen healthy communities.”

Jim Bradley, Minister of Environment

~

“These fellowships will be foundational to building the capacity for family physicians to diagnose and treat environmentally-linked health conditions. There are approximately 570,000 people who live with myalgic encephalomyelitis (chronic fatigue syndrome), fibromyalgia, and environmental sensitivities. These conditions have been on the rise in Ontario, and supporting these six fellowships is the beginning for addressing the urgent need for trained physicians with the expertise to treat and recognize the often comorbid, life-long, and debilitating nature of these conditions.”

Adrianna Tetley, Association of Ontario Health Centres

~

“The Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Association of Ontario is a support organization for those afflicted with environmentally linked illnesses such as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and environmental sensitivities/multiple chemical sensitivity.The announcement of these new fellowships is wonderful news and a great first step to providing long overdue better patient care to those afflicted with these illnesses.We are very excited with this great news.”

Denise Magi, Vice-President, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Association of Ontario

~

“The Department of Family and Community Medicine’s new environmental health fellowship is an exciting training opportunity for family physicians interested in the impacts of environmental exposures on health.”

Dr. Lynn Wilson, Professor and Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto

~

“The Physicians at the Environmental Health Clinic at Women’s College Hospital are thrilled with the Ministry’s funding of Environmental Health Fellowships. It is a ‘missing element’ in medical education and we are honoured to train more physicians to integrate the environment with other factors to protect personal and public health.”

Dr. Riina Bray, Dr. Kathleen Kerr, Dr. Lynn Marshall and Dr. John Molot, Environmental Health Clinic, Women’s College

~

A much needed step towards

Recognition Inclusion and Equity the Time is Now

Recognition, Inclusion and Equity

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23 responses to “Big News for Ontario

  1. Amazing. I think the tipping point is starting to tip toward the side of health and well-being finally. Thanks for keeping us up to date. 😀

    • Too many people have been “tipped” over the edge…
      It’s costing the health “care” systems too much money when people go from doctor to doctor trying to find out why they or their children can’t function properly anymore… and the long term disability programs also cost a lot…
      Hopefully this will also lead to “polluter pays” laws and prevention, as prevention ultimately costs a lot less, and allows people to be much more functional, productive and prosperous, benefitting everyone!

      • It’s sad that the impetus for change is money but I’ll take what I can get. The more people aware the better. If companies had to pay to put the environment back to exactly the way it was before they contaminated it — we’d see change very quickly. 😀

  2. That is really amazing! I hope they train all family doctors in enviro medicine. I wonder if a year is enough for them to learn everything, but it’s a great start (and would be nice if they would do that in the U.S. too).

    • We need so many more doctors trained!!!
      These six will have 100,000 patients each if we look at the people who have already been diagnosed (there are so few doctors able to diagnose and several have retired)

      • Yeah really! Still, having a conventional doc train in enviro medicine is huge. I think Dr. Shoemaker started as a family medicine doctor.

        • It’s definitely a big improvement!
          We’ve also had the Environmental Health Clinic in Toronto since the mid-90’s I think. That’s where most people go to get official diagnosis.
          There have been several big, coordinated efforts launched in this province over the years to make things happen (there was a 600 page report on Environmental Hypersensitivity in 1984-1985).
          I am hoping many more of the recommendations from the report become a reality too.
          It would be nice to have access to health “care” again…

  3. headstanddreamer

    This sounds like very, very, very good news! I am looking for a family doctor who will at the very least acknowledge my experiences in a respectful way, even if they don’t understand them. To think that one day I may have a family doctor who is trained in this area is really wonderful new for me and others!

    • We certainly need all family doctors to have an understanding of environmental health and how exposures affect people!

  4. GREAT NEWS! Hopefully this will be a big step forward and an iniciative that will be followed by others. An admirable gesture of humanity and the responsability of acknowledgement and caring for the “Chemically Injured” and/or sufferers of cronic environmental Illnesses.
    Thanks to all those who cooperate in raising awareness of our need for understanding and support! Congradulations for the “Good work”.
    It’s so rewarding and “uplifting” to see this finally happening and to be able to harbour some hope for a better future for recognition and treatment of Central Sensitization Syndroms.
    Well done!

  5. Yeah, really, you need a good enviro doc already. I hope this fellowship works out.
    I have a question: I am dealing with my dental allergy patch tests and need to understand chemical terms a little better. Are there any books/websites/anything that can help with understanding enough chemistry to read an MSDS sheet or understand the ingredients in a product? I need something that explains terms like “salt” and “ester,” and all the chemistry textbooks I looked at online are a bit too involved…I don’t need equations. (All the textbooks also seem to cost around $200.)

    • If they can do this in Ontario, they should be able to do this (and more) everywhere!

      • Let’s hope it happens in other areas sooner rather than later.

        • If only hoping was enough (although we shouldn’t stop hoping)…
          The efforts that went into this are somewhat staggering for those of us with disabling MCS/ES or FM or ME/CFS. The reports I linked to at the bottom of the post describe some of what went into achieving this.
          My gratitude to those who have worked so hard to make this happen and who continue to push for more Recognition, Inclusion and Equity.

  6. An article from the Physicians for Social Responsibility:
    Training Physicians in Environmental Health: A Strategy to Improve Patient Care and Reduce Healthcare Costs
    http://www.psr.org/environment-and-health/environmental-health-policy-institute/responses/training-physicians-in-environmental-health.html

  7. It IS wonderful news to learn of such progress. But please, let’s not overlook the potential of Registered Nurses, Naturopathic and other allied health professionals.

    Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Respiratory Techs.,etc. these days are intelligent individuals, able to comprehend and apply knowledge critical to the supportive measures involving recognition and appropriate treatment of those suffering with the clinical pictures of environmental illness(EI).

    Frequently in the daily course of our work, we educate doctors making their way through their practical medical training. It is probably optimal to reach these doctors of the future, earlier on in their training when they respect the nurses and still have open minds to receive and analyze what they observe in reality. I suggest this because it is done at a time in their career when they actually appreciate the well-founded assistance of nursing personnel.

    It should also be mentioned that in fact and ironically, there are a number of nurses who they themselves are now suffering with various forms of EI. Further, it is quite possible that the source of illness might be directly related to their working environments (ie. chemotherapy and radiation treatment wards). For those of us who fall into that category, we have a wealth of invaluable information and experience to share with new medical graduates and of course with ‘old school’ health practitioners.

    Perhaps, to augment the above cited initiative, we could do our part to whatever extent possible, to help expand this commendable project of medical enlightenment – efforts to identify, treat and most important believe and validate the patients presenting with such afflictions. For we are persons in need of timely, urgent medical attention. Key as well is the dignity and validation so badly needed throughout the rather lengthy process necessary for amelioration of the condition.

    It might be extremely helpful for as many of the nurses who do understand and believe in such illnesses as Chronic fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM), and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), to organize a sub-component of the ONA to keep themselves updated (informing other nurses as well) while still informing and educating as many other health care personnel of all levels.

    I myself, (a university educated nurse with a Master’s Degree in Community Health), have been striving to keep up with cutting edge Genomic research. It is this discipline of molecular biology and genetics which holds the key to understanding the etiology and natural course of EI. It is becoming more and more well documented as well as becoming increasingly more prevalent in the published medical literature – IF ONE KNOWS WHERE TO LOOK !

    However, without the postulated above recommendations, it will take years to reach the level of practicing, clinical health professionals ! There are now established biomarkers, and tests available to support one’s diagnosis. This means that there is scientific basis for appropriate and timely intervention not only for the present purpose of diagnosis , but more important, for accurate and ultimately less costly TREATMENT intervention of one’s respective EI.

    I would be willing to spearhead such an initiative, if there are other professionals such as the ones mentioned and others not mentioned, who would be willing to contribute and to assist me. Here is hoping, I see some response to this effect !

    Rochelle

    • We need a great many dedicated people learning more about the modern health problems the endeavors of mankind have been causing!
      And a good heaping of compassion to create policies that help those of us who have been injured instead of abandoning us to our own devices when we’re not able to take care of our own needs…

      Thanks for caring Rochelle. Perhaps you can contact the people involved with the “Perspectives” project to see if you can get involved in that regard?

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