Women’s Health and Safety

When Vancouver Coastal Health worked on a redesign of health services in the DTES, we recognized the urgent need to improve care for diverse populations of women in the neighbourhood. Through this process we developed the DTES Women’s Health and Safety Companion Paper. This document has been critical to the success of the Second Generation Strategy goals, providing both the context and strategic direction of the changes we wanted to make in how VCH delivers and funds services to women in the DTES. Although the work through the 2nd Gen Strategy has been substantially completed, there will be ongoing consultation with women who live in the DTES and organizations that support them.

Improving Supports for Women in the DTES

  • A VCH DTES Women’s Health and Safety Strategy will continue to be developed in collaboration with women-serving organizations in the DTES
  • A women’s only Integrated Case Management Team (ICMT) focused specifically on serving vulnerable women launched on February 1, 2017 to provide outreach services for women in the DTES who face high levels of marginalization, are unable to access existing VCH health services, face multiple barriers to care, and who have problematic substance use and/or mental health challenges. The interdisciplinary model of the women’s ICMT includes social workers, outreach nurses, nurse practitioners, health care workers and a Peer with lived experience
  • 38 addiction recovery treatment beds were announced in partnership with BC Housing and Atira Women’s Services Society in January 2017
  • A women’s only Overdose Prevention Site, SisterSpace, has also been opened in partnership with Atira
  • Plans are underway for a Mobile Health Van that will be used by the women’s ICMT to assist with health outreach in the community.

We would like to thank our community partners for continuing to hold us accountable to doing a better job serving women in the DTES and for their leadership and innovation on the ground.