Issue13| December 21, 2021
Monthly Bulletin of the Alliance's Learning Health System
Seasons Greetings
from the EPIC Learning Health System
As 2021 comes to a close, we at EPIC would like to thank you for the time you've spent with us as a reader and subscriber, and for everything you do to improve health at the client, community, or system level. We're glad you're with us on this EPIC journey of learning and quality improvement.

Next month, we'll be bringing you updates about the Alliance's COVID-19 vaccine community of practice, research into virtual care and channel management, a project that's empowering communities to support those who are experiencing changes in life, and help for your collaborative quality improvement projects, Indigenous-led pathways to mental health. This month, we're bringing you a shorter issue of EPIC News, featuring a reading list to move and inspire you, as well as our usual list of tools, resources, and opportunities.

We wish you and those you love a safe and peaceful holiday season,
and a bright start to 2022.
EPIC Holiday Reading List
Learning Events & Programs
Get Involved: Research & Sharing
New Tools & Resources
EPIC Holiday Reading List

Our holiday gift to you is a reading list we've compiled with suggestions from colleagues and friends at the Alliance, the Indigenous Primary Health Care Council, and beyond. We hope that you find something here that cheers, inspires, moves, or surprises you. Except where noted, descriptions are adapted from the linked web pages.


Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness by Kristen Radtke. Radtke digs into the ways in which we attempt to feel closer to one another, and the distance that remains. Through the lenses of gender and violence, technology and art, Radtke ushers us through a history of loneliness and longing, and shares what feels impossible to share.

Commanding Hope: The Power We Have to Renew a World in Peril by Thomas Homer-Dixon. Calling on history, cutting-edge research, complexity science and even Lord of the Rings, Homer-Dixon lays out the tools we can command to rescue a world on the brink.

The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King. The Inconvenient Indian is a critical and personal meditation on what it means to be "Indian" in North America. King weaves the curiously circular tale of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and settlers in the centuries since the two first encountered each other. 

Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga. As she explores the stories of seven indigenous high school students who died in Thunder Bay, Talaga delves into the history of the city and its long struggle with human rights violations against Indigenous communities.

How I learned to Understand the World: A Memoir by Hans Rosling. Curiosity and commitment made the late Hans Rosling a revolutionary thinker and one of the most popular health researchers of his time. Here, he shares his journey with the same joy for storytelling that inspired people to listen when he spoke about global health and statistics.

Neglected No More: The Urgent Need to Improve the Lives of Canada's Elders in the Wake of a Pandemic by Andre Picard. Anyone who’s had anything to do with our long-term care system will see their frustrations reflected here, with fair and thoughtful consideration. It ends on a hopeful note, with a series of interlinked recommendations that would be hard to disagree with. (Description by Robyn Kalda).

Disorientation: Being Black in the World by Ian Williams. In this collection of essays, Williams brings fresh eyes and new insights to today's urgent conversation on race and racism, drawing on his own experiences as a Black man. Disorientation describes the "whiplash of race that occurs while minding one's own business."

The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination by Ursula K. Leguin. This collection of short non-fiction by science fiction and fantasy writer, Ursula K. Leguin explores literature, family, beauty, gender, and identity, and writing, among other things. Leguin's openness and curiosity make these explorations feel personal and compelling. (Description by Catherine Macdonald).


A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers. A quiet, thoughtful, science fiction novel that asks interesting questions about purpose and identity. What if all the self-aware robots took themselves away into the wilderness, a long time ago? What if there were "tea monks" who listened to your problems then made you a nice cup of tea? (Description by Robyn Kalda).

Moon of the Crusted Snow: A Novel by Waubgeshig Rice. This award-winning thriller is set in a small, northern Anishnaabe community. As winter approaches, the community goes dark. As the community struggles to hold on, refugees show up from the crumbling society to the south. Blending action and allegory, the narrative explores how resilience can come from catastrophe.

The Outside Circle: A Graphic Novel by Patti Laboucane-Benson. Two aboriginal brothers try to overcome centuries of historic trauma in very different ways to bring healing to their lives. The Outside Circle is drawn from the author’s twenty years of work and research on healing and reconciliation of gang-affiliated or incarcerated Indigenous men.

Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq. This prize-winning novel from internationally acclaimed Inuit throat singer, Tanja Tagaq, describes the world of a girl growing up in Nunavut in the 1970s. She is surrounded by joy, friendship and love - but also addiction and violence. The novel veers back and forth between the worlds of humans, animals, and spirits.
Learning Events & Programs

Beginning January 13 - Healthcare Excellence Canada virtual learning exchange on equitable and inclusive approaches to client engagement. The first three-session series, Opening Ourselves, will lay the foundation for exploring anti-oppression practices and unconscious bias in our work.
  • January 13, 2022, 12:00-1:30pm
  • February 3, 2022, 12:00-1:30pm
  • March 23, 2022, 12:00-1:30pm

Beginning January 17 - Medication Abortion Training for primary care providers in community-based settings. This self-paced, online training is eligible for Mainpro+® credits and includes six modules and one live session.
Modules will be available starting January 17, 2022. Two live session dates are available to choose from in February: 
  • Tuesday, February 1, 2022, 6:00 - 7:00 pm
  • Thursday, February 3, 2022, 6:00 - 7:00 pm
Details and registration here (select the Community-Based Primary Care Teams course option). For more information, contact Presented by the Alliance for Healthier Communities and the National Abortion Federation Canada.

January 23, 12:30-1:30 pm - Diabetes Care: Tools and Resources to Support Mental Health Needs.
Ontario Health is hosting a webinar for endocrinologists, primary care providers, and diabetes educators on screening for mental health needs among people with diabetes, and resources available to support them. This is the first of an ongoing series that will highlight Ontario Health’s three diabetes quality standards. Register here to join the session.


February 25 - RHO 2022 Symposium: LSBT2SQ Health in Focus. This learning and sharing forum is for anyone interested in LGBT2SQ health. This year's event consists of three panel discussions and a dedicated Q&A session. email Rainbow Health Ontario to learn more. Register here.


Intersectionality Training to support health equity. The Intersectionality Institute offers seminars, webinars, and workshops for individuals, researchers, and organizations interested in doing high quality research into health equity.

BETTER Prevention Practitioner Training Institute: Prevention Practitioners are interprofessional primary care team members who support clients in taking actions to reduce their risk of cancer and chronic disease. Training for BETTER Prevention Practitioners is available to Alliance members on a cost-recovery basis. See the prospectus and website for more details, or email Carolina Fernandes.
website to learn more and sign up your team.

Doing research and need help designing your end-of-grant KT plan? Consider registering for this self-paced online course from the KT program at St. Michael’s hospital. Enroll whenever it is convenient and get access to the materials for two months. Email Meghan Storey for more information.
Research & Sharing Opportunities
Calls for Abstracts

Deadline January 10 - Action Now! Building Equitable Futures Together: The Alliance's annual comprehensive primary health care conference returns in-person in June 2022. Submit proposals for learning sessions by January 10. Priority themes, formats, and evaluation criteria here.

Networking and Collaborative Learning

Obesity Canada Action Teams: Obesity Canada is working on creating a framework as part of a National Obesity Strategy and is looking for experts and students from various disciplines to apply to their Action Teams. These are small working groups that will focus on conducting strategic research that will support the creating of a national framework. Each has a different area of focus: Research/training, Education, Policy, and Community Engagement. Lots of information and link to apply here.

Physicians: Have you been selected for the CPSO’s QI Program? Get help from a SPIDER! If you are one of the physicians selected to take part in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario's (CPSO) first cohort for their new, self-directed Quality Improvement program this year, consider joining the SPIDER deprescribing project. Participants can help their clients reduce or discontinue their use of PPIs, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and other medications frequently overprescribed to older adults. By participating in SPIDER, you’ll get access to tailored EMR data, a QI coach, and a chance to join your peers in a learning collaborative. Contact Jennifer Rayner for more information. 

Study Participants & Stories Wanted

Help shape "Our Dementia Journey Journal." The Saint Elizabeth Research Centre is developing this tool to help people living with dementia, their caregivers, and care providers communicate effectively. They're looking for people living with dementia, caregivers, and care providers in rural, remote, and isolated communities across Canada to review the journal and provide feedback in an interview.

Help make lung-cancer screening more equitable: People living with low incomes often miss out on lung cancer screenings, and this costs lives. A research team from Women’s College Hospital is working to close this equity gap by building a trauma-informed and equity-based e-learning module for family physicians. They’re looking for expertise from clinical and interprofessional providers at CHCs, AHACs, CFHTS, and NPLCs to help them. See their letter of invitation for more details. Email Dr. Ambreen Sayani if you have questions or want to participate. Please share this opportunity with the clinicians and interprofessional healthcare providers in your organization!

SPARK better screening and intervention for social and material determinants of health: The Screening for Poverty And Related determinants and intervening to improve Knowledge of and links to resources (SPARK) study will improve processes for collecting socio-demographic data and addressing poverty at the point of care. You can connect community members with the SPARK team to share their thoughts about healthcare providers asking people about their identities (gender, race, education level) and social needs (income, housing). Participants will be invited to complete two surveys and an interview, all in one online session of 60 to 90 minutes, and they will be compensated. Contact for more information. Share the call for for participants and recruitment poster with your clients - in English, French, Chinese, and Punjabi.

Share your experiences working with uninsured migrants. Researchers want to hear from health care providers who have experience providing health care services to uninsured migrants. What they learn will inform policy recommendations and will be shared through community events. Confidential interviews will be conducted over Zoom. Email Melissa Anderson to participate or learn more.

New Tools and Resources
Guidance & Tools to Support Practice

STOP on the Net: Free Smoking Cessation Program. This online program from Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) was designed to help adults in Ontario quit smoking. Participants will receive a free NRT kit with an eight-week. supply of nicotine patches and gum/lozenges mailed to their address. To learn more about the program, visit the STOP on the Net webpage.

Virtual care resources for mental health care. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has a suite of trainings and tools about how to use mobile app and telepsychiatry to support your clients' mental health.

From Ontario Health: Quality Standards Placemats for Diabetes and Alcohol Use.
  • Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes: Focuses on care for children and adults who are at risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes or who already have a diagnosis of either. 
  • Problematic Alcohol Use and Alcohol Use Disorder: Focuses on helping people with problematic alcohol use and alcohol use disorder reduce their consumption or abstain from alcohol, and provides guidance on screening, assessment, and treatment options that address people’s needs and preferences.

Mental Health Toolkit: Speaking with your doctor about your mental health. This six-page workbook was developed to help primary healthcare providers support clients who have mental health concerns. It can be used during appointments to enhance communication and help guide conversations about mental health care. Find tips for using the workbook here. If you would prefer a hard copy, please email Allyson Ion or call her at (519) 429-2661.

Recently Published or Presented

New evidence for the safety and efficacy of abortion medication. A special article from the New England Journal of Medicine, published December 8, 2022, describes a large-scale study of abortions in Ontario from 2012 to 2020, using population-based administrative data. The investigators learned that while the abortion rate remained stable, the proportion of those that were medication-based increased from 2.2% to 31.4% after mifepristone became available through normal prescriptions. The rate of complications did not change.

Improving screening rates for Diabetic Retinopathy: Last month, we told you about a research project involving Dr. Jennifer Rayner, the Alliance's Director of Research and Evaluation, and Diabetes Action Canada, using linked EMR and administrative data to identify people in need of a retinal screening, and then helping them access one. Here are three research posters about the project that were presented at the Diabetes Canada professional conference in November:

Supporting Health in Communities During COVID-19: How Community Primary Healthcare Delivered Continuous Care and Advanced Health Equity through the Pandemic Crisis. This report, prepared by Alliance staff, explores some of the major ways Alliance member organizations responded to the crisis to keep their clients and communities as healthy as possible.

Alliance lunch 'n' learn webinars: We're sharing these here in case you missed them or wish to review or share them.

Got a moment?
Tell us what you think of EPIC News.
Do you consider the content relevant?
Do you consider the presentation (writing, layout, visual elements) to be engaging?
Thank you!
Your responses will help us make EPIC better.
Please send comments, suggestions, or story ideas to

Haven't subscribed yet? Email to get on the list!

Have an innovation, study, or project you'd like to share with other EPIC readers?
Reach out to us at