Ontario Initiatives

It can be difficult for women to find adequate resources to address emotional issues left unexamined during/after the treatment and diagnosis phases of breast cancer. The goal of the Creative Writing project, led by Dr. Roanne Thomas in Ottawa, is to develop and test a supportive, community-based writing intervention for women who have experienced breast cancer.  In conjunction with a professional writer, we delivered a community-based intervention where the women participated in embodied writing exercises, collage, and breath and movement (tai chi/qi gong).

Therapeutic art assists in the overall mental health of an individual with Alzheimer’s disease and/or related dementias as it stimulates the part of the brain that is still intact.  As many parts of the brain are deteriorating, the part of the brain responsible for emotions, short-term memory, and creative and artistic capabilities are activated through the use of art. 

This is a different kind of health lab where there are no white coats or test tubes. Instead the Evans Health Lab fuses clinicians and creatives, filmmakers and patients, social entrepreneurs and best evidence to create “edutaining” healthcare information. The Lab develops everything from videos and infographics to websites and applications.

There’s a unique 8-week program at Fleming College’s Haliburton campus. An Ontario Graduate Certificate, the Expressive Arts Program is an opportunity for those in arts and social service professions to discover how to engage with and assist people in a creative manner. Alumni include a medical doctor, teaching assistants, church ministers, teachers, a large variety of social workers, and more.

Fools for Health is one of the Ontario-based clown doctor programs. It has been operating at the Windsor Regional Hospital since it was piloted there in 2001, under the guidance of Dr. Bernie Warren of the University of Windsor. Fools for Health has expanded to other communities and to long term care.  It is now operating in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City,  and has an affiliate in Vancouver, BC (Jest for Joy).