Guelph Wellington Ontario Health Team celebrates accomplishments

WELLINGTON COUNTY – The Guelph Wellington Ontario Health Team (GWOHT) is working to improve healthcare communication and health equities while supporting pandemic recovery.

The team met with partners, community members and the media on May 29 to celebrate its achievements and accomplishments. 

Director of transformation Emmi Perkins said GWOHT is a partnership of health care providers in Guelph Wellington “working together as a community to address and improve the health of our population.” 

In June 2021 the Guelph Ontario Health Team expanded to include healthcare partners in Wellington County, adopting a new name to reflect the change. 

GW OHT partners include East Wellington Family Health Team, Minto-Mapleton Family Health Team, Mount Forest Family Health Team, Upper Grand Family Health Team,  Groves Memorial Community Hospital, North Wellington Health Care, and the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington. 

Perkins described the progress in three primary areas:

  • communication between healthcare providers;
  • health equity; and
  • pandemic recovery. 

Increased communication 

Perkins said the work GWOHT is doing to improve communication between health care providers means patients won’t have to keep repeating their medical history. 

“We are building up and building on our existing primary care team to bring home care and primary care closer together so they are part of a single care team,” she said. 

This improved communication includes electronic referrals and real-time messaging between providers, she added, and empowers health care providers to “provide care in a more coordinated and seamless way.”

Health equity

To support health equity, GWOHT has adopted Global Diversity Equity and Inclusion Benchmarks, an international framework used to “objectively evaluate practices” and lead to action to improve in these areas, Perkins said. 

The health team supports providers in collecting data about social determinants of health, like access to food security, housing, income, race, and gender identity. 

This can provide important context, Perkins said. 

“The population can’t be healthy if they don’t have access to healthy food,” she said, so GWOHT support health care providers in helping “patients access low-barrier healthy food.”

For a patient with diabetes, Perkins noted, “providing a prescription for medication, if they don’t have access to healthy foods, may not result in the patient being healthy.” 

Without asking questions about social determinants of health, “we won’t be successful in helping our patients be healthy,” she said. 

Pandemic recovery

To foster recovery from the pandemic, the team provides extra supports to staff for health and wellness and is making efforts to attract and retain staff, to address increased wait times.

In order to reduce wait times, there needs to be enough staff “to operate at full capacity,” said Perkins.

They are also “identifying those patients waiting longer for certain procedures,” Perkins said, and ensuring they become a priority.  


The three focus areas of communication, equity, and pandemic were determined through consultation with groups including a patient, family, caregiver advisory council and an anti-oppression advisory team. 

Perkins said the patient, family, caregiver advisory committee guides all of the health team’s work. 

“We seek their advice on how to ensure the diverse needs of our community are represented and consulted in the work of the Ontario Health Team,” Perkins said.  

The anti-oppression team helps officials “identify where there are systemic barriers to equitable access to health care,” Perkins said. 

“One of the things that came out of this group is equity data collection guidelines” to shape how equity data is collected and used, as well as how it is not used.

Read the full Wellington Advertiser article HERE.

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