December 11, 2023

A central Edmonton health clinic is being hailed as a gold-standard for what complete family care should look like in Alberta.

On Tuesday, the MacEwan University Health Centre (MUHC) was presented the 2023 Patient’s Medical Home Outstanding Family Practice Award by the Alberta College of Family Physicians (ACFP).

“We need more clinics like this, around the province, around the country, to meet the needs of our population,” said Noel DaCunha, president of ACFP.

“I hope every Albertan, every Canadian will be able to belong to a medical home like this one.”

A “patient medical home” is one that includes family physicians, comprehensive care teams, a communications system, social accountability, a learning component and involvement in research, DaCunha said.

MUHC, which is located on 109 Street and 105 Avenue, serves patients from all over the province, including staff and students. It is a joint effort between MacEwan and the University of Alberta.

“What we really try to provide is prenatal all the way to supportive end-of-life care of all of the primary care needs of our patients…So that patients know where to turn to when their health needs support, or when they’re just working on health promotion,” explained medical director Dr. Julia Chronopoulos.

She said the MUHC model is more convenient for patients and has been successful at preventing people from needing other care, such as visits to emergency rooms.

DaCunha believes reducing stress and bureaucracy while increasing government support would help encourage doctors to help create practices like MUHC.

“We do have a crisis in family medicine right now where we don’t have as many family physicians and we should,” he said.

“We need to work harder on retention and recruitment and try to prevent the burnout we see in family physicians by improving the work environment.”

Chronopoulos and several of her staff members received the award while wearing Pride lanyards. She said the clinic is “safe and inclusive for all folks” which is key to serving both inner-city patients and rural Albertans.

“We spend a lot of time and energy to make this a welcoming environment where folks who come from different communities, where they might have felt marginalized by the healthcare system in the past, will hopefully find a home where that’s no longer the case,” Chronopoulos said.

Last year the award was won by the South Health Campus Family Medicine Teaching Clinic in Calgary.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s John Hanson

(John Hanson/CTV News Edmonton)


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