After ignoring Eric Cassell’s lack of gender sensitivity in his language (we’ll let it slide as it was written in the 1970s), his statement actually resonates very well with the VIDC mission. Our holistic approach to healthcare understands this difference and, as such, addresses both the illness and the disease.
Initiatives like our DTES Pop-Up Clinics and VIDC Connect stem from this and seek to engage the community through awareness building and information dissemination. And we don’t stop there! We directly engage with our patients through our Hepatitis C (HCV) Support Group.
Every Friday from 10AM to 12PM we have breakfast, a discussion group, and lunch for patients who deal or have dealt with Hepatitis C (HCV). Our discussions are led by our HCV Nurse, Shawn, who prepares a presentation on anything and everything that’s related to dealing with Hep C — healthy living, coping with the illness, GMOs, new treatments, drug interactions, etc.
It’s a discussion group meant to inform, educate, and provide social support for patients dealing with the illness and disease brought about by the Hep C Virus. Sometimes attendees just sit and listen to Shawn, sometimes they have very lively discussions on how they feel about healthy food options, and other times they have very heartfelt discussions on what it feels like to live with Hep C. Whatever the case is, it’s always a space where people can feel safe, cared for, and listened to.
Following Eric Cassell’s quote, there is a huge difference between the illness and the disease caused by HCV. The medication can only deal with the disease, and that’s why we have the Hep C Support Group to help patients tackle the illness.
As Dr. Brian Conway MD, FRCPC would often remind us,
A person’s well-being is like a four-legged chair and physical health is just one of the legs. If we want to ensure someone is fully healthy, we need to address all four aspects of his/her person — and social health is one of them. [Paraphrased]