Supporting CIUSSS de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal in its recovery and resilience plan

As it seeks to foster the development of local projects that support the social determinants of health, the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services social (CIUSSS) de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal (CEMTL) is emphasizing co-creation and the capacities of citizen action to strengthen community resilience and “do better together.”

Photo credit: CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal

Responding to targeted needs and challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire population of Montreal, and continues to exacerbate its preexisting vulnerabilities. To meet its mission to care for the health and well-being of residents of Montreal’s east end, CEMTL has developed a recovery and resilience plan. It strengthens the population’s capacity to act in the most vulnerable sectors by creating mobilized and active citizen networks and equipping residents to address post-pandemic challenges.

To identify high-priority needs, CEMTL drew on population surveys, scientific literature, epidemiological data, and consultations with various strategic partners. Analysis of this information enabled the organization to formulate proposals for initiatives, which it presented on October 26, 2023, during a day of exchanges on the theme of “Doing Better Together.”

Jointly organized by CEMTL—represented by more than sixty administrators from every core area—and some one hundred community partners from Montreal’s east end, this unifying event had two goals: to create new links between CEMTL’s internal and external collaborators; and to produce a draft of a recovery and resilience plan. But what is the best way to consult a community to ensure that a public institution’s planned initiative effectively addresses on-the-ground realities?

A practical and effective formula to promote resilience

The CEMTL commissioned the Maison de l’innovation sociale (MIS) to design and host this mobilization day as part of its ongoing preliminary consultation with the nine neighbourhood roundtables on its territory.

More specifically, the CEMTL team sought effective solutions to:

  1. compile feedback from institutional partners;
  2. create links between partners and CEMTL administrators;
  3. and encourage opportunities for collaboration or innovation with the goal of improving the network’s resilience.

In this way, our strategic support team developed tools to help facilitate rich discussions on the challenges identified with respect to the proposed initiatives and the measures to be taken within both the community and CEMTL to promote resilience.

An approach based on concepts of resilience

In response to expressed needs, CEMTL’s plan initially focused on community recovery. But for this project, MIS defined resilience as a system’s ability to both recover from and anticipate disruptions.

With this in mind, the MIS team has broadened the conversation about prevention and anticipation of future events to include the co-creating of a framework for community resilience. Characterized by the capacity to anticipate and limit the impact of risks, as well as to recover from disruptions, community resilience can prevent or mitigate the effects of a crisis.

“The support we received from the Maison de l’innovation sociale enabled us to better determine the major cross-cutting actions we’ll be working on over the next few years. This collaboration led our team to explore more deeply several concepts linked to community resilience and partnership. In particular, we have identified fundamental principles to implement in our actions, our posture, and the co-creation of partnerships with our community. Collaborating with MIS requires great openness and adaptability; once you’ve decided to venture down the path of social innovation, you have to be prepared to question yourself a little and let yourself be influenced by new and different ideas! Ultimately, it was enriching, and it permitted us—as we’d hoped—to think differently for the benefit, and health, of the population of Montreal’s East Island!”

Julie Provencher, Director, Youth Program and Public Health Activities,
CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal

Going forward, CEMTL is equipped to strengthen this approach from a public-health perspective by consolidating its collaboration with community partners in a participatory-governance model, all with the goal of refining and adjusting the commitments established in the recovery and resilience plan.

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