I am completing my practicum at the Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services, under the Infectious Disease, Dental and Sexual Health Division (IDS), as a Health Promotion Research Analyst. As mentioned by my supervisor during my orientation, it is an interesting and exciting time to be working in this division. The Region of Waterloo, as well as many other regions in Canada, is experiencing an overwhelming and growing opioid overdose crisis. In reaction, the IDS division is focusing their efforts on enhancing its harm reduction efforts.
The major project I am completing during my practicum is the IDS Priority Population Assessment. The objective is to ensure outlined priority populations are reaching the services provided by IDS. Services provided through the division include sexual health clinics, dental clinics, tuberculosis clinics, and harm reduction services, among others. Priority populations have been identified by the division for each of its serves; however, the degree to which these populations are actually accessing the services remains unknown. it is my responsibility to complete the data analysis and internal reports for this project only as the data collection for the project was completed earlier this year. The internal reports will be used to inform changes in services provided by IDS to better reach its intended priority populations. Currently, I am completing the data analysis and report for sexual health programs.
Another project I will be working on is creating a more effective method to track harm reduction supplies distributed within the region. I will be working with external community partners who distribute harm reduction supplies to decide if the current system of tracking such supplies is adequate. If not, feasible solutions and alternative options to improve such data collection will be explored.