#OneEastToronto — Meet Bernadette Lettner

#OneEastToronto shares the faces of East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), a group of more than 50 community, primary care, home care, hospital and social services organizations in East Toronto working together to improve the way local residents access and receive care. Meet Bernadette Lettner, registered nurse (RN) at South Riverdale Community Health Centre (SRCHC).

“Last March, my work shifted from a focus on Hepatitis C as part of the Toronto Community Hepatitis C Program to include another virus: COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve played a role in supporting the COVID-19 Case Management Program. I’ve also provided testing and outbreak support in shelters across East Toronto.

In addition, I’ve had the opportunity to play a leadership role in bringing low-barrier mobile vaccine clinics to some of the highest risk settings across East Toronto. This involves returning to places where outbreaks have occurred to offer vaccinations to residents. I’ve ridden my bike or motorcycle, driven a camper van and leaned on a host of drivers to bring COVID-19 vaccines to shelters, group homes, supervised injection sites and other congregate settings. We have focused on providing individuals with the opportunity to receive the vaccine in a way that is comfortable and convenient for them.

This work would not have been possible without close partnerships and teamwork across sectors. Our teams across ETHP are dedicated to ensuring our services meet priority populations where they are. We recognize how effective a vaccinated population is at controlling COVID-19 outbreaks and we’ve worked hard to put in place multiple avenues for people to get the vaccine as easily and quickly as possible.

Thanks to our collaborative work, our mobile vaccination team has now provided first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to more than 450 residents and staff in 32 high-risk settings. We’re constantly adjusting our work to figure out how to provide services to those who are not well served by other interventions. Respectful and trauma-informed care, built on trusting relationships, is central to high-quality service, and we are committed to continually improving vaccine offerings.”