We value equity, diversity, caring and inclusion. We accept people without judgement and support them where they are at in their life.
Who We Are
Somerset West Community Health Centre (SWCHC) is a non-profit, community-governed organization. We were established in 1978 and are located in the heart of Chinatown.
What We Do
We support people and communities to enjoy the best possible health and well-being by providing health and social services.
We do this by removing barriers to accessing services for people who are vulnerable because of their age, income, ability, sexual orientation or gender identity, and language or culture.
We work alongside community members to make our neighbourhood and our city an even better place to live.
Who We Serve
Somerset West is deeply connected to the communities we serve. We pay particular attention to groups facing barriers, including people who are:
Experiencing mental health challenges
From ethnocultural, racialized or newcomer communities
Living with low-income
Homeless or precariously housed
Where We Serve
All of our programs are available to Somerset West residents. We also offer a number of services to residents across the City of Ottawa and the Champlain region.
Diversity makes our community stronger.
We are all connected and Everyone Matters.
Health is a state of physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being.
Health equity is key to inclusive, healthy communities.
Working in partnerships makes our impact more powerful.
Meet our Executive Director, Suzanne Obiorah.
Ms. Obiorah is a nationally-recognized leader in the fields of health, social services and municipal government. She served with distinction as SWCHC’s Director of Primary Care and Regional Programs between 2018 to 2021. Her 22 year career has also included, most recently, 2 years as Director, Gender and Race Equity, Inclusion, Indigenous Relations and Social Development at the City of Ottawa, 6 years in leadership roles at the Ottawa Hospital, as well as 7 years as a front-line practitioner. She holds an MBA from Saint Mary University and a Bachelor of Science from Toronto Metropolitan University.
Throughout her career, Ms. Obiorah has gained extensive experience in community engagement, strategy, and tactical execution, as well as built an outstanding reputation as a trusted community partner and an equity leader.
A strong advocate and known community convenor, Suzanne has established relationships with many community leaders and organizations. She is driven to lead and model equity work, advancing social development initiatives by centering approaches that are community informed and community led.
As the past Director of Primary Care and Regional Programs of SWCHC, she worked to ensure health programs and services were accessible, culturally competent, and reflective of the communities it's meant to serve, while also leading discussions of health system reform to advance health equity at regional and provincial tables.
The success of SWCHC has been due in large part to strong community partnerships, dedicated and innovative staff, and an unwavering commitment to anti-racist and anti-oppressive approaches, diversity, equity and inclusion. It is in this light that we are thrilled to welcome Suzanne Obiorah to our organization and look forward to her contributions in advancing the strategic priorities of SWCHC’s recently updated strategic plan.
PHOTO BY JULIE OLIVER /Postmedia
Board of Directors
Our Service Delivery Philosophy
We provide accessible, high-quality health and social services, paying particular attention to those facing systemic barriers to access because of their age, income, ability, sexual orientation or gender identity, and language or culture.
Our model of health combines the provision of low-barrier primary health care and mental health and addictions services with a wide range of ethno-specific programs and other health promotion and community development programs, with the goal of improving the social determinants of health for our clients and our community. As an organization, we are committed to providing care that is informed by an anti-racism, anti-oppression and trauma-based lens.
Somerset West Community Health Centre recognizes the rights of individuals to participate in decisions that promote their optimal well-being in a manner that is equitable and free of prejudice and discrimination. Mutual respect, honesty and trust are critical in our dealings with clients. We are committed to creating culturally safe and inclusive environments, where providers and clients work together to provide services that respect the diversity of cultures, values, beliefs, and socio-economic circumstances of our clients.
Our service philosophy is guided by our beliefs. We believe:
Health equity is key to inclusive, healthy communities
Diversity makes our community stronger
We are all connected and Everyone Matters
Health is a state of physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being
Working in partnerships makes our impact more powerful
We accept people without judgement and support them where they are at in their life, taking into consideration the whole context of their family, social support and community belonging
In developing individualized services that respect the unique personal history, strengths, culture, values, beliefs, needs, preferences and goals of the client
That the client should be actively involved in decisions that affect their health care and be provided with information to make choices that will best meet their needs, including the right to refuse or discontinue that service