Newcomer Navigator Toolkit: Strengthening families for a vibrant future

Last modified by Grace Scorrar on 2018/02/28 19:36

As a result of the Syrian refugee initiative that entailed resettling 2,000 newcomers to Ottawa,  the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) was faced with supporting a high volume of refugee children with complex needs. To help manage the workload at the hospital and to better support refugee children and their families, CHEO put in place a navigator program to assist newcomer families navigate the complexity of the pediatric health-care system. The initiative has been very successful in supporting the unique health care needs of refugee families. This approach extends beyond interpretation services and coordinating care within a hospital setting; it also includes important partnerships with community agencies. 

Based on this experience, CHEO created a Newcomer Navigator  Toolkit  that was launched on the website — — to help Canadian organizations start their own newcomer navigator programs. To help police services, settlement organizations, boards of education, hospitals and other organizations consider, first, whether a newcomer navigation program will benefit newcomers in their institutions. And second, help these Canadian institutions create, maintain and assess a newcomer navigator program. The website thus, offers an opportunity for promotion of system spread and transfer of knowledge. This work was funded by the Government of Canada. 

LFP_1311.jpgChristine Kouri, Manager for Patient Experience & Acting Chief Privacy Officer

Christine provides leadership to advance CHEO’s strategic direction of exceptional patient/family experiences.  Included in her portfolio are Patient Relations, Multiculturalism/interpretation Services, French Language Services, Spiritual Support and Patient/Family Engagement Strategies.  CHEO is fortunate to have one of North America’s longest-standing family and youth advisory committees, Family Forum (1994) and Youth Forum (2000).  Christine has facilitated the growth of the patient/family advisor role at CHEO from an advisory committee to include a strong family faculty, hospital committee/taskforce members, hiring committee participation and cross-sectional linkages with the hospital, from the Board to the bedside.  Christine’s most recent efforts to expand patient/family engagement at CHEO include Bedside Nursing Hand-offs, Experience-Based Co-Design Methodology, Electronic Communication methods, a Patient/Family-needs based Redesign of Name Badges, E-mail-based Patient Satisfaction Surveying, and Integration of Patient/Family Engagement as Standard Work within our Lean Framework. Christine brings to her work over 20 years of leadership experience in healthcare and professional practice, and a passion and successful track record of building effective partnerships with patients/families with the healthcare system.   

Christine obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from McGill University and a Masters of Health Administration from the University of Ottawa. 


Suelana Taha, Newcomer Navigator for the Department of Patient Experience
Suelana has a keen interest in cultural competency and advocacy for newcomers. She in her current role provides support for patients and families who require integration in the Canadian health care system. 

Suelana has provided staff support throughout the hospital in educating physicians, nurses, clerks and other health care providers on how to facilitate adequate care through cultural competency. 

The newcomer navigator role first came in place when Suelana evaluated the need to support newcomers in the Emergency Department at The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. At that time, without proper interpretation services and tools for physicians and nurses to use for communicating with parents, newcomers could feel isolated while seeking care. 

Suelana is currently a student in Health Care Administration with Athabasca University and hopes to expand her role in providing universal cultural competency across healthcare organizations in Ontario 

Sahar Zohni.jpgSahar Zohni, MD, MHA
Sahar is the Program Manager for the Solutions For Patient Safety Program ( SPS), at the Quality & Safety Department, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario ( CHEO). Prior to that, she was the Project Manager of the Newcomer Navigator Toolkit Project, at the Patient Experience Department, CHEO. She has a Master Degree in Health Administration, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa.

Dr. Zohni has a Master and Doctor Degree in Pediatrics, Alexandria Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Egypt. She has also completed a Fellowship in Pediatric Nephrology, University of Nottingham, England.

She has more than 20 years clinical, teaching and research experience working as a Lecturer of Pediatrics at El-Shatby Pediatric University hospital, Egypt and as an Associate Pediatric Specialist, Nottingham City Hospital, England. Sahar has leadership and management experience managing two highly intense units; Pediatric Intensive care and Renal Unit. She has led many quality improvement projects along her years of practice.

She was very passionate to work on this project and create this Newcomer Navigator Toolkit to improve the quality of healthcare services provided to the refugee/newcomer population and aims to build on her experience in Pediatrics, quality of care improvement and patient experience to achieve the goal of spreading the Newcomer Navigator Program nation-wide.

Created by Grace Scorrar on 2017/12/04 21:48