"The Story of How I Became a Child Life Volunteer" – by K. Elina

K. Elina is currently a Kids' Health Links Foundation Ambassador and is a former Upopolis user. She took it upon herself to write this blog post on her experience with the peer-support platform, her passion for the profession of Child Life, and her life as a difference-maker. Thank you K. Elina for your dedication to Upopolis over the years and your commitment to making the world a better place. You are an inspiration!

 

"Having Mitochondrial Complex One and Four Disease means I am immunocompromised, and has caused neutropenia. This limits me from participating in community-based settings including doing things that interest me, like volunteering for hospitals. But as a teen, I was introduced to a virtual program called Upopolis. I first became a user, and eventually an online Mentor to other youth in various leadership roles on platform.
Then when I was 19, I gathered research in resources for Child Life Specialists (a profession that works with children, youth and families in hospitals) and participated in speaking events answering questions about my experience being a pediatric patient. I developed my own personal blog and over time, through learning from the Khan Academy's Entrepreneur courses and becoming a Khan Academy Support Advocate Volunteer, I learned how Entrepreneurship can impact the world.
While I will never be a Child Life Specialist, I do have the title of Child Life Volunteer. As an Artist, and with the many skill sets I’ve learned over time, I plan to deliver my skills for free to all Child Life Specialists. I know this profession makes a difference, and for any youth out there, no matter what challenges you face, there are many ways you can help make a difference.
After all, technology allowed me to accomplish anything. Everyone in my life shaped me, mentored me and cared for me as I am today, and because of this, I withstand the odds that were stack against me and push ahead. My most happiest part of all is my extreme gratitude to carry the title and term "Child Life Volunteer”.  A profession that works hard to make sure pediatric patients receive more then medicine but also receive the gift of being able to be Child or Teen during challenging times. And, maybe one day, becoming a Child Life Volunteer virtually like I did.
Either way, I take the title "Child Lifeclose to my heart, having volunteered for Upopolis and now the charity that founded the program, Kids’ Health Link Health Foundation. Without the support of Child Life professionals, who administer and manage Upopolis, I would not have made it this far. Imagine for a moment if a pediatric patients like me, who were isolated, didn't have Upopolis? What would have I become? 
Your funding dollars help many youth everyday on Upopolis. Your support helps users gain confidence, leadership and feel connected, like I did, because of the program. Please considering donating to Kids’ Health Links Foundation and supporting Upopolis so other youth can benefit too, get the peer-support available and the access youth-friendly information that Upopolis has to offer.
In Honour and Memory of my Papa who encouraged and supported me in my volunteer roles; who was the greatest supporter of what Upopolis did for me. Every donation made helps another pediatric patient benefit like I did."
- K. Elina

Sheridan Nurseries Becomes Presenting Sponsor of Upedia.ca, the Premiere Online Resource for the Child Life Profession

Sheridan Nurseries Becomes Presenting Sponsor of Upedia.ca, the Premiere Online Resource for the Child Life Profession

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Toronto, Ontario… In a new and exciting partnership, Sheridan Nurseries, Canada’s largest garden centre retailer and grower, is now Presenting Sponsor of Upedia.ca (Upedia)– an international online community and peer-reviewed psychosocial resource library developed for child life specialists to share knowledge and practices that best support and enhance a child and their family’s ability to cope with health care experiences.

Developed by Kids’ Health Links Foundation (KHLF) specifically for child life specialists and those affiliated with child life, Upedia gives professionals the opportunity to spend less time developing and researching effective programs, resources and promising interventions, and more time directly serving the children, youth and families they work with. This unique platform breaks down resource silos to build a virtual community of professionals, supporting them in their commitment to the psychosocial development of children, and aiding them in their work to help children and their families cope with the challenges of hospitalization and illness.

Upedia’s registered members include child life specialists and individuals from related professions from over 200 organizations throughout North America and globally. Upedia’s library of resources began with the submission of content contributions from some of Canada’s leading pediatric institutions, including The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, IWK Health Centre in Halifax, BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. These pioneering content contributors had a desire to engage in knowledge-exchange and saw Upedia’s vision of removing the barriers to information-sharing within the child life community in order to better serve children and families. Upedia prides itself on its relevancy and ensuring the most current and validated resources, research, clinical tools and interventions are available to help support it’s users and advance the practice of child life.

Karl. E. Stensson, CEO & President at Sheridan Nurseries said, “As one of the few family-owned businesses still operating in Canada after 100+ years, we believe one of the keys to our success has been our belief in the importance of supporting those in our community and more specifically, children. The ability to do so is a result of the passion, commitment and dedication by our entire team to achieve our charitable goals in all areas of our business.” Stensson added, “Kids Health Links Foundation is a child-focused charitable organization with a very low administration fee which ensures the maximum amount of our donation dollars goes directly to supporting the children. We are very proud to support Upedia, an important and valuable online resource for child care professionals, and an extension of the KHLF initiatives.”

“It’s because of the heart and vision of companies like Sheridan Nurseries that programs like Upedia have a chance to fulfill their potential and make their greatest impact,” said Kids’ Health Links Foundation Chairman and Co-founder, Basile Papaevangelou. “As a major supporter of KHLF over the last five years, Sheridan’s presenting sponsorship of Upedia solidifies our important partnership and demonstrates the company’s deep rooted commitment to supporting the well-being of children in the communities in which they serve.”

Sheridan Nurseries’ partnership will help expand the Upedia Webinar Series, which was created in 2012 in response to an expressed need by child life specialists for more accessible and practice-specific professional development opportunities. In the recent past, Upedia webinars have included critical topics such as, “Pediatric Palliative Care”, “Supporting Children with Autism in a Health Care Setting”, and “Child Development and Chronic Illness.” Sheridan Nurseries’ sponsorship dollars will also help Upedia continue to grow its online collection of over 1600 practical tools, promising interventions and valuable resources developed by child life specialists in hospitals and other health care organizations across Canada.

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About Upedia
Upedia is a national knowledge-exchange initiative and dynamic online community for child life specialists and those affiliated with the child life profession. With ongoing content contributions from pediatric care centres across Canada, child life professionals can access resources, connect and share practical tools, knowledge, and participate in online training to help them best support and enhance a child’s ability to cope with health care experiences. It is an initiative launched and supported by Kids' Health Links Foundation (KHLF). For more information, visit www.upedia.ca.

About Kids’ Health Links Foundation
Kids’ Health Links Foundation was founded by Basile Papaevangelou and his daughter Christina to foster initiatives focused on alleviating the stress, isolation and loneliness for kids and teens undergoing medical care so that they might be better able to overcome traumatic medical experiences. For more information about Kids’ Health Links Foundation please visit www.kidshealthlinks.org.

About Sheridan Nurseries
Sheridan Nurseries has been a grower and purveyor of quality plant material for the landscape industry and gardening public since 1913. With a proud heritage and legacy for innovation, Sheridan Nurseries has grown to be one of Canada’s largest growers of hardy nursery plants and has eight Garden Centres in the Greater Toronto Area. Growing over 1200 cultivars of perennials and hardy nursery stock on 350 hectares in Halton Hills, Ontario, Sheridan Nurseries ships 1.8 million plants annually to markets across North Eastern North America. For more information, visit www.sheridannurseries.com.

 

For more information, please contact:

Upedia, Jessica Miller-Poesch, 780-680-9418, jessica@kidshealthlinks.org

Kids’ Health Links Foundation, Basile Papaevangelou, 647-880-3037, basile@kidshealthlinks.org

Sheridan Nurseries, Valerie Stensson, 416-798-7970, vstensson@sheridannurseries.com 

Celebrating 10 Years of Upopolis with 10 Amazing Months of Content for 10 Diagnosis!

Celebrating 10 Years of Upopolis with 10 Amazing Months of Content for 10 Diagnoses!

Who says birthday celebrations only last one day?!

To celebrate ten years of Upopolis, the programming team will be working with partners, potential partners and youth users to bring "Upoppers" ten months of focused and informative content to the medical resource library within the site - Uknow. This "U10" campaign will also work to raise awareness about Upopolis in hospitals across Canada and throughout various national healthcare communities.

Each of the ten months will focus on one of ten different patient populations/ diagnosis:

  • January - Auto Immune
  • February - Cardiology
  • March - Juvenile Arthritis/ Ortho
  • April - IBS &Crohn’s
  • May - Cystic Fibrosis
  • June - Rare Diseases
  • July / August - Camps
  • September - Childhood Cancer
  • October - Epilepsy
  • November - Diabetes
  • December - Amputee

Here is an example of U10 Programming happening monthly on Upopolis:

  • Weekly posts and content will be added to the site, like relevant info and facts related to the month's featured diagnosis.                                 
  • Upal Features, each month one or two Upals (youth in Upopolis' Leadership Program) will be interviewed and asked to share their stories. 
  • 1-2 users will be asked to lead the Crew Space (medical resource space) for the diagnosis of the month.  
  • Resource Development, youth and staff will be engaged from all Upopolis partner organizations to help with planning and creation of content and resources for the month.
  • New info and links will be added to the Crew Space for the diagnosis the month.
  • Existing relevant content on the site will be highlighted.

 

 

 

KHLF 2017 Year-in-Review

Here is just some of what we achieved in 2017!

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  • We reached 27 hospitals and organizations in Canada offering Upopolis to their youth. The new hub and spoke model we developed allows community hospitals, organizations and camps to partner with us too.
  • 24 crew spaces are available for youth to join on Upopolis. What is a crew space? These are diagnosis specific spaces, where youth can meet others with their diagnosis and find information and links especially for them.
  • The Upopolis team expanded. Now we have four certified child life specialists with over 50 combined years’ experience- that is an amazing team for our partner hospitals and their youth to have access to.
  • Upopolis underwent a visual refresh. Yes, the platform now has a new look with five new themes for users to select. The new themes and features were an action item identified by the youth.
  • Upopolis youth established their own Youth Advisory Council. Having youth from across the country (and maybe further) working on the same projects- so much potential and expertise!!!!
  • We had more youth then ever join the Upopolis Volunteer & Leadership Program. Currently, we have 14 users across the country active on Upopolis as Upals and Umentors. Not only are they gaining volunteer hours, but their leadership and mentor skills are growing too!
  • The team hosted an exhibit at the Association of Child Life Professionals Annual Meeting. The team went out to meet with child life professionals outside of Canada to gage their interest in offering Upopolis to their patients. The team also hosted exhibits at the Florida Association of Child Life Professionals Conference and the Paediatric Diabetes Network Professional Development in Toronto, Ontario.
  • Each month the team sends 600+ users and health care professional a Upopolis programming newsletter, called Unews. This newsletter helps to keep front line staff at the hospital up to date on what’s happening on Upopolis, perfect for answering youth’s questions or building their knowledge for when inviting youth to create a Upopolis account. It’s a perfect way to help with youth engagement too!
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  • The Upedia Webinar Series brought in experts in pediatric palliative care, legacy building, mindfulness, research on the importance of online support groups and child advocacy.
  • Webinar attendance averaged 200 plus per webinar with attendees from all over the world.
  • A new certificate program for webinar participants was implemented that streamlines the certificate process for not only the users but Upedia as well.
  • Upedia hosted booth at the Association for Child Life Professionals (ACLP) conference in Las Vegas. The response was overwhelmingly positive. As a result we were featured as an amazing resource by the ACLP blog, and in their newsletter that reaches over 5000 Child Life Specialists!
  • Upedia reached over 1000 registered users and growing more every day!
  • Twitter followers increased by 180%!
  • We sent out a quarterly newsletter and monthly update to highlight new resources and happenings with Upedia to over 1200 recipients.
  • Upedia increased its database of resources by adding over 100 clinical resources and tools from various psychosocial domains. We also added a discussion board to highlight practical tools that Child Life Specialists can you use daily.

 

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  • We partnered with Raymond James as Umind's Presenting Sponsor
  • Further developed our partnership with Mohawk College; increased our student/faculty/alumni registration base, engaged professors in delivering webinars, and presented to staff and faculty in a number of programs within Community Services Department
  • Significantly grew the Umind membership base - with an increase of 54% over 2016
  • Significantly grew the Umind twitter follower base – with an increase of 63% over 2016
  • Completed 5 Umind webinars and increased overall attendance (up 49%) and satisfaction of attendees over 2016
  • Focused on ‘hot topic’ areas when building the online resource library (We added 301 new resources in 2017!)
  • Held initial conversations with the Dean of Social Services at Conestoga College to discuss how Umind can be used by the college which will continue in 2018

Umind Goals for 2018:

  • Increase membership by 80%
  • Continue to build our important partnership with Mohawk College; presenting to all Community Services faculty, and engaging at a student level to increase awareness of the platform and the number of those using and benefitting from Umind.
  • Continue to expand the Umind resource library – based on topics of interest brought forth by registered members and trends in the child and youth mental health realm

 

Raymond James Partners with Umind.ca To Help Deliver Canada’s Premiere Online Resource for Child & Youth Mental Health Care Professionals

Raymond James Partners with Umind.ca To Help Deliver Canada’s Premiere Online Resource for Child & Youth Mental Health Care Professionals

Toronto, Ontario… In a new and exciting partnership, investment dealer Raymond James Ltd., is now Presenting Sponsor of Umind.ca (Umind)– an international online community dedicated to helping child and youth mental health professionals, educators and student learners expand their expertise, collaborate and grow in their profession.  Umind accomplishes this through its vast library of resources, practical tools and online training opportunities for professionals in the mental health space. Developed by Kids’ Health Links Foundation (KHLF), in collaboration with Umind’s clinical partner Lutherwood, and supported by its academic partner Mohawk College, this unique platform breaks down resource silos to build a virtual community globally connected in their commitment to improve the lives of children and youth and their families living with mental health issues. Umind’s registered members include frontline and administrative child and youth mental health staff, health care professionals, educators, post-secondary students and other professionals working with children and families, representing over 300 organizations within Canada and internationally.

Raymond James’ partnership will help expand the Umind Webinar Series, which was created in 2014 in response to an expressed need by mental health professionals for more accessible and practice-specific professional development opportunities. In 2018, Umind webinars will include such critical topics as, ‘How to Support Children and Youth Questioning Their Gender Identity’, ‘Legalization of Marijuana and the Impact on the Mental Health System’, and ‘Grief and Trauma in Mental Health’. Raymond James’ sponsorship dollars will also help Umind continue to grow its online collection of over 950 practical tools, promising interventions and valuable resources developed by children’s mental health treatment centres across Canada.

“We are very excited about our partnership with Umind,” says Peter Kahnert, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications and Marketing, “We look forward to working with the Umind team to grow this important resource to support children and youth living with mental illness and those professionals reaching out to help make a difference in the lives of many.”

According to the World Health Organization, 20 percent of the world’s children and youth have mental health disorders or issues.  This partnership comes at a time when the need for child and youth mental health information and resources has never been greater.

Kids’ Health Links Foundation Chairman and Co-founder, Basile Papaevangelou says, “It’s because of the heart and vision of companies like Raymond James that programs like Umind have a chance to fulfill their potential and make their greatest impact. Bridging business and social enterprise, this partnership is an example of what’s possible when companies step-up to the plate and partner with social services to help support the well-being of the communities in which they serve.”

 

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About Umind
Umind is a dynamic online community where mental health professionals access information, connect and share practical tools, knowledge, and training to help improve the lives of children and youth and their families living with mental health issues. It is an initiative launched and supported by Kids' Health Links Foundation (KHLF) and its clinical partner, Lutherwood. For more information, visit www.umind.ca.

About Lutherwood
For nearly 50 years, children, youth and their families have trusted Lutherwood’s mental health services to support them as they cope with serious behavioural, emotional and psychological challenges. The agency provides residential treatment and assessment, community and school-based support, counsels families, and operates a shelter for youth at risk of being homeless. For more information, please visit www.lutherwood.ca.

About Kids’ Health Links Foundation
Kids’ Health Links Foundation was founded by Basile Papaevangelou and his daughter Christina to foster initiatives focused on alleviating the stress, isolation and loneliness for kids and teens undergoing medical care so that they might be better able to overcome traumatic medical experiences. For more information about Kids’ Health Links Foundation please visit www.kidshealthlinks.org.

About Raymond James
Raymond James Financial, Inc. (NYSE: RJF) is a leading diversified financial services company providing wealth management for individual investors and families, capital markets, asset management, banking and other services to individuals, corporations and municipalities. The company has approximately 7,300 financial advisors in 3,000 locations throughout Canada, the United States and overseas. Total client assets under administration are US$693 billion. Public since 1983, the firm is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol RJF. Additional information is available at www.raymondjames.ca.

 

For more information, please contact:

Umind
Marni Harold
info@umind.ca                 
519-884-1666, ext. 1206

Kids' Health Links Foundation
Basile Papaevangelou
basile@kidshealthlinks.org
647-880-3037

F. Peter Kahnert
Raymond James Ltd.
peter.kahnert@raymondjames.ca
416-777-7052

Upopolis Launches at Shriners Hospitals for Children - Canada

Shriners Hospitals for Children - Canada Launches new Social Media Platform for Young Patients

Upopolis, powered by TELUS, helps kids in hospital find medical information and stay safely connected to family, friends and other patients.

Montreal, QC – Today, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada pediatric patients join the Upopolis network, an innovative social media platform that helps young patients safely and securely access youth-friendly medical content, and stay connected with other patients as well as their families and friends while undergoing care.

Founded and created by Kids’ Health Links Foundation (KHLF) and powered by TELUS Health, Upopolis.com is Canada’s only private, secure and trusted online social network designed for kids and teens receiving medical care in hospitals and clinics. Upopolis differs from typical social networks by delivering therapeutic benefits for the youth who use it. These benefits include being able to access medical content written in youth-friendly language so patients can better understand their diagnosis and treatment plan; and enabling connections with other patients who share similar diagnoses through public and private discussion groups, which can lead to new friendships, shared experiences and new interests that form a broader support network for the patient.

“Shriners Hospitals offer, family-centered supportive care to children and families,” says Trudy Wong, Social Worker, “We aim to make it feel as much like home as possible for our young patients and adding a tool like Upopolis is another way we can help reduce the anxiety of a hospital stay and make it as normal and as positive an experience as possible. We wish to empower them to connect with other patients here in Montreal or anywhere across Canada, and learn more about their illness in a way they can easily understand.”

In addition to remaining securely and privately connected with networks outside of the hospital or treatment centre while undergoing care, Upopolis also provides patients with familiar features of social networking such as personal profiles, newsfeed, instant chat, photo uploading and creating spaces based on common interests and/or diagnoses.

“Today, more than 2,500 youth in children’s hospitals across Canada have been able to access Upopolis. This is made possible by the overwhelming support of TELUS as our technology partner, as well as our many individual and corporate supporters,” said Basile Papaevangelou, chairman and founder of Kids’ Health Links Foundation. “Having Shriners Hospitals for Children - Canada join our Upopolis family brings us one step closer to our goal of making Upopolis available across the country in every medical treatment facility that serves children and youth. We are excited for the patients to benefit from what the platform offers, and for them to take advantage of the opportunities for connection, collaboration and leadership that Upopolis brings to their hospital experience."

KHLF and TELUS Health launched the first Upopolis program in 2007 at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton. Since then it has expanded to 27 additional hospitals and health organizations across Canada. The Upopolis team and TELUS Health also work together to adapt the program to meet the specific needs of each facility, whether adding French language capabilities or information specific to mental health.

“For youth undergoing medical treatment, research shows us that the ability for them to stay connected with their support network, both inside and outside of the hospital, is a significant part of the healing process,” said Paul Lepage, President, TELUS Health. “Through Upopolis and our extensive work using innovative technology to drive better health outcomes for Canadians, we are privileged to help youth stay connected to friends, family and others facing similar health challenges, as well as learn more about their health through access to online medical information in a safe and secure environment.”

About Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada

Established in Montreal in 1925, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada is the only Canadian establishment within the network of 22 Shriners hospitals. This bilingual, short-term, acute care hospital provides ultra-specialized orthopaedic care to children from coast to coast in Canada, the U.S. and around the world. The mission of the hospital is to promote health and provide treatment and rehabilitation to infants, children and young adults with orthopaedic and neuromuscular problems such as scoliosis, osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease), club feet, hip dysplasia, leg length discrepancies and cerebral palsy.

The hospital is committed to excellence and innovation in clinical practice, research and education and to ensuring patients and their families are treated in a caring, family-friendly environment. Affiliated with McGill University, the hospital provides clinical experience and teaching for residents and allied professionals within its outstanding new facility on the Glen site. The hospital is present in communities across Canada, thanks to telemedicine, outreach clinics and satellite clinics. Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada has been helping kids reach their full potential for 90 years and counting.

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About TELUS Health

TELUS Health is a leader in telehomecare, electronic medical and health records, consumer health, benefits management and pharmacy management. TELUS Health solutions give health authorities, providers, physicians, patients and consumers the power to turn information into better health outcomes. For more information about TELUS Health, please visit telushealth.com.

About the Kids’ Health Links Foundation
The Kids’ Health Links Foundation was founded by Basile Papaevangelou and his daughter Christina to foster initiatives focused on alleviating the stress, isolation and loneliness for kids and teens undergoing medical care so that they might be better able to overcome traumatic medical experiences. These initiatives include: Upopolis -- targeting healthy connections for pediatric patients; Upedia -- providing resources supporting child life specialists; and UMIND -- connecting professionals dedicated to child and youth mental health. For more information about the Kids’ Health Links Foundation please visit: kidshealthlinks.org.

 

For more information, please contact:

Krista Naugler
Kids’ Health Links Foundation
902-885-5002
krista@kidshealthlinks.org

Marie-Christine Houle
TELUS Social and Media Relations
514-702-0369
marie.houle@telus.com

Laure Moureaux
Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada
514-282-7222
lmoureaux@shrinenet.org

Upopolis Launches at Cape Breton Regional Hospital

Cape Breton Regional Hospital Brings a New Social Media Platform to Young Patients

Upopolis helps kids in hospital find medical information and stay safely connected to friends and other patients

Cape Breton, N.S. – Today, Cape Breton Regional Hospital paediatric patients join the Upopolis network, an innovative social media platform that helps young patients safely and securely access youth-friendly medical content, and stay connected with other patients as well as their families and friends while undergoing care.

Founded and created by Kids’ Health Links Foundation (KHLF) and powered by TELUS Health, Upopolis.com is Canada’s only private, secure and trusted online social network designed for kids and teens receiving medical care in hospitals and clinics. Upopolis differs from typical social networks by delivering therapeutic benefits for the youth who use it. These benefits include being able to access medical content written in youth-friendly language so patients can better understand their diagnosis and treatment plan; and enabling connections with other patients who share similar diagnoses through public and private discussion groups, which can lead to new friendships, shared experiences and new interests that form a broader support network for the patient.

“Our unit functions on family centered care,” says Tracy Warren-Salt, Child Life Specialist, Pediatrics Unit, Cape Breton Regional Hospital. “We try to make the unit feel as much like home as possible.  Adding Upopolis is another way we can help reduce the anxiety of a hospital stay and make it as normal and positive an experience as possible for our patients and their families.”

In addition to remaining securely and privately connected with networks outside of the hospital or treatment centre while undergoing care, Upopolis also provides patients with familiar features of social networking such as personal profiles, newsfeed, instant chat, photo uploading and creating spaces based on common interests and/or diagnoses.

“Today, over 2,500 youth in children’s hospitals across Canada have been able to access Upopolis. This is made possible by the overwhelming support of TELUS as our technology partner, as well as our many individual and corporate supporters,” said Basile Papaevangelou, chairman and founder of Kids’ Health Links Foundation. “Having Cape Breton Regional Hospital join our Upopolis family brings us one step closer to our goal of making Upopolis available across the country in every medical treatment facility that serves children and youth. We are excited for the patients to benefit from what the platform offers, and for them to take advantage of the opportunities for connection, collaboration and leadership that Upopolis brings to their hospital experience.”

KHLF and TELUS Health launched the first Upopolis program in 2007 at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton. Since then it has expanded to 24 additional hospitals and health organizations across Canada. The Upopolis team and TELUS Health also work together to adapt the program to meet the specific needs of each facility, whether adding French language capabilities or information specific to mental health.

“For youth undergoing medical treatment, research shows us that the ability for them to stay connected with their support network, both inside and outside of the hospital, is a significant part of the healing process,” said Paul Lepage, President, TELUS Health. “Through Upopolis and our extensive work using innovative technology to drive better health outcomes for Canadians, we are privileged to help youth stay connected to friends, family and others facing similar health challenges, as well as learn more about their health through access to online medical information in a safe and secure environment.”

About Cape Breton Regional

Cape Breton Regional Hospital, located in Sydney, Nova Scotia, is the regional referral and trauma centre for Cape Breton Island. The hospital is home to the Cape Breton Cancer Centre, the An Cala Palliative Care unit, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and renal dialysis unit. It offers a variety of general and specialized services including medicine, surgery, obstetrics, paediatrics, diagnostic imaging, cardiology, pulmonary, neurology and clinical support services.

About TELUS Health
TELUS Health is a leader in telehomecare, electronic medical and health records, consumer health, benefits management and pharmacy management. TELUS Health solutions give health authorities, providers, physicians, patients and consumers the power to turn information into better health outcomes. For more information about TELUS Health, please visit telushealth.com.

About the Kids’ Health Links Foundation

The Kids’ Health Links Foundation was founded by Basile Papaevangelou and his daughter Christina to foster initiatives focused on alleviating the stress, isolation and loneliness for kids and teens undergoing medical care so that they might be better able to overcome traumatic medical experiences. These initiatives include: Upopolis — targeting healthy connections for paediatric patients; Upedia — providing resources supporting child life specialists; and UMIND — connecting professionals dedicated to child and youth mental health. For more information about the Kids’ Health Links Foundation please visit: kidshealthlinks.org.

 

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For more information, please contact:

Krista Naugler
Kids’ Health Links Foundation
902-885-5002
krista@kidshealthlinks.org

Lynn Gilbert
Cape Breton Regional
902-567-7760
lynn.gilbert@nshealth.ca

Jill Yetman
TELUS Media Relations
416-992-2639
jill.yetman@telus.com

A New Social Media Platform for Victoria General Hospital’s Pediatric Patients

A New Social Media Platform for Victoria General Hospital’s Pediatric Patients

Helping kids in hospital find information, connections and support through Upopolis

Victoria, B.C. – Victoria General Hospital has become the first hospital on Vancouver Island to join Upopolis; an innovative social support platform and networking tool giving young patients safe and secure access to kid-friendly medical content. Plus patients will find Upopolis a vital link to their families, friends and schools while in hospital.

“We are pleased to support initiatives that help young patients feel empowered while in our care,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “Not only is Upopolis an age-appropriate learning tool that brings children who face similar challenges together on their health-care journeys; it also helps kids be kids through familiar social media channels.”

Founded and created by Kids’ Health Links Foundation (KHLF) and powered by TELUS Health, Upopolis.com is Canada’s only private, secure and trusted online social network designed for kids and teens receiving medical care in hospitals and clinics.

“Through the overwhelming support of TELUS as our technology partner, as well as our many individual and corporate supporters, today more than 2,000 youth across Canada have been able to take advantage of Upopolis,” said Basile Papaevangelou, chairman and founder of Kids’ Health Links Foundation. “Having Victoria General Hospital join our Upopolis family puts us one step closer to our goal of making Upopolis available across the country in every medical treatment facility that serves children and teens, and we are forging ahead towards making that a reality.”

Upopolis differs from typical social networks by delivering therapeutic benefits for the youth who use it. These benefits include being able to access medical content written in kid-friendly language so patients can better understand their diagnosis and treatment plan; and enabling connections with other patients who share similar diagnoses through public and private discussion groups, which can lead to new friendships, shared experiences and new interests that form a broader support network for the patient. 

“The Victoria General Hospital serves a diverse patient population from across Vancouver Island,” said Dr. Brendan Carr, President and CEO of Island Health. “Upopolis can provide online social support for our patients and help them connect with others in a safe way, stay connected to their communities, and relate to other children and youth on a similar health care journey.”

In addition to remaining secure and privately connected with networks outside of the hospital or treatment centre while undergoing care, Upopolis also provides patients with familiar features of social networking such as personal profiles, a newsfeed, instant chat, photo uploading and creating spaces based on common interests and/or diagnoses.

“For youth undergoing medical treatment, research shows us that the ability for them to stay connected with their support network, both inside and outside of the hospital, is a significant part of the healing process,” said Paul Lepage, President, TELUS Health. “Through Upopolis and our extensive work using innovative technology to drive better health outcomes for Canadians, we are privileged to help youth to stay connected to friends, family and others facing similar health challenges, as well as learn more about their health through access to online information in a safe and secure environment.”

KHLF and TELUS Health launched the first Upopolis program in 2007 at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. Since then it has expanded to 23 hospitals and health organizations across Canada. The Upopolis team and TELUS Health also work together to adapt the program to meet the specific needs of each facility, whether adding French language capabilities or information specific to mental health.

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About Island Health

Island Health, one of six health jurisdictions in British Columbia, provides health care and support services to more than 765,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River.


With more than 19,000 staff, 1,900 physician partners, 6,000 volunteers, and the dedicated support of foundations and auxiliaries, Island Health delivers a broad range of health services, including: public health services, primary health care, home and community care, mental health and addictions services, acute care in hospitals, and much more across a huge, geographically diverse region.

 

About TELUS Health
TELUS Health is a leader in telehomecare, electronic medical and health records, consumer health, benefits management and pharmacy management. TELUS Health solutions give health authorities, providers, physicians, patients and consumers the power to turn information into better health outcomes. For more information about TELUS Health, please visit telushealth.com.

 

About the Kids’ Health Links Foundation

The Kids’ Health Links Foundation was founded by Basile Papaevangelou and his daughter Christina to foster initiatives focused on alleviating the stress, isolation and loneliness for kids and teens undergoing medical care so that they might be better able to overcome traumatic medical experiences. These initiatives include: Upopolis -- targeting healthy connections for paediatric patients; Upedia -- providing resources supporting child life specialists; and UMIND -- connecting professionals dedicated to child and youth mental health. For more information about the Kids’ Health Links Foundation please visit: kidshealthlinks.org.

 

For more information, please contact:

Krista Naugler
Kids’ Health Links Foundation
902.885.5002
krista@kidshealthlinks.org

Chris Shewchuk
Island Health Communications
250.370.8377
christopher.shewchuk@viha.ca

Jill Yetman
TELUS Media Relations
416.992.2639
jill.yetman@telus.com

 

KHLF 2016 Year-in-Review

As we look back on an exciting year and reflect on our many successes, we celebrate the incredible accomplishments that make 2016 our best year ever! 

Upopolis

Key accomplishments in 2016:

  • Welcomed 6 new hospital partners, and 5 new community partners to the Upopolis community; doubling the number of total sites benefitting from the program.
  • Expanded our youth empowerment and volunteer opportunities with a new Umentor Training Program, a Uambassador role, and a series of contests that engage youth in creative and empowering ways.
  • In collaboration with Upopolis users, developed a video entitled, Ucope – showcasing youth across Canada sharing their positive coping strategies with other youth.
  • Established the Upopolis Grief and Bereavement “island”. This is a new application of the program and a separate section of Upopolis that was launched specifically for youth who have experienced the loss of a loved one.
  • Hosted a 2-day conference for key representatives from Upopolis sites. Delegates came from organizations across Canada. Important topics around youth empowerment and how to enrich site content and programming for youth were discussed.
  • Continued the development of engaging digital medical content for youth like this video, IWK Lab Mini Series, Part 1: Getting Results. Creating and curating enriched content for our Uknow library of medical related videos and resources.

Goals for 2017:

  • Take our first steps outside Canada. We are currently in discussions that would take Upopolis international with launches at children's hospitals in the United States and the UK within the year.
  • Double the Upopolis Grief and Bereavement "island" from 5 to 10 sites. 
  • Continue the development of engaging digital medical content for youth. Creating and curating enriched content for our Uknow library of medical related videos and resources within Upopolis.
  • Developing and executing a national Upopolis Communications and Marketing Strategy. Our aim is to raise awareness about Upopolis amoung Canadian youth, caregivers, health care professionals and potential partners; expanding the number of sites and ultimately the number of youth positively impacted by the program.

Umind

Key accomplishments in 2016:

  • Secured Mohawk College as an academic partner. Through this partnership, Umind will be incorporated within Mohawk College’s Human Services curriculum encompassing 17 programs, over 250 courses and nearly 1,000 graduates annually.
  • Significantly grew the Umind membership base - with an increase of 76% over 2015!
  • Released a new version of the Umind website, offering an improved user experience and exciting new features including a discussion board for members and an interactive contributor map. The updated site also offers more user-friendly access to resources and webinar recordings.
  • Completed 6 Umind webinars and increased the overall attendance and satisfaction of attendees over 2015.

Goals for 2017:

  • Increase membership by 80%.
  • Continue to build our important partnership with Mohawk College; presenting to all Human Services faculty, and engaging at a student level to increase awareness of the platform and the number of those using and benefitting from Umind.
  • Expand the Umind resource library - with a focus on 'hot topics' in child and youth mental health, and in topic areas where there are currently gaps in resources.

Upedia

Key accomplishments in 2016:

  • Launched Upedia 2.0, a new mobile-friendly website, offering loads of new resources for Child Life Professionals! 
  • Increased Upedia membership by 30% over 2015!
  • Delivered professional development value through Upedia webinars for a record number of attendees. 

Goals for 2017:

 

Celebrating Upopolis and 2016 -- What a year!

Upopolis has had it's biggest and best year ever! 2016 has been an exciting year of growth for KHLF's flagship program. As we approach the year's end, we celebrate the amazing accomplishments that have increased value to users, and have made it possible for Upopolis to positively impact many more children and youth across Canada.

Key successes include:

  • Welcomed 6 new hospital partners, and 5 new community partners to the Upopolis community; doubling the number of total sites benefitting from the program.
  • Expanded our youth empowerment and volunteer opportunities with a new Umentor Training Program, a Uambassador role, and a series of contests that engage youth in creative and empowering ways.
  • In collaboration with Upopolis users, developed a video entitled, Ucope – showcasing youth across Canada sharing their positive coping strategies with other youth.
  • Established the Upopolis Grief and Bereavement “island”. This is new application of the program and a separate section of Upopolis that was launched specifically for youth who have experienced the loss of a loved one.
  • Hosted a 2-day conference for key representatives from Upopolis sites. Delegates came from organizations across Canada. Important topics around youth empowerment and how to enrich site content and programming for youth were discussed.
  • Continued the development of engaging digital medical content for youth like this video, IWK Lab Mini Series, Part 1: Getting Results. Creating and curating enriching content for our Uknow library of medical related videos and resources.

With such an amazing year behind us, we are dreaming even bigger for 2017!

Here are some 2017 goals:

  • Taking our first steps outside Canada. We are currently in discussions that would take Upopolis international with launches at children's hospitals in the United States and the UK within the year.
  • Doubling the Upopolis Grief and Bereavement "island" from 5 to 10 sites. 
  • Continuing the development of engaging digital medical content for youth. Creating and curating enriched content for our Uknow library of medical related videos and resources within Upopolis.
  • Developing and executing a national Upopolis Communications and Marketing Strategy. Our aim is to raise awareness about Upopolis amoung Canadian youth, caregivers, health care professionals and potential partners; expanding the number of sites and ultimately the number of youth positively impacted by the program.

With strong momentum heading towards the new year, we need support to continue our great work and achieve our goals. Please click here to donate!

 

Mohawk College Partnership Expands Access to Child & Youth Mental Health Resources for Students and Faculty

Mohawk College Partnership Expands Access to Child & Youth Mental Health Resources for Students and Faculty

Hamilton, Ontario… As part of a knowledge exchange initiative, Mohawk College has become an academic partner with Umind to provide access to and heighten awareness of child and youth mental health (CYMH) resources for students, faculty, graduates, community partners, and CYMH professionals across Canada and globally. Developed by Kids’ Health Links Foundation with Umind’s clinical partner Lutherwood, Umind is a dynamic online platform for child and youth mental health professionals to share resources, advice, tips and techniques.

Through this partnership, Umind will be incorporated within Mohawk College’s Human Services curriculum encompassing 17 programs, over 250 courses and nearly 1,000 graduates annually. For the 900 agencies working with the Human Services Department, this partnership provides an online platform where they can access and contribute CYMH resources.  Other benefits of partnership include the opportunity for Mohawk students and CYMH professionals to actively network, share information and ideas through Umind’s online discussion board and webinars.

“We are very excited about our partnership with Umind. We are in the business of providing the best learning opportunities for our students and this partnership with Umind will allow students to access more resource information on Children and Mental Health”, says Neil McMahon, Acting Dean, Faculty of Community & Urban Studies.

As Umind’s clinical partner, we are thrilled to work with Mohawk College to exchange resources, tools and techniques that encourage insight and professional development, and positively impact children, youth and families facing mental health challenges,” said Kathy Payette, Lutherwood Director Community Mental Health Services and Umind Ambassador.

According to the World Health Organization, 20% of the world’s children and youth have mental health disorders or issues.  This partnership comes at a time when the need for child and youth mental health information and resources has never been greater.

Says Kids’ Health Links Foundation co-founder Basile Papaevangelou, “Through this partnership, two of the child and youth mental health profession’s leading organizations will be working together to meaningfully and positively develop and share much needed resources for today’s professionals and the many Mohawk graduates poised to join the CYMH  profession.”

 

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About Mohawk College
Mohawk College’s Faculty of Community & Urban Studies is pleased to partner with KHLF, Lutherwood and Umind for faculty and students in the School of Human Services to be able to access child and youth mental health resources.

Mohawk College, rated the #1 college in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area in student satisfaction for the last 6 years, is the college of choice for more than 14,000 full-time and 20,000 part-time students. For more information, visit www.mohawkcollege.ca.

About Umind
Umind is a dynamic online community where mental health professionals access information, connect and share practical tools, knowledge, and training to help improve the lives of children and youth and their families living with mental health issues. It is an initiative launched and supported by Kids' Health Links Foundation (KHLF) and its clinical partner, Lutherwood Institute for Children and Youth Mental Health. For more information, visit www.umind.ca.

About Lutherwood
Lutherwood is a not-for-profit health and social service organization that provides children’s mental health, employment and housing services to more than 16,600 people annually in Waterloo Region and Wellington County. For more information, visit www.lutherwood.ca 

About the Kids’ Health Links Foundation
The Kids’ Health Links Foundation was founded by Basile Papaevangelou and his daughter Christina to foster initiatives focused on alleviating the stress, isolation and loneliness for kids and teens undergoing medical care so that they might be better able to overcome traumatic medical experiences. For more information about Kids’ Health Links Foundation please visit: www.kidshealthlinks.org.

 

For more information, please contact:

Mohawk College                                                    Umind & Lutherwood                      Kids’ Health Links Foundation

Malorie Valade                                                        Marni Herold                                    April Ganong

malorie.valade@mohawkcollege.ca                      info@umind.ca                                  april@kidshealthlinks.org

905-575-1212, ext. 4466                                        519-884-1666, ext. 1206                  905-817-1717

 

Upedia launches newly redesigned website October 20th!

Based on feedback from Upedia members and with website design inspiration provided by RhythmQ , Upedia 2.0 offers a new world of resources for child life professionals across Canada and around the globe.  Here are a few ways Upedia 2.0 helps child life professionals connect, collaborate and access resources valuable for their professional development and that of their organizations:

Mobile Friendly: Enjoy exploring Upedia from your computer or any mobile device with our new dynamic, responsive design.

At-a-Glance Access:  From the Upedia home page, register for webinars, visit the Resource Library, connect, collaborate and more!

One-Click Resource Access: Find hundreds of child life professional resources lightening fast with the simple A-Z resource listing by topic or with keyword search.

Sharing Made Simple: Do you have a resource you’d like to share with other child life professionals? The new contribute function will make it super easy for you to  add your resources to Upedia’s growing library.

NEW Discussion Board:  Newly added, the Collaborate discussion board makes it easy for you to join conversations targeting today’s most important child life topics.

Live Learning: You’ll be able to earn Certificates of Participation listing professional development hours, when you attend Upedia’s real-time webinar events, presented by child life leaders on topics important to the child life community. 

Webinar Recordings:  Search the webinar archives to quickly locate recordings & handouts of previous Upedia online events.

Member Directory: Looking for someone from a specific organization?  Wish to connect with others in your area? Our searchable member directory can help.

NEW Interactive Contributor Map: A detailed map provides details on organizations that have contributed their resources to the Upedia Resource Library. 

It’s still FREE! With all of these improvements, Upedia remains a free online resource packed with valuable opportunities for professional growth for you and your organization.