CIUSSS West-Central Montreal inaugurates the Azrieli Clinic for the Neurodivergent Community, the first-of-its-kind in Montreal

Bram Freedman - President and CEO JGH Foundation, Alan Maislin - CIUSSS Board of Directors member, Dr. Mel Schwartz - Head of JGH Dentistry, Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg - CIUSSS President and CEO, Lionel Carmant - Quebec’s Social Services Minister, Orly Fruchter - Azrieli Foundation, Dr. Richard Reznick - Azrieli Foundation, Filomena Novello - CIUSSS Associate Director for Rehabilitation and Multidisciplinary Services, Elizabeth Prass - MNA for the riding of D’Arcy McGee, Mary Lattas - CIUSSS Director of Rehabilitation and Multidisciplinary Services, Lucie Tremblay - CIUSSS Associate CEO

MONTREAL, April 2, 2024 – CIUSSS West-Central Montreal is proud to announce that the Azrieli Clinic for the Neurodivergent Community has been officially inaugurated by Quebec’s Social Services Minister Lionel Carmant. The clinic, which opened in December 2023, is the first in Montreal to offer medical and dental services at the same site for adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) and/or an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Located at CLSC René-Cassin in Côte Saint-Luc, the clinic offers an accessible, sensory-controlled environment for a particularly vulnerable clientele who require services adapted to their needs.

“We are extremely grateful to the Azrieli Foundation for their support, and very proud to have been able to open this clinic, the first-of-its-kind in Montreal”, says Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, President and CEO of CIUSSS West-Central Montreal. “Everyone has a right, and a need, to get medical and dental treatment and we are very excited about providing these services.”

“By offering adapted medical and dental care to adults with an intellectual disability and/or an autism spectrum disorder, the Azrieli Clinic is significantly improving access to front-line services for this clientele,” says Minister Carmant. “I would like to thank the Azrieli Foundation and all the teams involved in this initiative, which is making a real difference.”

Access to medical and dental care for clients who are neurodiverse is challenging, even more so for the adult population. Often times, the care is done unnecessarily via Emergency Departments. Studies show that people with an ID or an ASD have a higher prevalence than the general population for specific health issues and they are more likely to be admitted to hospital for conditions that can be managed in an out-patient, primary care setting. This is why CIUSSS West-Central Montreal teamed up with the Azrieli Foundation, and with the support of the Jewish General Hospital Foundation, to launch a project aimed at improving access to medical and dental care and services for adults with ID’s and ASD’s.

As part of this initiative, the Azrieli Foundation is also funding a dental clinic at the Montreal General Hospital for the neurodivergent community.

“We are guided by the belief that every person deserves to live a full life to the best of their ability,” says Naomi Azrieli, O.C., Chair/CEO of the Azrieli Foundation. “General healthcare is absolutely fundamental to well-being but has remained an unmet need for neurodiverse individuals for far too long. The inauguration of this innovative clinic is a dream come true.

“This clinic offers a model of a continuum of care for others to replicate and will catalyze further partnerships between community-based clinics, hospitals and health professional training programs.”

“Once again, the Azrieli Foundation has stepped up,” says Bram Freedman, President and CEO of the Jewish General Hospital Foundation. “It is a pleasure to work with the Azrieli Foundation, and this project has been especially rewarding.”

Appointments are longer than in other clinics: ranging from 45 minutes to 1 hour instead of 15 minutes.

“This project marks a significant milestone in our journey to provide exceptional services to our neurodivergent community.” says Filomena Novello, Associate Director for Rehabilitation and Multidisciplinary Services at CIUSSS West-Central Montreal. “Our vision to enhance the well-being of our clients through accessible, holistic and personalized medical and dental care is a remarkable achievement.”

  • The clinic is open Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • All services are covered by Medicare
  • A calming room with Snoezelen equipment helps patients relax and minimizes the use of anesthetics
  • Demonstration tools are used to explain to patients what will happen during their exam
  • Non-invasive medical technologies are given priority
  • Staff have received training to adapt their communication skills and use specialized treatment tools for clients with an ID and/or ASD
  • Miriam Home users, regardless of their address, are eligible to receive services

Originally published by CIUSSS West-Central Montreal. View the original article here.