Chronic disease and injury prevention at the grassroots level

Chintal ShahChintal Shah’s history as a Homeopathic and  Naturopathic practitioner from India’s Gujarat University was a natural start to her career as a Public Health Nurse here in Canada because “ultimately, what matters in life is the number of lives you’ve touched and the difference you’ve made,” says Chintal.

Chintal graduated from York’s 2nd Entry program in Nursing in 2008, following her university education in India, as well as having received a diploma from the Homeopathic College of Canada. Her decision to pursue a career in nursing was due to the fact that homeopathy wasn’t regulated when she began her career in Canada, so she moved laterally into another health field that focused on human science and caring.

After graduating from York, she began her nursing career at Toronto Public Health (TPH) with the New Grad Initiative in nursing, and has now been a public health nurse for more than five years, just recently becoming a permanent employee.

At TPH, Chintal worked with the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program, that involved more individual one-on-one counselling and support for new parents.

Currently, she incorporates her experience with families into her focus on chronic disease and injury prevention within communities. “It means knowing your community,  assessing what their needs are, being aware and taking action on social inequities in health and its interplay with accessing and maintaining wellbeing,” says Chintal.

“My typical day would be going to schools – I work in collaboration with 35 schools and teachers, students, and health committees. I also go to community health centres and child groups, parks and recreation programming as well as after school programs.”

“I love having a community dialogue and working at the grassroots level,” says Chintal of her current position. While her start in Canada wasn’t easy – being an international student, she dealt with a lot of culture shock, her future is definitely promising.