Stay up to date with what's happening at REACH.

Unpacking Cannabis Legalization Recommendations April 11, 2017

In November 2016, the federal Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation submitted its final report outlining its recommendations for Cannabis legalization in Canada. The nine member task force submitted more than 80 recommendations. This public panel unpacks and reconsiders these recommendations in light of the new Cannabis Legalization Bill to be proposed on April 10, 2017. Some key issues the report covers are:

  • Minimizing Harms of Use
  • Establishing a Safe and Responsible Supply Chain
  • Enhancing Public Safety and Protection
  • Medical Access
  • Implementation

Please join us at SFU Harbour Centre downtown!

MVA Election Accountability Assembly March 21, 2017

REACH is proud to be part of the Metro Vancouver Alliance, and will have a presence at the Provincial Election Accountability Assembly on April 4th in an effort to hold government accountable for quality health care. Join us at the Italian Cultural Centre from 6-8pm with questions and concerns for the candidates. Please be sure to get your ticket by RSVPing to

Dr. Witherspoon's Retirement Party March 9, 2017

REACH is planning a special celebration of one of our longest serving staff members, Dr. Sandi Witherspoon. Dr. Witherspoon has retired, but her tremendously positive effect on the Grandview-Woodland community will endure for many years to come.

If you would like to join us in thanking her, please RSVP to Note that we're asking for $15 at the door, but nobody will be turned away because they cannot pay.

Pharmacy Blast #5 February 7, 2017

The pharmacy blast is our way of connecting to you, our patients and community, on a monthly basis. It includes a cool, evidence-based pharmacy tip and any important upcoming news in our department. Hope you like it and check back the first of each month for your tip.

We have been fielding a lot of questions recently about what over-the-counter cough and cold preparations work. Generally speaking, we don't recommend most of these preparations as they are ineffective and do have some significant side effects. Health Canada issued a warning a couple of years ago that all children six years and under should no longer use over-the-counter cough and cold preparations as the they lack evidence and have significant side effects. As a rule of thumb for adults straight DM cough syrup can be mildly helpful and are safe; although two teaspoons of honey has been shown to be as effective. Straight decongestant are effective for stuffy nose but are stimulants so they are association with some side effects. Finally, straight antihistamines can help runny nose but can cause some drowsiness. We don't recommend combo products or any expectorant preparations due to a lack of evidence. We hope this helps with getting through our extended winter season.

Pharmacy Blast #4 January 9, 2017

The pharmacy blast is our way of connecting to you, our patients and community, on a monthly basis. It includes a cool, evidence-based pharmacy tip and any important upcoming news in our department. Hope you like it and check back the first of each month for your tip.

As some of you may now be aware, BC Pharmacare has introduced a new Reference Drug Program. This is the program that states which drugs are covered for each class of drugs in order to lower BC medication costs. Our doctors at REACH are generally well versed in the Pharmacare coverage policies, however the new RDP does have some updates that are new to all of us. For now continue your medications as prescribed, but if you do run into coverage issues particularly with chronic medications, please feel free to ask us in the pharmacy for advise.

GWAC and RIA Open House November 4, 2016

Our friends at the Grandview-Woodland Advisory Council (GWAC), Our Place, the Aboriginal Life in Vancouver Enhancement (ALIVE) Society, and the Reconciliation in Action initiative are hosting an open house to learn more about Our Place: A Collective Place-Based Strategy. REACH is working on many of its own place-based strategies, and as such this is an important event for those who are looking to learn more about what place-based strategies are, and how Reconciliation in Action and the GWAC are working towards this perspective. The meeting will be held on Monday, November 7th, from 7-9pm. Come on out and learn more! We'll see you there.

Ground Blessing Wrap Up November 3, 2016

Last weekend, REACH Community Health Centre hosted a ground blessing ceremony at our Commercial Drive site, in recognition of the fact that it is located on unceded Coast Salish territory. In attendance were many of REACH's managers and board members, as well as our Executive Director and several community members. Jane Turner, REACH's Board President, addressed the crowd with a short speech:

We are here, on the unceded, overlapping traditional territory of the Musqueum, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish nations to witness and participate in the blessing of the ground upon which the new REACH Community Health Centre will rise.

Almost 50 years ago, in 1969, the REACH Community Health Centre was born. The original premises were across the street on the site of the current Portugese Club. The bricks and mortar, or in our case, stucco and wood, that framed a building became REACH community health centre. It was to be a place where members of the community, all members of the community, could come and be active participants in their own health care.

Grandview Woodland was chosen as the site for the location because the neighbourhood was woefully underserved from a medical perspective. REACH began as a medical clinic but, and here I am quoting from the wonderful history of REACH written by Dr. Sandi Witherspoon, in 1973 a community survey of children’s health needs revealed the lack of dental services in the area, so REACH’s dental clinic was established.

In 1976, a full-time pharmacist joined the team.

In 1991, REACH welcomed the arrival of the Multicultural Family Centre (MFC), which began as a federally funded project of the School of Social Work at UBC and REACH. Federal studies had identified Vancouver’s African, Hispanic and Vietnamese communities as underserved, and these communities became the focus for MFC.

In 1982, after a major funding campaign, REACH purchased this present building at 1145 Commercial Drive.

The new REACH is being rebuilt on land that has a history, a narrative of its own. This new building will also be situated on unceded Aboriginal land, - land that can tell us stories about ourselves and our community, history and perspective - if we listen to it. Located in this place, I think that the history of this land helped to form the ethic of care that is the foundation of REACH, a place where people are welcomed as equal partners in the care of our physical, social, emotional, and spiritual health.

REACH began with an elected, community board of directors. Over the many years of REACH’s existence, countless numbers of dedicated people served as directors, helping to keep REACH committed to its roots and community. The hundreds of staff who have worked here with the same goals as the board made REACH the jewel that it is and will continue to be.

But even jewels get a little worn and dirty, needing a renewal to allow the sparkle to show. That is what is happening here on this site. But it’s not just about the surface, the outside appearance.

The foundation of REACH is being reinforced, both literally and metaphorically. The cement is poured for a building that will continue on the foundations from which it was born. A foundation of deep respect for the people who work here, who come through the doors, who live in the community and with a deep respect for those who have gone before us and will come after us.

I think that a Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois, as it was called colonially) Oral Teaching best expresses what REACH represents in this community:

We are a part of everything that is beneath us, above us, and around us. Our past is our present, our present is our tomorrow and our tomorrows are the seven generations past and present.

-Haudenosaunee Oral Teaching.

Thank you to everyone who participated in and supported this incredibly important ceremony! A special thanks to Martha for taking photos, John Sakamoto-Kramer for organizing, and to Glen Williams and Wes Nahanee for the blessing.

Pharmacy Blast #3 November 1, 2016

The pharmacy blast is our way of connecting to you, our patients and community, on a monthly basis. It includes a cool, evidence-based pharmacy tip and any important upcoming news in our department. Hope you like it and check back the first of each month for your tip.

We have all heard the expression that "less is more". Nowhere is that more prevalent than in the world of pharmaceutics. You may not be aware but most dosage regimens are quite arbitrary. A dose is selected, tested and then marketed. However, often one can use as little as a half or a quarter of the indicated dose and get a good response. Why subject yourself to more drugs and more side effects if it gives no added benefit? Here's another expression I often tell physicians that you should remember as a consumer of medications: "Start LOW and go SLOW".

- Afshin Jaberi, REACH Pharmacist

Ground Blessing Ceremony October 17, 2016

REACH is hosting a ground blessing ceremony on October 29, 2016 to acknowledge that our new building on Commercial Drive is located on unceded Coast Salish territory. Please join us at 10:30am for the ceremony and some short speeches from REACH's President and community members. There will be refreshments afterwards at the Brittania 55+ Senior's Centre.

Ground Blessing Poster

Pharmacy Blast #2 October 4, 2016

The pharmacy blast is our way of connecting to you, our patients and community, on a monthly basis. It includes a cool, evidence-based pharmacy tip and any important upcoming news in our department. Hope you like it and check back the first of each month for your tip.

Welcome back to our second pharmacy blast! Were you aware that the cost of production and raw materials has little to do with the pricing of prescription medication? The price of drugs is often set by research and development, and heavily influenced by marketing. Hence, prescription drugs are often priced the same through the entire dosage range. Where possible, why not buy the higher strength and cut in half, or even quarters? This is a simple way to lower your drug costs. Ask your pharmacist if it's possible to cut any of your meds. It may halve your costs.

AGM Wrap-Up September 27, 2016

Thank you to everyone in the community who showed up for our Annual General Meeting on September 21 at Famee Furlane. It was a wonderful evening filled with spirited debate and it was great to hear the voices of our community. Please see below for a copy of the slides to our Executive Director, Geoff Trafford's, presentation.

Congratulations to the new board members elected on the 21st: Colleen Fuller, Scott Clark, Barbera Cameron, Bill Hood, Karen Dean, Mike Ma, Penny Street. There was a tie between Eva Sharell and Ruth Herman, which according to REACH constitution, will be worked out between the two nominees.

UPDATE: Ruth Herman will stand as the final board member.

Also, a big thank you to our outgoing board members! Your service was greatly appreciated by all, and we wish you the best of luck in future endeavors.

AGM Slides

REACH FAQ #4 - New Doctor Hires and the AGM September 6, 2016

Our weekly FAQ series provides you with answers to commonly asked questions we've had this week at REACH. If you'd like to see a question answered, contact us by email or Twitter! This week's questions focus on our doctors, both new and old, and how new doctors incoming will affect current patients.

  1. Have you hired any new doctors to replace Dr. Howitt, Dr. Kovacevic, and Dr. Malleson??

    We have hired two doctors to replace outgoing doctors. Dr. Martz will be working at REACH starting in October, and Dr. Shah will be working with REACH as our new youth doctor by the end of September.

  2. What time is the AGM on September 21?

    The Annual General Meeting begins at 6pm on September 21st. If you need to renew your membership, the doors will be open at 5pm for renewal.

  3. Can I vote at this month's AGM?

    If you became a member on or before September 14th, you are eligible to vote at the upcoming AGM. If you are a current member who simply needs to renew, you may do so at the door and be able to vote.

PHARMACY BLAST #1 September 6, 2016

Welcome to REACH pharmacy's first "Pharmacy Blast". This will be our way of connecting to you, our patients and community, on a monthly basis. It will include a cool, evidence-based pharmacy tip and any important upcoming news in our department. Hope you like it and check back the first of each month for your tip.

Are you aware that the old saying of "you get what you pay for" doesn't really apply to pharmacy prescriptions? When a new drug comes out, the company has a ten year patent to recoup research and development costs. Hence, newer drugs are often very expensive and having just been released, have every little good data on their use. Older drugs have patents that have expired, and they become generics and are much less expensive. Generics are exact copies of the original brand name drugs. Canada has some of the strictest generic standards in the world, so they are always a smart option. Furthermore, they usually have years of collected data on their use so they are proven and predictable. Newer and more expensive is not always better — at least not in the pharmacy world!

REACH FAQ #2 - New Doctors at REACH August 31, 2016

Our weekly FAQ series provides you with answers to commonly asked questions we've had this week at REACH. If you'd like to see a question answered, contact us by email or Twitter! This week's questions focus on our doctors, both new and old, and how new doctors incoming will affect current patients.

  1. Why did a few doctors leave REACH?

    Five doctors decided to leave REACH with their departures spread over two months, August through September. Two have reconsidered their departure and will remain at REACH. Some of our physicians have worked with the clinic for more than 30 years and have expressed an interest in new challenges. We also understand from our physicians that over the past few years there was a growing gap in the communications between the doctors and REACH management. Unfortunately, we are not able to get into too many more specifics for privacy reasons.

  2. What's happening to recruit new doctors?

    We are working with health authorities and accessing our contacts, and we have been fortunate to receive several inquiries about coming to work with the REACH medical clinic. We feel confident that we will be able to recruit new doctors to REACH very soon.

  3. Will anyone lose their doctors or be forced to leave their doctors?

    Physicians, just like the rest of us, have their circumstances change, look at and accept new opportunities, and consider retirement. In this respect we can not promise our patients that they will not lose their current care giver over time. What we can say is that no one will be forced at this time to leave their doctors if they are continuing to work at REACH.

REACH Membership and Voting Changes August 23, 2016

Good news for those of you hoping to become a member, or renew your membership, before our Annual General Meeting on September 21, 2016.

You now have until 7 days before the AGM to get your membership in to us! Prior to this change, memberships would have already had to be in to be eligible to vote on the 21st.

Don't forget to hand in your membership before the new deadline, September 13th, 2016! Of course, you can always submit memberships afterwards, but you will not be eligible to vote at the meeting.

For more information about becoming a member, or to find our membership form online, check out the membership section of our website. As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with any membership-related questions by email or through our Twitter page.

Welcome to the New Website! August 19, 2016

Here at REACH Community Health Centre, we're always looking for better ways to treat our patients and help our community. With this in mind, we've completely redesigned our website from the ground up to better communicate with you, our patients, stakeholders, staff, and the community of East Vancouver.

There have been a lot of changes over the past few months at REACH, and keeping you up-to-date on these changes is important to us. With that in mind, we've added staff profiles for you to better acquaint yourself with our doctors, an integrated Twitter feed so you can always get in touch with us, and expanded and simplified information about each of our services so you know exactly what's going on with us.

Please take a look around, and let us know what you think by Tweeting at us, saying "hi" on Facebook, or sending us a good old-fashioned email!

Introducing the Weekly FAQ! August 19, 2016

One of our goals here at REACH is to communicate with you, our patients and our community, better. But for us, that goes beyond simply answering your questions via email. To us, that means striving towards transparency when addressing concerns. To this end, every week on the blog, we'll round up all the important questions we've been asked via Twitter, email, or Facebook and summarize the answers into a handy FAQ, so that other community members who might be wondering the same thing can get answers quickly and easily.

So please, if you have any questions, concerns, or comments, get them to us any way you can! We're listening to what our community has to say.

September 21, 2016: REACH's AGM August 11, 2016

REACH will be meeting September 21, 2016 for our Annual General Meeting (AGM). Members are invited to attend, or if you're not yet a member and would like to be one, please fill out a membership form.

Agenda and more information about the AGM will be posted closer to the date. Please stay tuned!

We're Under Construction August 4th, 2016

You may have noticed if you've walked by our Commercial Drive clinic recently that we're under construction! Renovations are well underway at the Commercial Drive location and we are currently in the removal and deconstruction stage. The asbestos has been removed and the contractors have stripped all reusable elements such as the copper pipes and door handles.

The next step is to remove the roof and part of the back floor. The building will be covered for security and the site manager's office will move in. The building has been surrounded by hoarding (large white wood walls). During Italian Days on June 12th, 2016, REACH was on the Drive, inviting community members to write a message on the hoarding.

Welcome Geoff Trafford! July 28, 2016

It is our pleasure to introduce Geoff Trafford as the Acting Executive Director of REACH Community Health Centre.

Geoff has several years experience in the private sector in management of financial services corporations in Canada and the United States. As well, for the past 15 years, he has been involved in the building of medical clinics throughout the lower mainland in British Columbia. More recently, he managed the transition of the Mid Main clinic from an Alternative Payment Program model to a fee for service practice.

The main objectives concerning REACH Community Health Centre are:

  • Maintain the Vancouver Coastal Health Contract for the Medical Practice.
  • Maintain and enhance all existing allied programs - counselling, social work, lifestyle management groups, the Multicultural Family Centre and community engagement.
  • Grow the dental and pharmacy practices.
  • Manage the successful completion of the building renovation at the 1145 Commercial Drive.
  • Continue to remain a vital centre for health, advocacy and community inclusion in East Vancouver.

The focus on these objectives will be to ensure that all members of the community have access, are represented and cared for by the REACH team, and to expand our practice beyond the restrictions of the Alternative Payment Program guidelines of complexity. Please join us in welcoming Geoff Trafford to REACH.

We look forward to a challenging and exciting process of growth and renewal at REACH, returning to our renovated facility and the community, and look forward to another 50 years on the Drive.


102-2732 E Hastings St.
Vancouver, BC V5K 1Z9

Dental and MFC

501-1750 E 10th Ave.
Vancouver, BC V5N 5K4

Contact by Phone

General: 604-251-3000
Medical: 604-254-1354
Pharmacy: 604-216-3136
Dental: 604-254-1331
MFC: 604-254-6468

Copyright ©2016 REACH Community Health Centre. All rights reserved.