top of page

12. Shifting attitudes towards Substance Use Health and Stigma

12. Substance Use Health and Stigma

Institution: University of Ottawa

CSWB plan priority: Mental well-being

Project Term: Winter 2024

Course Code: MED 4101

Professor: Lina Shoppoff

Group Members: Chelsea Zhang

City Leads: Caroline Bala & Harpreet Grewal


Background: Stigma is one of the biggest barriers preventing people experiencing challenges with substance use from seeking help or health care. The use of nonstigmatizing terminology within health care provider documentation has been shown to contribute to increased follow up care for patients (Frost, 2023).

Objective(s): Medical students from uOttawa are working with Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and CAPSA on a stigma awareness initiative, as a means of reducing stigma and improving health outcomes for people in Ottawa

Approach: Together with OPH and CAPSA, the students explored how stigma impacts access to care, applied the principles of Substance Use Health to health assessments, built Person-First Language skills and practiced recommending health and social services to patients from across the Spectrum of Substance Use


Potential for impact: The students provided valuable insights into the unique ways that physicians can apply the principle of Substance Use Health to their practice. The impact of this will be felt by the communities served by this group of future physicians, who have the skills necessary to help reduce stigma


Community Partner: Ottawa Public Health

Community Partner - Mission: We work together with the community to promote and protect the health and wellbeing of all people in Ottawa.

Supplementary Media

bottom of page