Frequently Asked Questions

Below you’ll find answers to the questions we get asked the most about RISE Community Health Centre. If you do not find your question below, please contact us by calling: 604-558-8090 or emailing:

Background Information

What does RISE stand for?

Each letter in the acronym RISE represents our values at the community health centre: Resilient, Integrative, Socially Just, Equitable.

  • Resilient
    Renfrew-Collingwood is a resilient community. Rather than focusing on vulnerabilities, RISE takes an asset based approach, ensuring that clients, families and community are fully involved in identifying their wellness goals. RISE meets clients where they are at in their health journey.
  • Integrative
    RISE provides coordinated services to support the physical, social, emotional and cultural needs of the Renfrew-Collingwood community. We offer team based-care, enabling clients to access different team members who can help support their medical, mental health and social needs. We integrate our efforts with other departments of Collingwood Neighbourhood House and through partnerships with local healthcare providers and social service agencies.
  • Socially Just
    In Renfrew-Collingwood, Indigenous people, newcomers, LGBTQ2Si+ folks, isolated seniors, people who are homeless and underhoused, sex workers, and those with mental health and substance use challenges experience more barriers to health and worse health outcomes. RISE provides opportunities for people facing barriers to access culturally safe, trauma informed care.
  • Equitable
    RISE recognizes that health outcomes are not just biological, they are also very much socially determined and impacted by access to resources. We strive to ensure that our services are accessible and acceptable to those who need them the most, and that individuals have a fair opportunity to reach their fullest health potential.

Why was the Community Health Centre model chosen for the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood?

Community members and health professionals advocated to bring a Community Health Centre to Renfrew-Collingwood. In 2018, Renfrew-Collingwood had the lowest numbers of family doctors per capita of all neighbourhoods in Vancouver. Many community members in Renfrew-Collingwood face barriers to care including: transportation barriers, language barrier, lack of childcare, lack of availability for evening and weekend appointments, trouble navigating the health care system, and experience of discrimination. The Community Health Centre model works well for providing care for communities like Renfrew-Collingwood.

Does RISE partner with other organizations?

Yes, RISE collaborates with other organizations to offer services in multiple locations, coordinate services and programs, advocate for community needs, send, and accept referrals. RISE partners include local health care agencies and services, other non-profit agencies, colleges and universities, libraries, community centres, cultural and faith-based groups, health authorities, and organizations that provide low-income housing. RISE will continue to strive to make new, meaningful partnerships to benefit the community. If you are interested in partnering with RISE CHC, please reach out to us.

Who provides funding for RISE?

RISE CHC is funded by the Ministry of Health.

What's the difference between RISE Community Health Centre and the Evergreen Community Health Centre?

RISE Community Health Centre is a part of Collingwood Neighbourhood House provides services as listed above in What kinds of services does RISE Community Health Centre offer?

RISE CHC and Evergreen Community Health Centre (CHC) have mutual clients and often work together to provide support. 

Evergreen CHC is a part of Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH).  The Evergreen Ambulatory Care Clinic shares the lobby and reception with RISE.  At the Evergreen Ambulatory clinic, VCH Home Health clients that are mobile can come for health assessment and treatment by nurses, dietitians and rehab therapists. The Ambulatory clinic primarily serves seniors and people with long term care needs. Nursing services include wound care, IV therapy, medication management, chronic disease management and catheter care.

In the adjoining building (3425 Crowley Drive), Evergreen CHC provides Public Health services, addictions counselling, Home Health. They do not provide primary care (family doctors or nurse practitioners). For more information about Evergreen CHC please see:

Services & Client Information

Is RISE a walk-in clinic?

No, RISE CHC is not a walk-in clinic. Clients go through an intake process and generally have booked appointments. We will also have same-day access available for urgent access for existing clients.

How can I become a RISE Primary Care Clinic client?

Potential primary care clients can self-refer, or be referred by community members, community agencies or other medical providers. To make a referral, please fill out our referral form and email to or fax it to us, or give us a call. After we have received your referral, a staff member will contact you to discuss next steps.

Who can get services at RISE's Primary Care Clinic?

RISE’s mandate is to provide health care to Renfrew-Collingwood community members who are not connected to a family doctor and who face challenging life circumstances such financial difficulties, language and cultural barriers, social isolation and physical and mental health challenges. Extensive research and community consultation informed the decision to focus on providing primary care to the following populations in Renfrew-Collingwood:

  • Indigenous,
  • youth,
  • isolated seniors,
  • newcomers,
  • gender diverse people (LGBTQ2S),
  • sex workers,
  • homeless or inadequately housed,
  • people experiencing racism,
  • people with mild-moderate mental health conditions,
  • and people who use substances.

Can I register with RISE primary care clinic without officially transferring from my primary care provider (doctor or nurse practitioner)? How can I transfer my file from my current primary care provider?

The first step in becoming a RISE Primary Care client is completing a referral form and going through an intake process. We don’t ask or suggest that you transfer your medical records until you have met our team, and you and the RISE primary care provider discuss and agreed to transfer care. At that time, the RISE CHC staff can support you in transferring your files. 


It is not recommended to have two primary care providers at the same time. Clients that do not have their primary care at RISE CHC cannot access individual support from other team members.

Can I choose my primary care provider (doctor or nurse practitioner) at RISE?

During the referral and intake process we may ask you if you have a preference for a gender or language, or if you prefer to be seen on certain days or during certain hours. We try to match your needs to our providers, but sometimes our options may be limited based on provider availability.

I need a primary care provider (doctor or nurse practitioner) but I don't live in Renfrew-Collingwood. What should I do?

Alternatively, trying calling Healthlink BC by dialing 8-1-1 and tell them you are trying to find a family doctor.

What services does RISE offer?

RISE Primary Care Clinic:

RISE’s Primary Care Clinic provides the same kinds of services provided by a family doctor or nurse practitioner, plus additional care from a large health care team who support physical, social, and emotional well-being. RISE CHC’s Primary Care Clinic provides ongoing care for general health concerns, social determinants of health, mild-moderate mental health conditions, addictions, and coordination of specialist care.

Community Development and Health Promotion:

RISE CHC provides health promotion programs, events, and advocacy within the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood including:

  • Collaboration with and outreach to local housing sites and organizations
  • Health-related education and support groups
  • Information booths at community events and more

Harm Reduction Services:

  • Harm reduction supplies are available for pick-up during office hours
  • RISE CHC provides Naloxone kits are available for pick up and naloxone training can be requested

Nurse Practitioners and Physicians at RISE CHC prescribe medical therapies used to treat addictions including Opiate Agonist Therapy to clients of RISE Primary Care clinic.

What type of staff work at RISE?

The roles of our current team are listed below and we also work with students, volunteers and other CNH staff:

Medical Office Assistants
Medical office assistant (MOA) supports health care professionals to ensure smooth running of clinic. MOAs are responsible for performing various clerical and administrative tasks that include scheduling appointments, answering phone calls, filing/scanning and faxing documents, setting up clinic room and assisting Physicians or Nurse practitioners during minor procedures, and keeping inventory. MOAs also perform basic medical tasks such as taking weight, height, blood pressure, urine drug tests and urine pregnancy tests.

Community Health Workers
Community Health Workers (CHWs) help clients navigate issues related to the health care system, housing, income assistance & employment services, mental health services, and more. CHWs also carry out groups and community-based activities that focus on community development and promoting the health and wellbeing of RISE clients and the Renfrew-Collingwood community members.

The RISE management team supports the strategic vision and operations of RISE Community Health Centre. They also provide financial management, human resources, quality improvement and evaluation, and staff training for RISE Community Health Centre. The management team works to create and maintain partnerships in the community, work collaboratively with other programs and services at Collingwood Neighborhood House, and advocate for equitable access to health services more broadly.

Nurse Practitioners and Family Physicians
Nurse Practitioners and Family physicians provide long-term primary care for physical and mental health conditions for patients of all ages. They work together with clients to prevent illness from occurring as well as to respond to concerns that do arise. A Nurse Practitioner or Family Physician is responsible for referrals to other specialists, including social workers, counsellors, dietitians, etc. A Nurse Practitioner or Family Physician can assist with some types of paperwork, such as applying for disability or time away from work/school. Care is rooted in relationships and developed over time.

The nursing team at RISE comprises of both Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). Nurses provide holistic assessments and facilitate connections to other team members, and community resources. They also provide medical screening, health education and chronic disease management with a goal of working alongside the client to achieve their health goals. Additionally, nurses can do clinical tasks such as triage, wound dressings, vital assignments, bloodwork and general case management.

RISE Primary Care clients can access the staff below (Social Workers, Counsellors, Physiotherapist, Dietitian, Occupational Therapist) through a referral from a RISE Nurse Practitioner or Family Physician for one to one consultation. The following staff also participate in group education initiatives and special events for the general public:


Pharmacists assist patients with any questions or concerns regarding medications, including medication management, side effects, injections, immunizations, medication reviews, and more. They can also assists patients with coverage concerns and choosing alternative medications when needed.

Social Workers
Social work addresses social matters in one’s life such as housing or finances as well as mental health. A social worker can help clients facing complex challenges with access to financial supports or navigating governmental systems. Social worker assists with filling out forms (for example PWD benefit) and referrals to other agencies. Social worker offers advocacy on client’s behalf with Ministry of Social Development and Poverty reduction, Service Canada or MSP and provides information and emotional support.

Registered Clinical Counsellors
Registered Clinical Counsellors support clients’ mental health by processing emotions and difficult life experiences together. Our Counsellors help clients explore how their upbringing, family, culture, society, and ancestry impact their present-day lives. Counsellors can help clients find new solutions while feeling supported and validated. Counsellors and clients work together to explore any challenges that are impacting their personal or collective healing. Counsellors can also help bring awareness and shine light on the wisdom clients already bring to counselling while offering new perspectives. Counsellors at RISE offer individual, relationship, and family counselling as well as group-based therapy.

Physiotherapists use their experience and training to carry out a detailed assessment of your injury and to pinpoint the source of the problem. They then use proven and precise treatment techniques to bring relief as quickly as possible. Through education and ongoing dialogue with your physiotherapist, you will gain a full understanding of your condition, how to improve it, and what to look out for to prevent re-injury.

Dietitians empower clients and communities to embrace food, to understand it, and to enjoy it. The advice and information they provide is tailored to their clients’ personal needs and challenges, including taste and accessibility. They translate the science of nutrition into terms everyone can understand to support health and wellness.

Occupational Therapists

Occupational Therapists focus on supporting clients to overcome barriers related to injury, illness, disability or social and environmental challenges, to enable participation in meaningful everyday activities (occupations). 

Language Services & Fees

Do I pay to receive services at RISE's Primary Care Clinic?

There are no fees to access medical services at RISE CHC.

I have trouble communication in English. Can I use RISE?

Telephone translation services and information in multiple languages will be available. We also strive to hire staff that speak different languages.

Definition of Terms at RISE

How is a Community Health Centre different from a regular doctor's office?

RISE offers team-based care, which means clients will be able to access different team members who support their medical and social needs. Staff are experienced in providing culturally safe, trauma-informed care to community members from diverse backgrounds. Staff are also trained to recognize social determinants of health that may be impacting clients’ health and to help them with those issues. 

What are the social determinents of health?

Social and economic factors affect people’s health and everyday life and can contribute to illness. For example, not having enough money can lead to negative health consequences. These factors are called social determinants of health. Social determinants of health include:

  • Income and income distribution
  • Education
  • Unemployment and job security
  • Employment and working conditions
  • Early childhood development
  • Food insecurity
  • Housing
  • Social isolation and loneliness
  • Social support networks 
  • Health services
  • Aboriginal status
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Disability

What is the difference between a Family Physician (FP), Nurse Practitioner (NP) and a Registered Nurse (RN)?

At RISE CHC there are not many differences in the ways that a Family Physician (doctor) and Nurse Practitioner provide primary health care. A Registered Nurse does not have the same type of medical training as a Family Physician and a Nurse Practitioner, but also provides comprehensive primary health care services. The table below outlines some similarities and differences in FPs, NPs and RNs working in a primary health care setting.


Family Physician (FP) Nurse Practitioner (NP) Registered Nurse (RN)
Provides or coordinates health care for all ages and stages of life? Yes Yes Yes
Assesses, diagnoses, treats, and manages health issues? Yes Yes Yes, only with designated certified practice can diagnose specific issues (i.e. STIs)
Orders medical imaging, blood work, and tests? Yes Yes Yes, only with designated certified practice can order specific tests (i.e. STIs)
Provides maternity care? Yes, but our FPs do not offer labour/delivery care Yes, only prenatal and postpartum (no labour and delivery care) Yes, only prenatal and postpartum (no labour and delivery care)
Requires supervision? No, practices autonomously No, practices autonomously No, practices autonomously


Family Physician (FP) Nurse Practitioner (NP) Registered Nurse (RN)
Training & Education Bachelor’s degree (4 years), medical degree (3-4 years), family medicine residency (2 years) Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (4 years), min. 5,000 hours (or about 2.5 years of full-time work) as an RN, Master of Nursing degree (2 years) Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (4 years), (optional) certified-practice courses (i.e. STIs and contraceptive management, pelvic exam, and cervical cancer screening)
Licensing & Registration Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Exams in order to obtain the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada, registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, (optional) Certification in the College of Family Physicians (CCFP), renews registration annually Written examination and Objective Struuctured Clinical Examination (OSCE) through BC College of Nursing Professionals (BCCNP), registered with the BCCNP, the College registers NPs in one of three streams of practice: adult, family or pediatric. Renews registration annually National Council Licensure Examination for RNs through BCCNP, registered with the BCCNP, renews registration annually
Prescribes medication? Yes Yes No
Completes health and benefits forms? Yes Yes No
Refers to specialties? Yes Yes No