Beyond SARS: ethnic community organization's role in public health -- a Toronto experience

Promot Educ. 2008 Dec;15(4):53-5. doi: 10.1177/1025382308097699.


The SARS outbreak in Toronto was a public health crisis. It was particularly frightening to the Chinese-Canadians, because of the origin of the deadly disease. The Chinese-Canadian community organizations launched various activities to help the Chinese-Canadians as well as other Asian-Canadian communities to fight against SARS and its social side-effects. From launching the SARS Supporting Line, distributing health promotional material, disseminating SARS related information, paying tribute to frontline health workers, and promoting local business, to fundraising for SARS related research; they played an active role in easing the public's anxiety, especially for the Chinese-Canadians in the great Toronto area. The culturally diverse population brought problems as well as solutions. Ethnic groups have expertise in almost all areas, including people with leadership skills. The Toronto Chinese community's experience in combating SARS is a good example. The Chinese-Canadian community organizations' activities during the SARS outbreak demonstrate that ethnic minority organizations can play an important role in public health, especially in a public health crisis, and beyond.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asian People / ethnology
  • China / ethnology
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Community Participation
  • Disaster Planning
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Public Health*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / ethnology*