Dr. Anna Kuehne MPH MSAE and Dr. Benjamin Wachtler from the Berlin Health Collective

“When you engage with people the magic happens!”

We are a small delegation from two community health centers in Germany and had the opportunity to visit “The Bridge” in Ottawa in September 2019. Our community health centres, the Poliklinik in Hamburg and the Berlin Health Collective, are very new and we were eager to learn about participatory research and collaboration with communities at eye level. We had the pleasure to meet with researchers and participants and speak about the opportunities that The Bridge offers to people who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless and use substances. We had time to speak about experiences in participatory research and collaborative work with communities and shared a lovely lunch. We were impressed by the collaborative and respectful style in which The Bridge was run. It was an inspiring visit for us, showing how research can be done on eye level with communities and how it can be combined with meaningful interventions for communities. During our visit, someone mentioned, “when you engage with communities, the magic happens” and this magic was truly palpable at The Bridge. We are glad that we are able to continue to learn from The Bridge as collaborators and friends.