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Community mobilisation and empowerment for combating a pandemic
  1. Weizhen Dong1,
  2. Kenneth Fung2,
  3. Kar C Chan3
  1. 1University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Professor Weizhen Dong, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave W, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada; weizhen{at}

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During the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, the Chinese Torontonians rallied behind various community organisations to address their shared concerns. In order to efficiently mobilise both human and material resources in the midst of the public health crisis, the Community Coalition Concerned about SARS was formed on April 14, 2003 shortly after SARS hits Toronto. The Coalition comprised 63 Chinese-Canadian business, community, cultural, religious and professional organisations. Other Asian ethnic groups including Japanese, Korean, Sri Lankan and Filipino, also joined force with the Coalition in its subsequent operations.

The community coalitions were able to quickly take action in a number of areas. They included: disseminating SARS related information in Chinese through printed and other forms of ethnic media, fighting against discrimination through advocacy, organising events to support frontline health workers and raise …

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  • Funding Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 160 Elgin Street, 9th Floor, Address Locator 4809A, Ottawa, ON K1A 0W9, CANADA; Community Coalition Concerned about SARS, 5183 Sheppard Avenue East, Scarborough, ON M1B 5Z5, Canada.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the University of Toronto.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.