• Dr. Peter

About Dr. Peter and the Dr. Peter Centre

In 1986, Vancouver physician Dr. Peter Jepson-Young was diagnosed with AIDS. 

Just prior to his death in 1992, Dr. Peter and his life partner Andrew Hiscox, met in their home along with friends and Dr. Peter's sister Nancy Hennessy. The decision was made to begin work on creating a place where people with AIDS could receive compassionate care right through to the end of their lives.

That pivotal meeting launched what was to become the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation, with Andrew, Nancy and his mother Shirley leading the way.
 

The Dr. Peter Centre Today

Since 1997, the Dr. Peter Centre manages day health programs, a 24-hour licensed care residence, and an enhanced supportive housing program. The Centre is recognized as the first health care facility in North America to integrate supervised consumption services into its model of care.

Located in Vancouver’s West End, the Centre is open seven days a week and serves 73,500 nutrient-dense meals to participants and residents every year.

To learn more about what has unfolded at the Dr. Peter Centre, see our Timelines page.
 

“No one has ownership of this disease – unfortunately, it belongs to all of us
and the only way we’re going to conquer this is through cooperation.” 

- Dr. Peter Jepson-Young

 

 

CBC's Dr. Peter Diaries

When Dr. Peter Jepson-Young was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986, it was a fearful time. Being diagnosed with AIDS then was like being diagnosed with Ebola today.

Rather than hide in shame or live in fear, Dr. Peter chose instead to use his own experience combined with his professional background to tell the world what it meant to be hit by this devastating epidemic that was killing so many people so quickly.

The result was The Dr. Peter Diaries, produced by CBC-TV which spanned 111-episodes and challenged prevailing myths.

Watch CBC's 30th anniversary of the Dr. Peter Diaries here.

See the Oscar-nominated archival footage

CBC-TV aired the Dr. Peter Diaries nation-wide. Decades later, the public broadcaster continues to make this archival footage available to the general public.

Many of the segments reflect the era of the 1990s. Through them, Dr. Peter's insight, compassion, and humour come through. A few segments also show his unique and progressive perspective on a number of issues society continues to face today.

  • On mental health and healing - see Energy that is Me, February 1992

  • On intravenous drug use – see Needle Exchange, December 1991

  • On stigma –  see AIDS as a Social Disease, July 1991

  • On AIDS and poverty – see Changing Face of AIDS, March 1991

Click to watch Dr. Peter's original CBC-TV segments.

 

Dr. Peter legacy lives on

THE WORK CONTINUES

For more about what has unfolded at the Dr. Peter Centre, see our Timelines page.

DR. PETER CENTRE AND ITS ROLE IN VANCOUVER

The AIDS crisis reached its peak in 1995, by which time work was already underway to raise funds for a compassionate care facility in Vancouver, in accordance with the wishes of Dr. Peter Jepson-Young. 

1997 - The Dr. Peter Centre opens its 10-bed residence inside St. Paul’s Hospital.

2001  - The Dr. Peter Centre successfully completes a $9.8 million capital campaign to build a standalone Dr. Peter Centre.

2002 - Dr. Peter Centre becomes the first health care facility in North America to integrate supervised consumption services into its model of care.

2003 - Doors to the new integrated health care facility, tripling day health capacity and doubling capacity for its 24-hour residential care.

2004 - The Dr. Peter Centre receives the B.C. Persons with AIDS Society AccolAIDS Award for “Innovative Programs.”

2005 - The residence at the Dr. Peter Centre evolves from an assisted living to a licensed care facility due to increasing complexity of care provided.

2007 - The Dr. Peter Centre Day Health staff wins the John F. McCreary Prize for Excellence in ‘Inter-professional Teamwork in Health Professions’ from the University of British Columbia.

2008 - The Dr. Peter Centre is granted intervener status at BC Supreme Court in Insite’s appeal to continue to provide supervised consumption services.

DR. PETER CENTRE EXPANDS ITS SERVICES

2011 - The Dr. Peter Centre is granted intervener status at the Supreme Court of Canada in Insite’s appeal to continue supervised consumption services.

  • Services expand to include an Enhanced Supportive Housing program for residents healthy enough to transition out of 24-hour residential care

2012 - The Dr. Peter Centre obtains funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for a three-year research evaluation: A Mixed Method Evaluation of the Impact of the Dr. Peter Centre on Health Care Access and Outcomes for Persons Living with HIV Who Use Illicit Drugs, in partnership with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV AIDS, and researchers and policy-makers from across Canada.

2013 - The Dr. Peter Centre receives the Casey Award from Toronto’s Casey House for “Leadership in providing compassionate HIV care for people living with HIV, and for removing barriers to care for vulnerable people.”

2014 - The Dr. Peter Centre, in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health, applies for an exemption from federal drug laws in order to continue to provide supervised injection service to registered clients of the DPC, making it the first Canadian organization to apply for such an exemption since the 2011 Supreme Court ruling on Insite.

2016 - The Dr. Peter Centre receives a section 56 exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), which ensures the centre’s nurses and clients will not be charged under federal drug laws for their activities related to providing and accessing supervised consumption services. 

  • The Dr. Peter Centre is awarded the Elisse Zack Award for Excellence in HIV and Rehabilitation from the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation.
  • The Dr. Peter Centre is awarded a Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) grant for a national project titled “Building capacity of community-based organizations across Canada to provide supervised injection services for people who use drugs” For more information, see National Initiatives

2018 - The Dr. Peter Centre is awarded a grant from Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addiction Program (SUAP) for a national project titled “Overcoming barriers to iOAT: An implementation evaluation of iOAT in an integrated health care facility for health services organizations across Canada” For more information, see HIV and the Opioid Crisis.

2020  - The Dr. Peter Centre remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. At the request of Health Canada, we launched the HUB in June, a place where knowledge and information on harm reduction, Urgent Public Health Need Sites (UPHNS), and COVID-19 can be shared across Canada. For more information on the UPHNS Community of Practice, click here

Read more about Dr. Peter in Shirley's Reflections blog posts.