RCCbc establishes northern node, adds new staff

The work of RCCbc, REAP, and the Rural Doctors UBC Chair in Rural Health has grown by leaps and bounds over the past six months with the establishment and implementation of new rural health initiatives including (but not limited to) the Rural Surgical and Obstetrics Networks program, the Rural Site Visitors Project, and the Northern Research Node. We’re also busy supporting the scaling up of  existing programs, such as the Nanaimo Emergency Education Program (NEEP) and The CARE Course.

To facilitate the smooth operations of all of this work, RCCbc has added new team members, three of whom are working at our new northern node in Prince George! It’s been the goal of RCCbc to build operational capacity outside of the Lower Mainland and we’re excited to be able to partner with the University of Northern BC (UNBC), Northern Health, and the Health Research Initiatives to facilitate sharing of these roles to further all of our work for rural health.

Please join us in welcoming the new members of the RCCbc team!

Northern Node in Prince George

The RCCbc Northern Node team in Prince George (left to right): Janna Olynick, Erika Belanger, and Bree Orser

Erika Belanger – Erika, a Research Associate who will be supporting the Rural Site Visits Project, focusing on coding the data gathered from the visits. She will also be accompanying the team on northern site visits, starting with Prince Rupert/Port Simpson/Metalakatla in June. Erika recently moved back to Prince George after living on Vancouver Island while attending school. She enjoys hiking on the Island during the summer.

Janna Olynick – Janna is a Research Associate assisting northern physicians with research proposals and project logistics. She works closely with established researchers Drs. Dave Snadden and Martha MacLeod at UNBC.  Fun fact about Janna: she loves trivia! She hosts trivia nights with friends, and occasionally heads to pubs/events offering trivia nights.

Bree-Ann Orser – The newest member of the RCCbc team, Bree is the Administrative Assistant who is assisting the UBC Dean’s Advisory Council on Rural and Remote Issues and will also help support the administration of the Rural Surgical and Obstetrics Networks initiative. In addition to her work at UNBC, Bree is an established wedding, engagement and portrait photographer.


RCCbc’s new staff in the main office (left to right): Shagee Gnanenthra, Adrienne Peltonen, Sarah Kesler, Kassia Skolski, Ashley Medwid

Shagee Gnanenthra – Shagee is Administrative Assistant for the Vancouver office. She attends to the Vancouver group’s day-to-day operational needs, and administratively supports the executive management team and the Core group. Shagee also assists with the in-community delivery of The CARE Course. In her spare time, she is an avid runner and is training to run a full marathon.

Sarah Kesler – Sarah is an Outreach and Engagement Coordinator. She is an integral part of the Rural Site Visits Project and also administratively supports RCCbc’s Primary Care Networks group. Originally from Saskatchewan, Sarah worked with Northern Partners in Care and the Northern Medical Program in Prince George before moving to Vancouver and joining RCCbc.

Ashley Medwid – Ashley is a Financial Assistant, working with staff and physician leaders to ensure the smooth and timely flow of funding and payments for RCCbc’s numerous projects. Ashley is a recent transplant from Toronto.

Adrienne Peltonen – Adrienne is a  Research and Evaluation Coordinator , providing data analysis and evaluation support for RCCbc, REAP, and the JSC’s many programs and projects. She is currently providing administrative support for RCCbc’s new research and global health grants.

Kassia Skolski – Kassia is a Program Coordinator for The CARE Course. She attends to the complex logistics and administration for this popular traveling course and its numerous faculty, ensuring that both people and equipment arrive safely at their destination. Kassia loves creative arts and performing – she is a contemporary and urban dance instructor in Vancouver.