2019 BC Rural Health Awards recognize four Lifetime Achievement recipients, community of Hope

On May 24, the Rural Coordination Centre of BC was honoured to present the BC Rural Health Awards for Rural BC Community and for Lifetime Achievement at its BC Rural Health Conference being held in Nanaimo.

Award of Excellence in Rural Medicine: Lifetime Achievement

Four rural physicians are being highlighted by RCCbc for their long service to their respective BC rural communities:

Dr. Robert Calder of Osoyoos, BC

Dr. Robert Calder spent most of his family medicine career in Osoyoos, providing office care as well as GP anesthesia, obstetric, and emergency medical care. Over the years as the local hospital downsized and his patients aged, he became the lead provider for long-term care, taught polypharmacy to peers, and provided medical assistance in dying (MAiD) when the practice was legalized. He continues to learn  to serve his patients, using technology to proactively review patient illnesses and promote screening.

Dr. Glenn Fedor of Williams Lake, BC

Dr. Glenn Fedor initially only intended to spend two years in Williams Lake; 38 years later, he is still serving as a Senior Medical Director with Interior Health. Early in his career, Dr. Fedor provided GP anesthesia, maternity care, and emergency medicine. He developed a passion for mental health service provision, working at both the individual and systemic levels to create lasting positive change in Williams Lake. He has taken on several medical leadership roles, serving as Chief of Staff and President of Medical staff, as well as chairing several health authority Medical Advisory Committees (MACs). He is a founding member of the Central Interior Rural Division of Family Practice (CIRD).

Dr. Glenn Fedor’s thank you and acknowledgement statement: “As I reflect back on this award, I look back at all the people who supported me over the last 38 years in Williams Lake – especially my wife – and I say thanks to you all.”

Dr. Daphne Hart of Smithers, BC

Dr. Daphne Hart has served the Bulkley Valley for 38 years, providing family medicine initially and then branching out into HIV primary care, methodone maintenance, and oncology. As part of her work, she sought to enhance access to care, and – through her work at the Central Interior Native Health Clinic in Prince George – deepened her understanding of social justice in medicine and how to action the principles. Dr. Hart served as Chief of Staff, and was the administrative Medical Lead responsible for developing Northern Health’s MAiD program. She recently retired in January.

Dr. Stu Iglesias, formerly of Bella Bella, BC

Dr. Stu Iglesias is an Enhanced Surgical Skills family physician (ESSFP) who provided office- based services, anesthesia, caesarean section, and emergency care throughout his career. He is a dedicated researcher and advocate for the retention of small volume rural-based surgery and obstetric programs across Canada and was instrumental in the publication of three Joint Position Papers that fundamentally shifted how ESSFPs and Obstetrical Surgical Skills family physicians practice and train in Canada. His research and advocacy led to formation of Rural Surgery and Obstetric Networks (RSON) a unique and innovative evidence-based program that supports BC’s rural surgical and maternity infrastructure. Dr. Iglesias retired from medical practice in March but will continue with his national ESS work.

Rural BC Community Award

Transport supports in Hope, BC – 2019 Rural BC Community Award recipient

Hope, BC was named as the 2019 Rural BC Community Award recipient. “In this region, it truly takes a community to promote wellness,” says Site Medical Director, Dr. Josh Greggain.

The determination, collaboration, and innovation of healthcare stakeholders in Hope and the surrounding Fraser Canyon community are particularly inspirational. To address some of its significant health equity issues, local healthcare providers and community health advocates lobbied Fraser Health for support, and successfully received $500,000 on an ongoing basis to address local healthcare needs. After a community consultation that included community organizations, healthcare providers, First Nations representatives, seniors, young families and youth – stakeholders determined that 80 per cent of the funds would be invested in local organizations to effectively address the coordination of youth, health, and volunteers services and activities, as well as addressing supports for mental health clients, rural transportation, and healthy living promotion.

The remaining funds were used to create a grants program that supports community members and agencies in generating new and innovative one-time projects to address aspects of overall community health. Several Micro Health Grants (up to $10,000 each) and one Macro Health Grant ($25,000) are awarded each year to support community-driven ongoing healthcare improvements and/or supports. Projects have included funding playgrounds, train the trainer programs, scholarship funds, access to health services, food security, and intergenerational initiatives.

Dr. Joshua Greggain and Ms. Catherine Wiebe’s thank you and acknowledgement statements. Dr. Greggain: “First, we want to acknowledge that we do our work on the unceded and traditional territory of the Stό:lō and Nlaka’pamax peoples and we have been honoured to be able to do that over the last several years. This award is a recognition of the hard work that our community does, that contributes to the health and well-being of all the people both in Hope and the Fraser Canyon. We have 1 per cent of Fraser Health’s population over 40 per cent of the territory, and strong partnerships with our Indigenous communities. I’d like to specifically highlight the Anderson Creek First Nations community which 10 years ago, agreed to have a health centre built, and through which the health authority, physicians, nurse practitioners and a multitude of other allied healthcare professionals are able to provide service on reserve for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The collaboration and openness of that community serving a population of about 1,500 in the Fraser Canyon was so critical to the health and well-being of all people in the area. As well, I am fiercely proud of my community and the members within it: my physicians and nurse practitioners work full service family practice, including the entire spectrum of family practice including office-based care, emergency, palliative care, residential care, opioids, and everything in between. It really is a partnership between community members, the physicians, the nurse practitioners, the health authority.”

Ms. Wiebe: We have a fabulous team of nurses and family practitioners that really go beyond to meet the needs of the community. Each of them selects an area of focus, looks for a need and meets that need. I also want to acknowledge and recognize our community partners – we have some fabulous community agencies in Hope. Care Transit is an excellent example. They drive 150,000 km a year to take patients to appointments and they do it all with volunteer drivers. HATS – Hope and Area Transition Society – provides service to battered women and the homeless. These are just two of the agencies that have partnered with [Fraser Health] as a health authority and with our physician and nurse practitioner community to really address the health needs of [Hope and the Fraser Canyon]. So really, this truly is a community award – it’s about partnership and integration and working together to meet the needs of our community. 

Dr. Greggain: We’ll be happy to share the award back with the community at an…event where we’ll be inviting everyone to participate and celebrate…the hard work that the entire community has done – they ALL earned a part of it. 

RCCbc thanks everyone who put forth a nomination for the 2019 BC Rural Health Awards. We encourage you to think about who you would like to nominate for recognition in 2020. New criteria will be posted and Award nomination forms will be available in Fall/Winter 2019.