RCCbc Launches New Island Node with Island Health to Support Rural Physicians

by Robyn Ellsworth, Rural Research Administrative Assistant, RCCbc Island Node

The Rural Coordination Centre of BC, in partnership with Island Health, has added another dynamic team to its ever-growing roster of health care supports. The Island Node is here to empower rural physicians to transform health care in their communities.

The team includes Antoinette Picone, Rural Continuing Medical Education (RCME) Liaison, Theresa Yuha, Rural Programs Liaison, Celeste Duff, Rural Research Associate, and Robyn Ellsworth, Rural Research Administrative Assistant.

Rural physicians in the Island Health region can access a variety of programs to learn new skills, access funding, and conduct research. The new team is eager to hear from the doctors serving the 45 rural communities in the area.

Antoinette Picone, Rural Continuing Medical Education (RCME) Liaison,

“I’m here to help bring collective education opportunities into the communities where rural physicians reside and practice,” said Antoinette, who works in Victoria.

The RCME Community Program supports education in a group setting for general practitioners and specialists, as well as allied health care professionals.

“Interdisciplinary team learning is encouraged whenever possible,” Antoinette noted. “Sessions can include direct medical training, such as emergency care and ultrasound, as well as topics like cultural safety, resilience, leadership and team communication.”

Whatever your CME activity of choice is, Antoinette can connect physician leads and/or local RCME coordinators with education or course providers. She can also assist with funding and budgeting, as well as coordinating activities that may include multiple communities learning together.

Antoinette’s Nanaimobased colleague, Theresa, is here to help individual physicians access Rural Practice Programs. 

Theresa Yuha, Rural Programs Liaison

“I will strive to help you—physicians, site directors, administrative staff—in accessing incentives and supports,” she said. “Whether you are trying to recruit new physicians to your community, or access funding for rural physician visits, I’m looking forward to starting a conversation, and learning how I can best support you.”

Theresa noted there are several programs to aid the availability and stability of medical services in rural and remote areas of the island that address some of the unique and difficult circumstances faced by physicians. They include funding for recruitment, emergency care enhancement and travel to remote areas, MSP billing fee premiums, and assistance for offering MAiD.

“Each program has specific eligibility criteria and funding allocation, so please get in touch to discuss how I can help you improve and sustain health care in your community,” Theresa added.

Celeste Duff, Rural Research Associate

In addition to education and medical supports, the Island Node also assists rural physicians with research and quality improvement projects. Research Associate, Celeste Duff, and Administrative Assistant, Robyn Ellsworth, are the newest additions to the Island Node team.

“We’re excited to hear your ideas and help you transform them into projects and changes in practice,” said Celeste.

“We can help, even if you just have a kernel of an idea and don’t where to start, or need some assistance getting it off the ground,” said Robyn.

Whether you want to improve patient care, increase efficiency and/or capacity, or research COVID-19 or climate change impacts, the Island Node Rural Research team is here to support you. They can help with tailoring ideas at the conception of research and quality improvement projects, building your team, navigating and writing funding and ethics applications, designing methodologies, publishing and knowledge translation. They also offer administrative and coordination support. Robyn and Celeste can connect you with researchers, community organizations, academic researchers, students/research assistants, and support meaningful engagement of patients and/or family members.

Robyn Ellsworth, Rural Research Administrative Assistant

“And anything else we can do to make your project a success,” added Celeste.

“We know you’re busy, so let us take care of the details,” said Robyn.

The research team is located in the Comox Valley Hospital. They can be reached at  celeste.duff@islandhealth.ca, 250-315-5900,extension 65219, and robyn.ellsworth@islandhealth.ca, 250-315-5900, extension 65221.   

Contact Antoinette for Community RCME at antoinette.picone@islandhealth.ca, 236-638-1124, and Theresa for Rural Practice Programs at theresa.yuha@islandhealth.ca, 250-618-1463.