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Rural health strategy top discussion at recent Northern Health board meeting

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The meeting was held on October 22, 2014, and highlighted the strategies needed in rural B.C. to support improving the health of the population, to attract and retain health professionals, and to enhance the delivery of primary and community care.

Partnerships between service providers and communities were identified as “critical to effective service delivery in rural and remote communities.”

“Northern Health partners with local governments, First Nations communities, the First Nations Health Authority, and others,” Northern Health Board Chair, Dr. Charles Jago said in a written statement. “We take pride in sharing our approach to rural service delivery with others, and we benefit from learning about ways to improve our strategies from others.”

The presentation comes a month after Dr. Jago and Cathy Ulrich, Northern Health Board Chair, met with communities, Health Minister Terry Lake, and other health authorities at the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference.

The conference included a dedicated workshop about the health care challenges and opportunities that rural and remote communities are experiencing across B.C.

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A presentation was also given on the My Healthy Workplace campaign that won national and international awards.

The goal of the campaign was to “encourage people to consider workplace habits that impact health and to showcase initiatives that promote healthy living.”

The campaign included 70 teams and hundreds of people from across northern B.C.

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“These teams participated in weekly challenges and then profiled their healthy practices at their place of work,” a Northern Health press release reads. “The campaign has led to sustained practices in many of the workplaces and is a foundational step in continuing health workplace initiatives in the future.”

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Ulrich adds, “The Healthy Workplace campaign encouraged northerners to create teams focused on taking responsibility for their health and wellbeing. We know that, overall, northerners are not as healthy as our counterparts in the rest of the province. This campaign enabled people to model healthy behaviours and demonstrate ways in which lifestyle changes can be made [sic].”

The Northern Health board says they have to recognize that physician recruitment is a global challenge, which requires ongoing work in creating partnerships with physicians and communities across northern regions.

The board says they also received a report regarding the status of recruitment of nurses and other health professionals to northern B.C.

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Another award nomination was celebrated by the board as Northern Health and Interior Health’s disability management team recently was selected as a finalist for the Canadian Human Resource Awards.

The board was also briefed on the preparedness plans with respect to the current West Africa Ebola outbreak.

The next Northern Health board meeting will be held on December 8 and 9, 2014.

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