B.C. Rural Health Network: New Organization Advocating Improved Rural Health (Press Release)
May 11, 2019
The BC Rural Health Network (BCRHN), advocating for improvement in health delivery systems in rural communities throughout British Columbia, burst on the scene officially this past Saturday. In existence since December, 2017, the BCRHN has rapidly gained a strong advocacy reputation in the province. Meeting in Kelowna on May 11, 2019, the BCRHN came together for its first Annual General Meeting where member organizations elected a Board of Directors and ratified their Constitution and Bylaws. Over the past year, in meetings with other provincial health organizations, Health Authorities and the Ministry of Health, the BCRHN has proven to be a reliable partner as it advocates for improved access to health resources for British Columbians living outside the urban core areas.
The Rural Health Network membership elected its first permanent Board of Directors. They represent the broad spectrum of our rural and remote sections of the province. Pam Beech – Eagle Valley Community Support Society (Sicamous); Curt Firestone – Salt Spring Island Community Health Society; Connie Kaweesi – Save Our Northern Seniors (Fort St. John); Jude Kornelsen – Centre for Rural
Health Research, UBC; James Leslie – Hornby Denman Community Healthcare Society; Sue McCrae – South Shuswap Health Services Society (Blind Bay); Pegasis McGauley – Nelson and Area Society for Health; Colin Moss – Slocan District Chamber of Commerce Health Committee; Edward Staples – Support Our Health Care Society (Princeton); Elaine Storey – Autumn Services Society (Fraser Lake); and Johanna Trimble – Individual member (Roberts Creek).
Ed Staples, President of the Support Our Health Care Society in Princeton, is one of the founders of the BC Rural Health Network and has served as its Chair for the past year. At the AGM Staples stated that, “our primary purpose is to present a strong and unified voice for change and by sharing our success stories with each other we can identify our common concerns and tackle them together.” One way to help resolve these identified health service delivery problems is the emerging Community Health Centre initiative. The Community Health Centre model has had considerable success throughout Canada and it presents a real opportunity for improving access to primary health care in rural BC. In its short history, the BC Rural Health Network has grown from six founding members to 23 members, representing all regions of the province. This new society looks forward to working collaboratively with our members and partners in our efforts to improve the health and well-being of rural British Columbians.