Executive Directors’ Message (2022-23)
It has been quite a year, transitions extraordinaire! Personally and professionally, we have all been moving into more “normal life”. We have continued to evolve and grow our relationships, from more transactional funding streams into embedded partnerships with common shared goals. It has been an honour and a privilege for us to work with a team so committed to improving the health of rural patients and communities in British Columbia. We bring a rural physician perspective to this work, a perspective which has manifested in many different ways, from rural physicians growing, honing and exercising their leadership skills within and beyond the rural domain. The perspective brings a connection to our rural docs on the frontlines of the work and supports docs to do the work they see having a direct impact in their communities, with their patients, colleagues, and practices.
Currently, our network has over 40 rural physicians actively practicing in community and work in projects supported by the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) in rural BC. Additionally, we have over 20 rural physicians in varying states of transition in their careers who are invested in the success of our collective efforts. Our staff team has grown to 39 with folks in our Coastal, Island, Interior, and Northern Nodes, many of whom are co-hires with our partners. This year, we have prioritized supporting our leadership development, particularly the evolution of the Compassionate Leadership program led by Team Atleo, which has transitioned to Joint Collaborative Committees (JCCs) and Share Care Committee (SCC) funding, building on the foundation established in partnership with the Atleo’s by the RCCbc through the support of the JSC.
In many ways, the BC Rural Health Conference bookends our year. In May 2022, we hosted our annual event in Penticton with over 360 participants, both in person and virtual. The BC Rural Health Awards included honouring excellence in the Rural BC Community Award given to Whistler, as well as an Award of Excellence in Rural Medicine, Lifetime Achievement to Dr Lauri-Ann Shearer. Dr. Francois Bosman, Dr. John Soles and Dr. Paul Warbeck received an award of recognition for going ‘Above and Beyond’. We are thrilled to report record registrations for our 2023 Conference in Whistler.
Between these bookends, we supported gatherings for the Toward unity for Health 2022 in August and the BC Rural Health Research Exchange in November. The Rural Health Exchange included 24 presentations across the province, touching on topics including mental health, rural transport, health technologies, COVID-19 and much more.
There has been a tremendous amount of work in supporting rural physicians on the ground to facilitate or participate in various programs. These include the Rural Continuing Professional Develop (RCPD) Rural Peer Support Network and Personal Learning Plans, Real-Time Virtual Support (RTVS) simulation, Indigenous Patient-Led Mediated CPD, among others. As one physician noted,
“I think it’s really a key part of having people train in rural generalism, rural surgery, anaesthesia – is having this sort of program in place. It’s a key thing. Otherwise, you will lose people who’ll do year or two and then they’ll give it up.”
An example of ‘walking the coordinating talk’ is demonstrated by Point of Care Ultrasound (PoCUS), where we are actively linking offerings from RTVS Virtual PoCUS Practice, Rural Echocardiography Project and RCPD – Rural PoCUS Rounds.
Speaking of coordinating, we have focused on improving our own internal coordination and connections to rural communities. This has led to the development of the Community Engagement Action Plan (CEAP), which involves linking team members to a few communities and adopting a relational approach to coordinating our connections, such as the consultation to conversation work, Site Visits, RTVS community supports, and more.
Amongst all of this we launched our new website, rccbc.ca, formed ourselves as a not-for-profit entity with the JSC Co-Chairs as our board, worked hard with the JSC around restructuring our funding, and further aligning our activities with the JSC priorities including leveraging external to JSC funding to compliment this work. We thank the JSC for the trust and responsibility given, by recent changes in governance and funding flow, and this is received with respect and appreciation.
How could we not end by recognizing Dr. Granger Avery, co-founder and former executive director of RCCbc, who was recently appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada.
We look forward to working with you all next year.
– Leslie Carty & Dr. Ray Markham
Our Year in Numbers
Throughout the 2022-23 fiscal year, our core team of health leaders, staff and partners achieved several notable advances in their work to improve the health of rural people in British Columbia. Explore highlights from our network over the past year.
Our Work in 2022-2023
The Rural Coordination Centre of BC is a rural physician-led network that improves the health of rural people and communities across British Columbia. With our numerous partners, we identify and address rural health gaps and overlaps. These summaries from our projects and initiatives highlight the many achievements of our health leads, staff, and partners during the 2022-23 fiscal year.
Cultivate Relationships and Networks
We connect people who are passionate about, or play a role in, enhancing rural health equity in British Columbia—from rural citizens and physicians to municipal and Indigenous leaders to provincial policymakers.
Facilitate Rural Health Discussion
We co-create safe spaces for network partners to engage in frank discussion about rural health challenges, explore common solutions to improve rural health, and align our work as partners.
Coordinate Rural Health Projects
We coordinate innovative projects that expand our network and enhance the ability for rural physicians and other health care providers to deliver timely, safe, and effective care to rural patients in British Columbia.
Create Learning Opportunities for Rural Health Care Practitioners
We co-develop continuing medical education, continuing professional development, and mentorship opportunities in collaboration with rural family physicians to enhance rural health providers’ skills, scope, and resilience at all stages of their careers.
Advocate for a Healthy Rural British Columbia
We use our personal and shared experiences, as well as rural health research evidence, to effect changes to provincial policies that improve the health of rural British Columbians.
Stimulate Rural Health Research
We provide grants and offer other support to rural physicians and medical students to carry out culturally safe and rurally relevant research that informs policy and improves healthcare practice and delivery.
Develop Health Care Leaders
We support and develop people in becoming health care leaders in their chosen fields of interest and expertise—whether they work in administrative, medical, research, advocacy, or other positions—so their unique perspectives, skills, and knowledge can be used to the fullest potential to improve rural health.
The Rural Coordination Centre of BC is grateful to work with numerous partners—health administrators, providers and other professionals, communities, policymakers, non-profit and industry leaders, and academic educators and researchers—from across British Columbia to improve the health of rural people and communities. These partners are represented in the Partnership Pentagram Plus model. Our work is generously funded by the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues, which advises the BC government and Doctors of BC on matters pertaining to rural medical practice, and the Michael Smith Foundation.