The Rural Health Services Research Network of BC (RHSRNbc) is creating a supportive infrastructure to facilitate the investigation of issues relevant to rural health services from the perspective of the population, health services, and clinicians. Its mission is to achieve and support excellence in rural health services by, for, and with Indigenous and non-Indigenous rural communities, providers, and researchers. The goal of the Network is to increase communication, collaboration, and capacity for better research and health outcomes for rural communities. The Network is housed within UBC’s Faculty of Medicine (Department of Family Practice) and funded through the Rural Coordination Centre of BC (RCCbc).
“We are doing something different, releasing a freely accessible and interactive learning hub resource tailored to youth on an open-source platform [known as Pressbooks]. By incorporating video-based interviews, a narrative component, seminar-type questions, scholarly content, and a list of recommendations, I believe that this will be a resource that can help inspire the formation of resilient rural communities in the face of climate change and ecosystem disruption.”
Hosted a research symposium centered around rural community resilience
In May 2022, the RHSRNbc hosted a two day virtual research symposium focused on the ‘Resilient Transformation of Rural Communities’.
The goal was to foster a learning community to explore and understand perspectives related to building resilient and transformative rural communities in the face of climate change and ecosystem disruption, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, through engagement and collaboration with physicians, community members, and Indigenous peoples. By considering these perspectives, the team generated a series of recommendations that can bolster rural community resiliency, as well as strategies for how these recommendations can be implemented. Through reflection and exploration, they developed a collective understanding of how, moving forward, their activities as researchers, educators, and planners can contribute to transformative change.
One of the key outputs of this symposium was the development of co-creative relationships, including the establishment of a post-symposium group with a focus on discussing the development of projects focused on building rural community resilience.
Published a learning hub/book on climate change and ecosystem disruption in rural communities
On March 29, 2022, the RHSRNbc and CCEDARR (Enhancing Rural Community Resiliency to Climate Change and Ecosystem Disruption) Research Teams collectively launched a learning hub/book publication titled Building Resilient Rural Communities: Responding to Climate Change and Ecosystem Disruption.
With a target audience of youth and educators who have a keen interest in inspiring collective change, the team adopted different strategies to engage learners. Using a combination of scholarly materials, video-based interviews, narrative pieces and a discussion series, they have been able to blend more “classic” approaches to learning with storytelling formats that highlight a variety of viewpoints within rural communities. The result is an in-depth and personalized learning experience, featuring perspectives from educators, clinicians, rural and Indigenous community members, researchers and students.
The team also included summary infographics to provide visual representations of key concepts, plus recommendations allowing for more introspection and reflection.
Enhanced the FLEX Student Program
During 2022-23, the RHSRNbc FLEX Student Program, which provides medical students with an opportunity to explore in-depth, rural-focused scholarly activities, produced a number of notable outputs.
In August 2022, Maya Venkataraman, a FLEX student from 2021, published her piece on Environmental Racism in Canada alongside Stefan Grzybowski, Darlene Sanderson, Jordie Fischer, and Arlin Cherian. More recently, the team have worked extensively with Luke Barbour to oversee his publication on Payment Models in the Context of Rural Communities, which has been submitted. Lastly, Dr. Grzybowski and Kishore Hari have collaborated with Haedan Turner and Aria Rezapour to develop a commentary piece focused on the current state of rural medicine.
Three new FLEX students were recruited to work on a range of new projects. These projects will focus on topics including the gap in pediatric healthcare in rural populations, comparisons between rural health systems in Canada, Australia, and the UK, plus team dynamics in the rural emergency department between nurses and doctors, and how this impacts job satisfaction.
Building Resilient Rural Communities
Responding to Climate Change & Ecosystem Disruption
Centre for Rural Health Research and Rural Health Services Research Network of BC
Explore the Numbers
2 Day Symposium Hosted
‘Resilient Transformation of Rural Communities’, a virtual research symposium was hosted by RHSRNbc in May 2022.
RHSRNbc awarded two collaborative team building awards in the past year.
Plans for the Future
In terms of upcoming projects for 2023-24, the RHSRNbc hopes to build and revise their newly published book, adding new content and perspectives from community members to enhance the understanding of climate change and ecosystem disruption.
The publication has already received an overwhelming amount of support and positive feedback following the release in early 2022. “Attending to how people feel from a grief and hopelessness standpoint is extremely important” said Dr. Sarah Newbery, Associate Dean of Physician Workforce Strategy at NOSM.
Additionally, they will continue working with collaborators to address the goals of their organization, as well as continue to expand the FLEX student program.
Dr. Stefan Grzybowski
Research Network Coordinator