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Rural Coordination Centre of BC

2023 Annual Report


Executive Directors’ Message (2023)

Improving the health of rurally-based people and their communities is our purpose and reflecting on all that our network accomplished in 2023 gives us pause and gratitude to see this seam of gold running through everyone’s work. The continued curiosity, dedication, and reach our Core members exercise continues to amaze, motivate, and inspire.

Connecting internally:

When we talk about our Core, we are talking about our team and our network made up of diverse groups of people from around the province including our Actively Practicing Physicians, Physicians in (Career) Transition, our partners, and our staff.

In 2023 we brought our Core together in person for two gatherings and brought our Actively Practicing Physicians together once virtually and once again in person. Core is our team, and it is also an event which brings together our network for two days of connections.

Our Core is more than just ‘meeting time’, it is the hug with a colleague you usually see only on screen, it is the side conversation over coffee which pushes ahead a new priority or initiative. It is the breaking of bread and the reaffirmation that we are moving forward together. Our December 2023 Core event was our first in person meeting since pre-covid where everyone chose to attend in person. These are all important components of the fertile ground on which networks thrive and where we continue to value and invest, building trust and space to foster relationships and curiosity.

Connecting externally:

Spring 2023 saw the RCCbc team on the move for a busy conference season carrying our work to the Jasper Medical Conference, the First Nations Health and Wellness Summit, presentations in Niagara Falls at the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada. We were present and presented at the Quality Forum, the Tumbler Ridge Conference, and the BC Pediatrics conference, among others. We brought the Rural Health Conference (RHC) to Whistler with a phenomenal turn out and were thrilled to celebrate Dr. Charles Helm for our Lifetime Achievement Award and The District of Sicamous on receiving The Rural BC Community Award. We look forward to bringing RHC back to Whistler in May 2024 before we return north for 2025.

Connecting to our centre:

Our teams traveled into community in 2023 in a way we haven’t for years. The RTVS team visited 18 different RTVS sites while the Rural Site Visits programs visited the Nisga’a Valley among 12 other individual communities. Spending time in community is a grounding experience for team members who may have limited experience in remote communities and is a way to ensure we have appropriate continuous feedback and we are focusing on what is going to make a difference on the ground.

Toward the end of 2023 we hosted the Rural Maternity Summit, bringing together communities from our ROAM and RSON projects, as well members of the Pentagram Partnership Plus to see how we can start working collectively, from a community level all the way up to a provincial and organizational level to start moving the dial on maternity care in BC.

We hope you enjoy looking through the many projects our team has been working on this past year while seeing the gold which runs through every one of them. We hope that you enjoy exploring this work even half as much as we enjoy and appreciate being a part of this team in all its forms.

– Leslie Carty & Dr. Ray Markham

A Year of Impact

In 2023 our dedicated team of health professionals and partners continued to drive significant progress in enhancing healthcare services for rural, remote and Indigenous communities across British Columbia. Discover key achievements and data highlights from our network’s efforts over the past year.

Our Work

The Rural Coordination Centre of BC is a rural physician-led network that improves the health of people and communities across rural 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 2023.

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.

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. 

Truth and Reconciliation

In 2023 our network has worked collaboratively with Indigenous communities, Elders, Knowledge Holders and consultants to address some of the calls to action contained within the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada report. With team members across the province, we are well positioned to make a difference by building capacity in rural, remote and Indigenous communities in order to close health equity gaps. While we recognize that we still have much work to do, this report highlights how RCCbc has sought to address truth and reconciliation in healthcare this past year.

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The Rural Coordination Centre of BC continues to be grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse range of partners—health administrators, healthcare providers, professionals, communities, policymakers, non-profit and industry leaders, as well as academic educators and researchers—from across British Columbia in our joint efforts to enhance the health of rural people and communities. These partners are integral to the Partnership Pentagram Plus model. Our initiatives remain generously supported by the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues, which provides advice to the BC government and Doctors of BC on matters related to rural medical practice, and by Michael Smith Health Research BC.