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NORTHERN HEALTH delivers health care across Northern British Columbia, serving about 300,000 people, many of whom are Indigenous. Our services include: • Hospital care • Mental health and substance use • Primary care • Public health • Home and community care • And more

@NorthernHealth @northernhealthbc @Northern_Health NorthernHealthBC northern-health-authority

More than 7,000 people work for Northern Health, in over two dozen hospitals, 14 long-term care facilities, two urgent and primary care centres, and many offices providing specialized services. Find out more at Northern Health: Health and Wellness in the North is Northern Health’s free magazine for anyone who’s interested in healthier living. Read it online at The magazine is edited by Anne Scott and Mark Hendricks.

Get in touch! General Enquiries CONTACT FORM

Nothing in this magazine should be considered medical advice. If you have a health issue, talk to your health care provider.

NORTHERN HEALTH REGIONAL OFFICE 250-565-2649 | 1-866-565-2999 Compliments or Complaints

This magazine’s design was inspired in part by Island Health: Live Your Healthiest Life. To see the latest issues, visit Island Health’s Uberflip site. Thank you to Island Health for their inspiration!


Raven Lake Trail 2



Photo: Christina Doll

We welcome your feedback! If you’d like to share comments, story ideas, or photos, get in touch at communications@ ABOUT THE COVER: Our cover photo was taken by Mike Dunbar in the Hankin-Evelyn Backcountry Recreation area, a no-lifts ski resort managed and maintained by the Bulkley Backcountry Ski Society ( near Smithers, BC.


A message from Northern Health’s President & CEO


s we approach the holiday season, I would like to invite you to enjoy the Winter 2019 issue of Northern Health: Health & Wellness in the North.

the importance of influenza immunizations as we head into the annual flu season – as well as the contribution of all immunizations to health and well-being.

In this issue, you will find several interesting articles about how to stay safe and healthy during the holiday season – whether that is food safety, fire safety, road safety, or ways to manage the inevitable feelings of stress. In addition, there is an excellent reminder about

This issue also provides an opportunity to recognize the hospital and health care foundations and auxiliaries across the North. The philanthropy and volunteerism demonstrated by the Northern Foundations is amazing and makes a significant difference

to the services Northern Health is able to offer. I would like to thank Northern Health’s staff and physicians for their continued commitment to the Northern way of caring this past year. I wish all of you a happy holiday season, and I hope you enjoy the latest issue of Northern Health: Health & Wellness in the North. CATHY ULRICH Northern Health President and CEO


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NORTHERN HEALTH POPULATION HEALTH DIETITIANS: L – R: LAUREL BURTON, Population Health Dietitian, Food & Health; SHERRY OGASAWARA, Dietitian, Population Health

L – R: LISE LUPPENS, Population Health Dietitan, Population Health; EMILIA MOULECHKOVA, Population Health Dietitian, Food & Health; FLO SHEPPARD, Team Lead – Population Health Chief Dietitian, Food & Health

FIONA MACPHERSON was born in Glasgow Scotland, but has spent most of her life in Prince George. She is currently the Communications department Lead for Northern Health Connections and Special Projects. Fiona loves to volunteer, and on the weekends can be found at the local hockey arenas watching both her boys play hockey.

JESSICA QUINN is the Regional Manager of Digital Communications and Public Engagement, leading a team that develops and shares stories of NH staff, programs, and communities, to improve Northern health and wellness. When she's not working, Jessica enjoys exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots, or snowshoes.



JOANNE MACDONALD is a communications consultant for Northern Health. She’s worked in the journalism and communications fields in the Lower Mainland, Whitehorse, Ottawa, and Prince George. She’s now based on beautiful Vancouver Island, and keeps active by taking aerobics and Zumba classes, and exercising her Airedale terrier.

ANDREW STEELE is the Coordinator of Community Funding Programs for Northern Health. He is passionate about community development, and believes that healthy communities are the result of many people working together toward common goals. Outside work, Andrew loves mountain biking, teaching Ride classes at The Movement, and enjoying art, culture and food with friends and family.

KATHRYN GERMUTH has worked for Northern Health since 2009; she’s currently the Regional Nursing Lead for Maternal, Infant, and Child. Kathryn’s experience as a nurse and a mother helps her be a strong advocate for families. She loves living in the North and all it has to offer.

LINDSAY WILLONER started with Northern Health in 2006 as a Public Health Nurse. Since then, she has enjoyed a variety of roles, including work with Options for Sexual Health, Community Influenza contracts, BCNU stewardship, and more. Currently, she is the Regional Nursing Lead for Tobacco Reduction based out of Terrace.

HAYLEE SEITER is a communications advisor for Public and Population Health. She grew up in Prince George and is proud to call Northern BC home. When not dreaming up communications strategies, she can be found cycling with the Wheelin’ Warriors or spending time with family and friends.

DR. CAROLINE SHOONER Originally from Montreal, Caroline has been a family physician on Haida Gwaii since 2007. In 2015, she completed an MSc in Medical Humanities at King’s College London. During that year she also began her cartoon series, The Boon Docs, inspired by the comic side of small-town medicine.

Fort St. John Photo: Jackie Minaker WINTER 2019

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inter is a magical season. And fortunately, we get quite a bit of it in Northern BC! Endless opportunities for outdoor winter activities are available in the beautiful North. They’re also a great way to combat the winter blues. Unfortunately, for some, winter and the holidays are also a time of stress. Whether it’s trying to create the perfect celebration, or hosting visiting family and friends, the stress of the season can darken an otherwise wonderful time of year.

Anne Scott, Regional Manager, Corporate and Program Communications




This issue highlights a variety of articles to help you make the most of your holidays. From ways to deal with Christmas stress, to healthy holiday treats, you’ll find a bit of everything for the season. Thank you for taking the time to read this issue. We hope you find these articles as interesting as we do, and we wish you a happy and stress-free holiday season! Anne Scott & Mark Hendricks

Mark Hendricks, Communications Advisor ― Medical Affairs


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Cannabis edibles: Know the risks

24 Easy recipe: Fruit and Nut Delights

36 Vaping is the new smoking: Is history repeating itself?

11 Off-road wheelchairs bringing Prince Rupert hiking trails to everyone

28 Spirit of Healthy Kids program launched across the North

39 Cartoon: The Boon Docs

14 Snowstorms, wildlife, and ice – oh, my! Making winter driving safer

29 Christmas tree fires: Don’t let your holidays go up in smoke

40 The SmartMom program: Prenatal support in your pocket

31 Treat your turkey right

42 Don’t let the flu spoil your holidays!

18 IMAGINE grant helps students create new trail network 20 Give yourself the best gift of all: A low-stress holiday season

32 Breastfeeding-friendly spaces: Make breastfeeding your business 34 Northern Health Connections: Connecting you with out-of-town care

44 Hospital foundations: Making a difference across Northern BC 46 Season's eatings: Northern Health dietitians share holiday traditions


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Cannabis edibles can be legally sold starting in December:


by Joanne MacDonald


s the legalized sale of cannabis products – including edible cannabis – rolls out across Canada this winter, Northern Health is reminding people to be aware of health and safety risks. Starting in about midDecember 2019, three new types of cannabis products can be sold legally in Canada:



• Edible cannabis, such as cookies, brownies, or chocolate • Cannabis extracts • Cannabis topicals (products you apply to your skin, such as lotions) To find out about the effects and possible risks, we talked to Dr. Jong Kim, Northern Health’s Medical Health


Officer, Northeast, who’s based in Fort St. John. When consuming legalized cannabis products, what risks should people be aware of? Dr. Kim: Cannabis use of any kind can cause an increase in motor vehicle accidents due to impairment from the drug.

• Cannabis and Alcohol Use During the Holidays: An informative tipsheet from the Government of Canada discussing safe consumption of cannabis and alcohol during the holiday season. • Cannabis may be legal, but we need to address the public health impact: A news release from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada on a presentation by Dr. Chris Simpson of Queen’s University. • Drug Free Kids Canada: This Canadian non-profit organization aims to educate and inform parents and their children about how to reduce a child’s risk of drug use. • Cannabis – and how it can impact you and your family: HealthLink BC offers tips on how to discuss cannabis and substance use with family members; the laws and regulations on using non-medical cannabis; plus guidelines and possible health risks. • Cannabis Use and Youth: A parent's guide: The Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research provides information that help parents have discussions and make family decisions.

It can also cause an increased risk of injury in a motor vehicle accident. Cannabis use can also result in acute and chronic psychosis, with people experiencing paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations. If you have a family history of psychosis, cannabis can actually increase the risk of psychosis. What we’re concerned about

with edible cannabis is the acute intoxication caused by the active compound. For the edibles, we’re especially worried because children can unintentionally consume the cannabis. And if a pregnant woman ingests cannabis, the main concern is it could affect the brain development of the fetus, and also result in a lower birth weight.

Photo: Sandra Nickel


p Dr. Jong Kim, Northern Health’s Medical Health Officer, Northeast Photo: Sandra Nickel

Should people be careful when consuming edible cannabis products too quickly? Dr. Kim: Yes. As I mentioned, using cannabis can cause impairment. The strength of the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in cannabis is critical, because that’s the compound that determines the extent of the “high” that a person will experience. If you don’t regulate how much you ingest, you can get very impaired. And when you consume edible cannabis, you don’t feel the high right away. The effects of edible cannabis also last longer than when you smoke or vape it. And that impairment doesn’t clear itself out of the body quickly. It’s not that you’re safe to drive one hour after à WINTER 2019

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“If you’re consuming edible cannabis, start low and go slow… you don’t feel the high right away. The effects also last longer than when you smoke or vape it.”

using cannabis; the cannabis effect can take a long time to clear out of your body, and it’s different for everybody. It can take a minimum of four hours or much longer. As we approach the holiday season, can you share some tips for safe cannabis consumption? Dr. Kim: If you choose to consume cannabis and can do it responsibly, then edible is better than smoking. That’s because if you smoke cannabis, you get the smoke, the particulate matter, and the chemicals. That’s more harmful than eating cannabis. But overall, if you’re consuming the edible cannabis, start low and go slow. Don’t drive while high, and don’t mix it with other drugs, alcohol, opioids, or nicotine.

And to ensure the safety of children, if you have any cannabis, make sure you secure your supply. What are your thoughts on the legalization of cannabis, edible cannabis, and other products? Dr. Kim: My general recommendation for community members is that we need to talk more to youth about using cannabis at any age. I think legalization is better than prohibition, but not because cannabis is beneficial. It’s because of the harms of prohibition. When we criminalize cannabis, there

are lots of side effects – it creates criminal activity and certain marginalized groups can get criminal records. I’m just clarifying this, because some people believe that recreational cannabis was legalized because it has benefits. Some people believe it’s a natural product and there’s no harm, but we’re regulating it because it’s harmful. Northern Health would like to continue to work with local governments now that cannabis is legalized, and because vaping is so prevalent. When municipal governments ask for our recommendations about aligning the legalized substance bylaws, we generally recommend that vaping be regulated in a similar manner to tobacco. For example, we’d like to see No Vaping zones enacted, similar to what’s done with community tobacco bylaws.

 Cannabis-infused cookies and chocolate are among the products that can be sold legally starting in midDecember. 10



OFF-ROAD WHEELCHAIRS bringing Prince Rupert hiking trails to everyone by Haylee Seiter

Photo: Jessie Gibson


hen you meet Jessie Gibson for the first time, two things become very clear: she loves her work as a physiotherapist, and she loves her community. Jessie is based in Prince Rupert, a place she’s called home since 2016. For the past couple of years she’s been involved in a

community program called the Kaien Coastal Riders. Kaien (pronounced KAY-en) Coastal Riders is a program that uses an off-road adapted wheelchair to help people who are wheelchairbound or have unique mobility needs access outdoor trails. I caught up with Jessie to learn more about her and the program.

What is Kaien Coastal Riders and how did it get started? Jessie: Morgan Foisy — a past colleague — and myself worked together to get the program going. Morgan was a rehab assistant in Prince Rupert and spearheaded the program. Since we started working together on this WINTER 2019

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project in 2017, we’ve had two seasons, in 2018 and 2019. We’re part of the Kaien Island Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society (KITAERS), a not-for-profit in town. We have huge support from KITAERS and definitely couldn’t run without them.

What exactly is the TrailRider? Jessie: The TrailRider is a mix between a wheelchair and a bike. It’s really good for manoeuvering over rocks, roots and corners. It’s been around since the 80s and was invented by a man named Sam Sullivan, former mayor

of North Vancouver. When he was young he had a spinal cord injury. He still loved hiking, so he partnered with a friend who was an engineer to create the device, and the rest is history. There’s been lots of versions of the device since then, and our program has the most up-to-date version.

Photo: Jessie Gibson




What inspired you to do this? Jessie: Before I moved to Prince Rupert, I was part of the BC Mobility Opportunities Society (BCMOS), an adaptive sport society in Vancouver. Morgan was also involved in a similar endeavour in the Okanagan. We both moved up North at similar times and realized there was no TrailRider here, and not a lot of accessible sporting options in the community. The BCMOS supported us in making the program happen. I like helping people – especially helping them get outside. I love trails and hiking; it’s something that makes me happy, so I like sharing it with others. How does the program work? Jessie: The TrailRider is run by volunteers called Sherpas who push the rider. Anyone with needs can access the program and it’s totally free! It’s also not just for Prince Rupert – we’re open to traveling to surrounding communities. We went out to the community of Metlakatla nearby, which was awesome. The TraiRider is for whoever wants to use it: contact us and let us know if you’re interested!

"I like helping people — especially helping them get outside. I love trails and hiking; it’s something that makes me happy, so I like sharing it with others." What kind of impact has this had on the community?

that supported us to bring the TrailRider to town (there are many).

Jessie: It’s nice for people to know there’s another means for people to get out and access the outdoors. For individual riders, there’s been an overwhelmingly positive response. When they get out, they enjoy it. Most riders like to come out with their friends and family. It’s really cool to hear excitement from riders when they first experience a local trail that they might have never previously been able to access, even if they’ve lived here for years!

We have so many supports, from our own personal bike repair guy, to the rehab department at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital, which has always supported this out of work project! I’m thankful to see it as an option here. The program combines the things I love – rehab and hiking – and takes it outdoors. I’m always really stoked to get out with the TrailRider.

Kaien Coastal Riders also has a partnership with the Prince Rupert Ground Search and Rescue team. The TrailRider is available for them for training and rescues if they ever need it. Is there anything else you’d like to say about the Kaien Coastal Riders? Jessie: I’m super grateful that we were able to get the program going! I’m thankful for the community of Prince Rupert and for the individuals and businesses

We want more people to know about it! Kids and adults can use it. It’s available in Prince Rupert and for nearby communities. For more information, check out • Kaien Trails website • Kaien TrailRider Facebook page kaiencoastalriders • Email trailrider@ (currently not working well, also try


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SNOWSTORMS, W ILDLIFE, A ND ICE – OH, MY ! Making winter driving safer by Joanne MacDonald

Elk in Jasper, AB.


orthern BC roads can be tricky at the best of times. Add changing winter weather, black ice, and wildlife on the roads, and it becomes even more important to be on high alert when traveling



during the holiday season. That’s where the Northern Road Health Coalition comes into play. The team includes Northern Health, the RCMP, ICBC, BC’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and other


stakeholders. The group works on year-round strategies to prevent motor vehicle crashes on Northern roadways, reduce related injuries and fatalities, improve pedestrian safety, and develop and maintain safer road systems.

Photo: Roy V. Rea

everyone will be much safer. His specific tips? “The top factor for collisions is always speed, followed by alcohol use, not wearing seat belts, and distracted driving – which is becoming a major problem for us in the North,” says Sidhu. “There’s a stake in there for everybody in the Coalition to reduce collisions and injuries, at all times of the year. Our main goal is to preserve life.” As co-chair of the Coalition, RCMP Staff Sgt. Raj Sidhu has some basic advice for Northern drivers as they navigate roads and highways through the holidays: If you drive responsibly and follow the rules of the road,

He recommends these winter driving tips for Northerners operating cars, trucks, snowmobiles, or other off-road vehicles: • Don’t consume alcohol or drugs and drive • Follow speed limits and keep a safe distance

from other vehicles • Drive according to road and weather conditions Doug MacDonald, ICBC Road Safety and Community Coordinator – who is also a Coalition member – says it’s important to change your driving habits to be more in tune with winter weather, such as giving yourself more time to reach destinations. He also recommends these tips to make sure your vehicle is properly prepared for winter: • Make sure your vehicle is in good running condition • Check your tire pressures • Use winter tires with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 mm WINTER 2019

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• Keep your winter washer fluid topped up • Carry an emergency first aid kit with nutrition bars, water, blankets, etc. • Turn your headlights on during winter days and nights

MacDonald says before driving anywhere, drivers should defrost their cars, clean all the snow off their vehicles, scrape all windows, and ensure tail lights are visible. “If you’ve left snow on the

Sharing our roads with wildlife

He adds that during the holiday season, when people may become impaired at parties, they should plan ahead for a safe ride home, relying on designated drivers.

For Gayle Hesse, Provincial Coordinator, Wildlife Collision Prevention Program, BC Conservation Foundation, safe winter driving is about protecting wildlife and people. Hesse says drivers can take steps to anticipate and avoid wildlife hazards on winter roads.

“We want to help people help themselves be responsible when they’re driving,” says MacDonald.

“In the North, moose collisions pose a significant concern due to the size of the animal and the potential for serious injury or harm for drivers and passengers in collisions,” says Hesse. Moose collisions typically peak in late November, December, and January.

Important links • DriveBC and DriveBC Mobile, The go-to sites for road and weather conditions in BC.

As snow accumulates, moose move to valley bottoms where there is less snow and where many roads are located. Bare roads provide easier travel corridors for animals, and Hesse adds, “Moose are also attracted to the road salt applied to de-ice the road surface.”

• Shift into Winter, Information on how to stay safe on the road this winter. Take the winter driving quiz.

Hesse’s highway hints:

• Wildlife Collision Prevention Program, Comprehensive website on how to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions throughout BC.

• Drive “wildlife-aware” – watch for animals on the road, on the shoulders, in ditches, and in the treeline. • Watch for wildlife signs, placed in areas where collisions are common. • If you see one animal, there are usually more nearby. • Be extra alert at dusk and dawn: these are high-risk times for moose and deer collisions. “We have to think about the wildlife factor when we drive,” says Hesse. “Wildlife collisions can happen at any time, any place.”


roof, it will blow off onto other cars and could cause a crash,” says MacDonald. “And if your car is not cleaned off, you can’t see what other traffic is doing, and they can’t see if you’re braking suddenly.”



•, Browse the ICBC site to view winter driving tips. •, Prince George residents can call Operation Red Nose for a safe ride home when they can’t drive themselves.

Cow moose and twin calves on Highway 16 east of Prince George.

Photo: Roy V. Rea

DID YOU KNOW? Drivers have a duty of care to warn other drivers about hazards on the road. On Oct. 31, 2014, the BC Supreme Court ruled that Harris Wheeler, a driver who collided with a moose near Taylor, BC, was not negligent for hitting the moose. However, the Court ruled that he was negligent for not warning other drivers about the moose carcass, which was lying on the highway. Shortly afterward, a second driver struck the moose. That collision caused the second vehicle to cross over the centre line, striking a third vehicle head-on. In her decision, Madam Justice Watchuk found Wheeler liable for the collision between the two vehicles: “But for his negligence, the accident could have been averted.”

WINTER DRIVING CAN BE HAZARDOUS Between 2002 and 2016, there were 3,720 hospitalizations among motor vehicle occupants, and 475 hospitalizations among pedestrians in the Northern Health region. For motor vehicle occupants, December was the most dangerous month, at 9.63 hospitalizations per 100,000 people. Hospitalization rates rose from September through December and stayed high in January. For pedestrians, hospitalizations due to motor vehicle collisions were highest in the winter (October through January). Data Source: Discharge Abstract Database (DAD), 2002-2016. Ministry of Health, BCIRPU Injury Data Online Tool, 2018.

The key takeaway? If your vehicle hits an animal and it’s on the road and causing a hazard, you should remain at the scene.


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Northern Health’s IMAGINE Community Grants help Northern communities stay healthy and improve their residents’ well-being. Grants of up to $5,000 are available – for details, visit


atricia Lange is a teacher at Kitimat City High, where staff are always looking for ways students can learn and grow beyond the classroom. When she looked at the greenbelt next to the school grounds, she saw just such an opportunity. “This greenbelt is a beautiful place, and with safe trails and some low bridging it can be enjoyed by the public,” said Lange in her

 A student-built bridge and platform at the new Gyrfalcon Gully trail system. 18



IMAGINE Community Grant application. “A fitness trail in this natural environment will encourage community members to explore a unique, biodiverse pocket of nature.” The project was ambitious: it was a great place to build trails, but it was overgrown and inaccessible. To transform it, students worked with a professional trail builder to develop a plan. Then, using funds from their IMAGINE grant, they bought

Photo credit: Gerry Leibel ― Northern Sentinel

 L - R: Nick Smith, Patricia Lange (teacher), Will Stewart, Kadin Balatti, Marcus Faulcun and Maddox Medeiros take a break while building a platform for games.

the tools and materials to make their vision a reality. To date, 424 hours of student and teacher effort have gone into the Gyrfalcon Gully trail network. The team of 10 students and their teachersupervisors have built two viewing platforms, eight bridges, and many stairs. And tying it all together, a total of 1.5 km of new trail connects the whole area. Throughout the project, the

focus was on sustainability and environmental stewardship. The network surrounds a wetland, ideal for wildlife viewing and exploring traditional Indigenous foods and medicines. And with platforms large enough to accommodate English, art, and photography classes, the network will be well used. However, the real triumph is the engagement of the

students who built Gyrfalcon Gully. Discovering sustainable building practices, safety procedures, design principles, and more, the students envisioned and then created a special place that they and their peers can enjoy for years to come. Plans are already under way to develop more trails in the area, which will also find their way into the hearts and minds of students at Kitimat City High.

“A fitness trail in this natural environment will encourage community members to explore a unique, biodiverse pocket of nature.”


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Give yourself the best gift of all:






ecorating, wrapping, shopping, cooking, sending greeting cards…are you one of those people who tries to do it all during the holidays? (Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of a holiday heart attack…) It’s easy to burn out mentally and physically during the festive season. So why not plan to take things a little easier by setting some realistic expectations? Petrina Bryant says it’s important that people – adults and children alike – don’t try to do too much. “We all have to learn how to say ‘no,’ because you can’t do it all,” says Bryant, Northern Health’s Regional Nursing Lead, Healthy Schools and Youth, Population and Preventive Public Health. “People get ideas in their minds what the holidays should be like, but they need to have realistic expectations for themselves and others. Focus on having fun with friends and family, and not so much on everything being perfect.” Positive outlook One of the keys to mental well-being is looking after ourselves. Bryant says adults and children can feel better – and help prevent stress – by getting proper rest, making healthy food choices, drinking lots of water, and limiting sweet and fatty foods. “It’s fun to include kids in creating homemade gifts and crafts like gingerbread houses, paper or popcorn garlands,” she says. “Everything doesn’t have to focus on expensive gifts. If you make your own gifts, then the kids can feel included and have something fun to do. They’re also learning that the holidays aren’t all about shopping, and the gifts they see à advertised on TV.”


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Stress and your health Several major health organizations cite the winter holiday season as a major risk factor for heart attacks and other health woes. For example, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada says mortality rates from heart attack or stroke average 10% higher in winter months than during warmer weather. The American Heart Association suggests some possible reasons for the increase in heart attacks during the holidays, including: • Stress from family interactions • Changes in alcohol consumption and diet • Increased travel and entertaining • Financial demands • Ignoring heart attack symptoms And the Canadian Mental Health Association 22



notes that the holiday season can be especially tough for people with poor mental health, triggering feelings of isolation or loneliness. Bryant says the holiday season can be difficult for people who are missing family or friends. In those cases, Northerners could create new traditions by celebrating with friends or colleagues who may also be alone. “The holidays can be stressful, lonely, and sad for some people. They may be thinking of how other people are busy with their families, while they themselves aren't,” says Bryant. “In those situations, it could be helpful for a person to volunteer during the holidays, become part of a group, or make some type of community connection where you have friendships that you can rely on at those lonely or isolating times.”

 Petrina Bryant, Regional Nursing Lead, Healthy Schools and Youth, Population and Preventive Public Health

Counselling can help To combat negative or depressing thoughts, Bryant suggests that people seek counselling so they can talk about their feelings and discuss what they’re experiencing. “People feeling down should reach out to their family doctor, employee assistance program, family or friends, or health care team,” she says. “There are mental health clinicians on primary care teams in the North. And even though there’s been quite a stigma around mental health, it’s still just one part of our overall health. So, people should look into counselling if it’s needed.” She also cautions people not to overindulge in desserts, fatty foods, alcohol, or tobacco during the holiday season. “It’s a time where we need to really nurture and care for ourselves and think of healthy behaviours that make us feel good. Get proper rest, stay active, eat healthy foods, and don’t overbook yourself with too many activities,” says Bryant. “Find the things that bring you joy and focus on that.” More information on stress and how to combat loneliness during the holiday season: • How to have a stress-free holiday season: This comprehensive list from Morneau Shepell features concrete ideas on how to deal with stress so you can enjoy the holidays. • Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: This provincial resource centre, located at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, offers information and resources about stress and other mental health issues for children, youth, and adults. • Nutrition Month: Celebrating food’s potential to bring us together: In this installment of the Northern Health blog, Northern Health Matters, dietitian Laurel

Burton explains how food and eating together can create connections for people throughout the year. • Stress: A brochure from the Canadian Mental Health Association explains stress, what you can do about it, and how you can prevent it.

In December 2017, the Canadian Mental Health Association released a 15-tip list for holiday peace of mind and dealing with holiday grief. It’s just as relevant now as it was then; some highlights: • Plan ahead • As much as possible, organize and delegate • Stay within budget • Connect with your community • Remember the weather can play a part in your mood • Simplify gift-giving • Learn stress-busting skills • Talking about a deceased person is okay • Don’t let other people’s expectations dictate how your holiday will unfold • Take care of yourself and seek support


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Holiday Fruit and Nut Delights by NH Population Health Dietitians

Looking for a fun and flexible recipe? Try our Holiday Fruit and Nut Delights!

These tasty little morsels are perfect for this time of year: • Fun and easy to make, no baking needed • A great gift idea




• Gluten-free • A unique offering for a cookie exchange or potluck • Easily stored in the fridge or freezer

 The raw ingredients

 Some creative combinations You can easily change up the recipe to suit your preferences, allergies, and the cost or availability of ingredients. Keeping it simple? Try peanuts and dates. Want something more exotic? Try nuts, dates, coconut, and crystallized ginger, rolled in sesame seeds — yum! Your imagination is the only limit, although you do need a balance of dry and sticky ingredients to make the balls hold together.

Ingredient ideas to choose from: • Dried fruits (dates, cranberries)

Holiday Fruit and Nut Delights: Almond-DateChocolate version

• Seeds (sesame seeds)

Makes 20 balls

• Nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, coconut)


• Nut butters (peanut, almond, sunflower) • Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice) • Anything else that inspires your taste buds! The version below features almonds and dates, but, as mentioned above, feel free to get creative!

• 1 cup almonds for mixture plus 20 whole almonds, for garnish • 1 cup dates*, pitted • 4 ounces (115 grams) dark chocolate dipping wafers *Medjool dates work well because they’re sticky, but they can be expensive. Regular dried dates work too – just soak them in hot water à for 10 minutes to soften.


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1. Add 1 cup of almonds to food processor or heavy-duty blender and pulse until finely ground.

2. Add pitted dates, and pulse until a sticky, ground mixture forms.

3. Roll about 2 Tbsp of the mixture into a ball, and place on a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until you’ve formed all the mixture into balls.

4. Melt chocolate in a double boiler (see box for info). Dip each ball in chocolate to coat. Return the coated balls to the parchment-lined sheet, and top each with a whole almond. 5. Chill in the refrigerator until set, about 15 minutes.




WHAT’S A DOUBLE BOILER? (AND HOW TO FAKE ONE) A double boiler consists of two pots: a big one plus a smaller one that fits inside. It’s used for cooking delicate ingredients over very low heat. The large pot contains water that you bring to a gentle simmer; your fussy ingredients (for example, the chocolate wafers in our recipe) go in the small pot over the simmering water, to be gently cooked by the steam. don't let the water reach the bottom of the small pot, or you’ll burn your fussy ingredients. Don’t have a double boiler? Fear not! You can make one by simply resting a heatproof bowl over the mouth of a small pot, as shown here. Tips: •

 he bowl should fit over the mouth T of the pot without slipping inside.

 he bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch T the bottom of the pot – you want the bowl to sit above the simmering water.

 Use a heatproof bowl to make a DIY double boiler Photo courtesy of the


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Using local hockey players as role models, the Spirit of Healthy Kids program helps kids to be as active, kind, and healthy as they can be.

SPIRIT OF HEALTHY KIDS PROGRAM launched across the North by Andrew Steele

“Dad, I met the hockey Cougars! I could win a chance to meet the whole team! I need to read and exercise every day!� It's no secret that building healthy habits in kids leads to healthy habits in adults. By supporting schools to encourage healthy habits in their students, the Spirit of Healthy Kids program aims to build a happier and healthier Northern BC for years, and generations, to come. Bringing the program to life In 2015, the Prince George Cougars introduced Read to Succeed, encouraging elementary school students to read and be active. The program was a success, and in 2016 a new partnership between the Cougars, the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, Vista Radio, and Northern Health came together and the Spirit of Healthy Kids program was born. Since the program began, over 4,100 Prince George children have been active participants. Now the program partners are taking the next step and offering the program to communities throughout Northern BC. 28



Program now available to all of Northern BC The first intake for the Spirit of Healthy Kids Regional Program opened October 1, 2019, with six schools from across Northern BC being selected to participate in a challenge during the month of December: students will view a video from the PG Cougars, and then record their healthy activities for the next two weeks. The school with the highest level of participation will receive a $5,000 grant to complete a project in their school that will help students make the best possible choices every day. Every other participant school will receive a $1,000 grant. Schools not selected can still have students complete activity forms and enter them into a random draw for an additional $500 grant for their school. And while funding is important, the real win is getting kids to be active, kind, and healthy! For more information Visit the Spirit of Healthy Kids program at


Don’t let your holidays go up in smoke by Joanne MacDonald

The holiday season is almost here, and Northerners are encouraged to be cautious when choosing a Christmas tree, lights, and decorative ornaments.

“When they’re extremely dried out, they burn very quickly and give off tremendous heat,” he says. “I advise everyone to test their smoke alarms monthly and practice their home escape plans during the holiday season.”

Cooper’s tips for selecting a real tree:

Photo: Brody Bishop


ccording to Chad Cooper, Prince Rupert’s Deputy Fire Chief, both real and artificial Christmas trees can catch fire. Several factors contribute to Christmas tree fires, including sparks from frayed wires. Real trees can be especially dangerous if they’re neglected.

• Ensure the tree is green. • Check that needles are hard and won’t pull off branches. • Make sure the trunk is sticky with resin. Before putting a real tree in a stand, cut a two-inch chunk from the trunk base, so that the pores of the trunk open and allow the tree to draw in more water. For artificial trees, look for a fire-resistant label on the box. Cooper says that doesn’t

 Chad Cooper, Deputy Fire Chief, Prince Rupert Fire Rescue. mean the tree won’t catch fire, but if it does, the blaze will be smaller, and it won’t burn as quickly as a real tree. à


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Location, location, location When you set up the tree in your house, place it at least three feet away from radiators, heat vents and/or candles, and don’t block any exits. To prevent dryness, add water daily to the stand of a real tree. To see how fast a dry Christmas tree can burn, see this video from the U.S.-based National Fire Protection Association.

Critical safety measures Cooper also recommends the following safety steps: • Ensure your tree lights display a label showing they’ve been tested and certified as safe. • Confirm the tree lights are indoor, NOT outdoor lights. • Before putting them on the tree, replace old, broken, or loose connections on light strands. • Never use lit candles on a tree.

• Always turn off tree lights before going out or going to bed. “After Christmas, get rid of a real tree and when it’s dry, keep it away from the home or garage,” says Cooper, adding that most Northern communities offer Christmas tree chipping services. “A dried-out tree is prime fuel ready to go.” For more information, visit Health Canada Reminds Canadians of Holiday Safety Tips.

• Never plug more than three strands of lights into one extension cord.

Photo: Worcester Polytechnic Institute (; used with permission

Christmas trees can burn quickly and give off tremendous heat.




Treat your turkey right by Mark Hendricks


urkey and the holidays go together like… well… turkey and the holidays! Turkey is a holiday staple, but unless you take proper care, your special day can turn sour. Raw turkey is an ideal home for many bacteria, including salmonella and campylobacter. If not cooked properly, these microscopic troublemakers can run wild in your digestive system and cause a variety of problems including nausea, fever, stomach pain, and diarrhea. But don’t worry — as long as you take proper care in the preparation and cooking of your turkey, you can be sure of a safe and delicious holiday meal. Proper storage and thawing • Make sure that frozen turkey stays frozen and fresh turkey stays refrigerated. Cook fresh turkey within three days of purchase.

• Defrost frozen turkey in the refrigerator or in cold water. Do not defrost on the counter, as the outer part of the turkey will spend too long in the danger zone before the center thaws. The danger zone is between 4 and 60 degrees Celsius or 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and is the temperature at which bacteria multiplies very quickly. Proper cooking • Don’t wash your turkey, this may cause bacteria found on the turkey to splash to nearby surfaces. • Use a meat thermometer to make sure the temperature in the thickest part of the turkey breast or thigh is at least 82 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Fahrenheit). • Never eat raw or undercooked turkey.

Stuffing • Take extra care with stuffing, as the moisture provides an ideal environment for bacteria growth. • Cook stuffing to a minimum internal temperature of 74 degrees Celsius (165 degrees Fahrenheit). • The safest way to cook stuffing is in a separate pan; however, if cooking stuffing in the turkey, stuff the turkey loosely just before cooking and remove stuffing immediately after cooking. Leftovers • Make sure that leftover turkey is refrigerated or frozen within two hours of cooking. • Use refrigerated leftovers within three days. Freezing is a great option if you need them to last longer!


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Breastfeeding-friendly spaces:




by Jessica Quinn


rotecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding takes a community. That’s why Northern Health is happy to support a provincewide initiative to encourage breastfeeding-friendly spaces. The Breastfeeding-Friendly Spaces program features a toolkit to help businesses and organizations create a welcoming, breastfeedingfriendly space. It includes: • A window decal featuring the universal breastfeeding symbol, to be prominently displayed in front windows. • A tipsheet with information on supporting breastfeeding.



The importance of breastfeeding Did you know that the right to breastfeed is protected by law? According to BC’s Ministry of Justice: • Nursing mothers have the right to breastfeed in a public area. • It’s discriminatory to ask a mother to cover up or breastfeed somewhere else.

 This window decal signals a breastfeedingfriendly space.

of Northern BC organizations who are proud to be breastfeeding-friendly.

A closer look

“The library is a welcoming space, and serving households with children is one of our core services,” says Ignacio Albarracin, the library’s Public Service Manager. “We want mothers to feel that they’re not going to be bothered or judged if they breastfeed their children here.”

The Prince George Public Library is one of a growing list

This breastfeeding-friendly spaces decal and tip sheet

Northern Health encourages all Northern BC businesses and organizations to do their part to contribute to a positive community that recognizes the importance of breastfeeding!


 Ignacio Albarracin, Public Service Manager for the Prince George Public Library, with the new provincial Breastfeeding-Friendly Spaces decal.

were created in partnership with Perinatal Services BC, all BC health authorities, the Ministry of Health, and the BC Baby Friendly Network. The new program replaces Northern Health’s “Growing for Gold” program, which featured a window decal stating, “Naturally, you can breastfeed here.” Northern Health appreciates the Northern businesses and organizations who supported this initiative. When you order a decal, your business/facility will be added to a list of breastfeedingfriendly spaces on the Northern Health website. Request your decal now!

WANT TO DO MORE? CONSIDER DISPLAYING THESE POSTERS AS WELL: • Yes You Can— We Welcome You To Breastfeed Any Time, Anywhere • Breastfeeding: An Investment in Healthy Communities • Donate Breast Milk: An Investment in Healthy Communities • Mom at Work – Breastfeeding: An Investment in Healthy Communities


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Northern Health Connections:



he day has finally arrived. The specialist you’ve been waiting to see has an opening. You make the appointment, get ready to go, make arrangements at work, but then you have to call and cancel: your ride isn’t available, and plane tickets were too expensive; you have no way of getting there. You’re back on the waiting list. This scenario is all too common. If you have an outof-town medical appointment, reliable, affordable transportation makes all the difference. This is where Northern Health Connections comes in. What is NH Connections? NH Connections is an affordable bus service that takes Northerners to their out-of-town medical appointments (Sample fare: $20 one way from Prince Rupert to Prince George). Since its launch in 2006, we’ve continuously upgraded the routes and buses to better suit the North and its passengers. Seniors (60+) 34


can also use our low-cost transport with no medical appointment required. How do you book a ticket? Booking is easy! Call us at 1-888-647-4997 from 8 am – 5 pm every day of the week, or go online at nhconnections. iframe.aspx. Please book your tickets a minimum of 24 hours in advance. What’s new and exciting? We’re always modifying and upgrading our fleet. Recently, we’ve installed security cameras and GPS. The cameras provide improved security, and the GPS makes sure that you know when you’ll be getting there.

Welcome aboard!

We’ve also added a brand new X345 Prevost bus to the NH Connections family! As always, safety continues to be our number one priority. By refreshing our fleet yearly, we can ensure safe, comfortable, and reliable service.

NH Connections is a fantastic option for getting to your next medical appointment. Our drivers are always excited to meet somebody new, and are happy to get you where you need to be safely and comfortably. Book your trip today!


Affordable transportation to out-of-town medical appointments Take the Northern Health Connections bus! $20 one way from Prince George to Vancouver. For other low fares across the North, go to or call 1-888-647-4997 New on Connections buses: • Cameras for better security • GPS for tracking progress on our routes


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Vaping is the new smoking:


Photo retrieved from with permission from artist Helen Green:





here’s nothing new about youth wanting to fit in. What teen wouldn’t want to look sexy and cool? To live on the edge by testing what they can get away with?

Vaping becoming popular with youth Vaping is on the rise everywhere, and the North is no exception. "I don't know much about vaping. I don't think it's that bad,” says Haley, a 17-yearold high school student from Northern BC. “I see most of my peers doing it. It worries me that I don't know the longterm effects. It seems like students are getting older people to get it for them".

E-cigarettes appeared on the Canadian market a decade ago, and in recent years have captured the attention of youth, especially since the introduction of pod-mod vapour product to Canada the fall of 2018. Also known as a JUUL or SMOK, the pod-mod uses a nicotine-salt-based technology that creates an experience more like smoking compared to other vapour products. Each cartridge (or pod) contains about the same amount of nicotine as one pack of cigarettes and delivers roughly 200 puffs.

A new generation addicted to nicotine With vaping on the rise among youth, there’s the risk of a new generation becoming hooked on nicotine. If you vape, you’re four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes. Popcorn lung, wet lung, and other serious conditions Vapour products can cause conditions like vaper’s tongue, popcorn lung, and wet lung. Vaper’s tongue is a condition where you lose the ability to taste, as the tongue à

 Can you spot the vape?

Children and youth are often not aware of the risks and long-term effects of using vaping products. The vaping device heats an e-liquid/e-juice and converts it to a vapour that the user inhales, which may contain nicotine. This vapour is often flavoured, which is a major appeal – especially to children and youth. Where did vaping come from? The first e-cigarette was created by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik in 2004 as a way to help adult smokers ultimately quit smoking.



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develops a thick coating that can last 1-3 days. Wet lung is a new symptom that patients describe as the feeling of fluid in their lungs. Popcorn lung — nicknamed due to its link to chemicals historically found in microwave popcorn factories — causes long-term damage

to the lungs. Now, with certain e-juice flavours, the same chemicals may be inhaled through vaping.

increase the age of purchase to 21, as some states in the USA have done. We could also eliminate flavoured products to help deter youth.

What can we do?

Unfortunately, reality is more complicated. There are no restrictions for purchasing vapour products online or on the sale of used devices to younger teens. Another key problem is that there aren’t currently enough longterm studies on vaping.

On the surface, the answer looks simple: stop selling vapour products to minors. One option may be to

Having open conversations with your family members about issues like substance use (vaping and nicotine) helps foster positive relationships: • Set a positive example. Don’t use tobacco or vapour products around children. • Start the conversation. • Don’t buy or give tobacco or vapour products to minors. • Keep the conversation going. Learn more • Talking with your teen about vaping: tip sheet • BC Lung Association • Heart and Stroke Foundation Position Statement on E-cigarettes • Health Canada: Consider the consequences of vaping 38




The Boon Docs



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The SmartMom program:


by Kathryn Germuth


id you know that only one-third of Canadian women go to prenatal education classes? To help support more pregnant women, the free SmartMom program was launched in 2017.


due date. You’ll get messages three times a week (you can choose the times and days that work best for you). Topics include: • How your baby is growing • Important choices you’ll face

SmartMom texts you information to guide you through each week of your pregnancy, so you get the right information and resources at the right time.

For more info, the texts also include links to helpful websites, phone numbers, and videos.

All the information is from health sources you can trust, and texts are tailored to your

With SmartMom in your pocket, you'll have an information guide, a prenatal cheerleader,



• How to manage your labour

SmartMom is a free text messaging program that sends you information timed to your stage of pregnancy to help you acheive healthy pregnancy and birth. SmartMom is also your local and online guide to services and programs available to support you.

and a record of topics you might want to discuss with your care provider! Enroll in the program or stay in the conversation! To sign up for SmartMom, Text “Northern” to 12323 or visit

Like or follow us on Facebook and Instagram through @smartmomcanada, and through Twitter (@SmartMom_Canada). Questions? • • 1-(855)-871-BABY (2229)

TEXTS YOU MIGHT GET FROM SMARTMOM You are your baby’s DJ! The sound of your voice soothes the baby, so talk & sing to them often. Video @ Staying active actually boosts your energy, improves your sleep, & reduces aches & pains! Win-win-win! See Once contractions are regular, 1st labours last ~ 10-14 hours. There are 4 stages: What to expect @ each stage:


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“In Canada, vaccines have saved more lives than any other medical intervention in the past 50 years.” — ImmunizeBC

AS THE BUSY HOLIDAY SEASON APPROACHES, FOLLOW THESE TIPS TO AVOID THE FLU: 1. To protect yourself and those around you, get a flu shot. 2. When visiting hospitals, make sure you’ve had your flu shot. If not, wear a mask. 3. Wash your hands! 4. If you’re sick, stay home. 5. Sneeze like a vampire! If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze into the crook of your elbow or upper arm.





at Strim says one of the best ways you can stay healthy and protected from vaccine-preventable diseases is to get immunized. Strim, Northern Health’s Regional Nursing Lead, Immunization, says when people are immunized, they not only protect themselves, they also protect those around them. “There are people in our communities who can’t get immunized, such as babies who may be too young to get vaccines, people with poor immune systems, and people with certain medical reasons such as those undergoing cancer treatment,” says Strim. “By staying current with your vaccinations, you can help protect those people in your communities. The more people who are immunized, the better, because then it’s more difficult for vaccine-preventable diseases to spread.” What is influenza? Influenza, also called “the flu” is an infection of the upper airway caused by the influenza virus; it can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or face-to-face contact. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, runny nose, sore throat, extreme tiredness, and cough. Children may also have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. It’s important to get a flu shot

to protect yourself; it can be a serious and sometimes fatal infection. Where can i get a flu shot? Across Northern Health, seasonal influenza vaccines became available early in November at Northern Health’s Public Health Units, for people eligible for publicly-funded flu shots. The vaccine is recommended for and provided free to the following groups: • People at high risk: »» Seniors (65+) »» Residents of long-term care facilities »» Indigenous Peoples »» People who are morbidly obese »» Pregnant women »» People with certain chronic diseases (see health-topics/flu#peopleat-high-risk) • People could infect those at high risk • People who provide essential community services Strim adds that in BC, flu shots are also provided at pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and travel clinics. To find a flu clinic near you, visit ImmunizeBC – Find an Influenza (Flu) Clinic. Visit Northern Health Flu, ImmunizeBC or Healthlink BC

FLU FAQS from HealthlinkBC MYTH: Influenza is not a serious illness. FACT: In years when the flu is widespread in BC, hundreds of people may die from flu or its complications, such as pneumonia. Flu can lead to serious illness in seniors 65 years and older, and in other high-risk groups. MYTH: A flu shot can give me the flu. FACT: The vaccine cannot give you the flu, because it contains killed influenza viruses that can’t cause infection. MYTH: Getting a flu shot every year weakens my immune system. FACT: Because the flu virus changes over time, you need to get immunized each year to be protected against new strains. People who get the vaccine every year are better protected than those who don’t. for more detailed information on: • The flu • Flu vaccine eligibility • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine eligibility (Pneumovax®23) In addition, Strim encourages anyone looking for information about shingles or the shingles vaccine – which is not provided free in BC – to talk to their local care provider. WINTER 2019

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Making a difference

across Northern BC by Joanne MacDonald


hen asked to explain the work of the 11 hospital foundations operating across Northern BC, Steve Raper has a simple answer. “Foundations provide the difference that makes the difference,” says Raper, Northern Health’s Chief, Communications and External Relations. “Dr. Jago, our former Northern Health Board Chair, taught me that.” “They raise and contribute about $4 million per year and reach all Northern BC communities by providing the extras to Northern Health’s facilities that the system doesn’t provide,” he says. “They supply equipment and, in some cases, educational scholarships. They provide for renovations, and recently they’ve started to look at

things they can do around mental health and substance use and public health.” Lorrelle Hall, Executive Assistant to the Chief, Communications and External Relations, and Liaison to Hospital Foundations and Auxiliaries, says the foundations are all independent, non-profit societies, adding that some are facility- or equipmentspecific, while others are community-specific. The Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, meanwhile, covers all of Northern BC. Fundraising priorities are set when the foundations connect with the administrations at their local Northern Health facilities, says Raper. “They’re looking at creative ways at how they approach

"Foundations provide the difference that makes the difference." 44



health, and we’re excited about that. We can’t say enough about their commitment, holding events, and raising money for Northerners,” he says. “They’re making a difference in people’s lives.” Focus on Dawson Creek Jessica Kulla is the Executive Director of the non-profit Dawson Creek & District Hospital Foundation. Founded in 1992 and managed by a volunteer board of directors, the foundation bought more than $150,000 worth of equipment in the previous fiscal year for the Dawson Creek and District Hospital and its care facilities. The foundation raises awareness of its work through fundraising events, and Kulla says September 2019 was a banner month for community support: • The foundation partnered with Tourism Dawson Creek, Spectra Venue

Photo: Kurtis Nguyen

 Volunteers and partners celebrate a successful fundraising weekend in Dawson Creek. L – R: Melanie Sidoruk (RBC); Carrie Kurtenbach (RBC); Brette Madden (DCDHF President); Jessica Kulla (DCDHF Executive Director); Andy Beesley (VP of Business PG Cougars Hockey Club); Mayor Dale Bumstead (Mayor; Dawson Creek); Kirt Hill (President of Hockey Operations & GM of Edmonton Oil Kings).

Management, and the Encana Events Centre on September 13 and 14 to host two exhibition WHL games between the Prince George Cougars and Edmonton Oil Kings. The foundation received a portion of the games’ 50/50 draw, with additional funds raised at a Friday night gala, which featured an auction and raffle. More than $30,000 was raised. • The Dawson Co-op Gas Bar held its annual “Fuel Good” days on September 17, with 10 cents per litre of every fuel purchase

Photo: Eagle Vision

 Kevin Lowe, former NHL defenceman, now President of Hockey Operations for the Edmonton Oilers, delivers his speech at the Dawson Creek & District Hospital Foundation Gala.

going to the foundation. Staff and volunteers were on site pumping gas, raising $2,700. • The local Tim Hortons held its annual Smile Cookie week from September 16 to 22, with $13,400 donated to the foundation. “As a foundation, we committed to directing all the money raised from those events to the purchase of equipment for our hospital’s operating room department, because they’re in need of over $200,000 worth of equipment,” she says. “So, our foundation is donating

$50,000 worth of equipment.” Adds Kulla: “Our community support and momentum has increased due to these events, including having more volunteers, partners, and sponsors on board. It feels great that there’s a really good atmosphere towards us at the foundation and our work for the hospital.” EDITOR’S NOTE: All Northern foundations and hospital auxiliaries do important work; we look forward to featuring each of them in this space in the future.


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Season’s eatings:

NORTHERN DIETITIANS SHARE HOLIDAY TRADITIONS by NH Population Health Dietitians Curious about dietitians’ own holiday food traditions? We asked, and their responses were as unique and varied as the dietitians themselves. Ginger beef and dancing: “My family has ginger beef, rice, and salad on Christmas Eve, then we sing Christmas carols and dance!” — Courtenay Hopson, Prince George 46



Open doors and kitchen parties: “For my family in Newfoundland…we gather to eat, dance, and party in kitchens, around a plate of cookies and cake or a feed of 'Jiggs' Dinner' with turkey.” — Amelia Gallant, Fort St. John Digging for good fortune: “For New Year’s Eve, I love helping my mom make her famous 'banitsa,' a traditional Bulgarian dish with layers of filo pastry, eggs, and

Northern Health dietitians know that traditions are an important part of healthy eating, and that food plays an important role in holiday celebrations. feta cheese. We hide fortunes in this dish, find them, and read them aloud, with much laughter!” — Emilia Moulechkova, Terrace Fondue and friends: “We have a fondue with friends. We usually do an oil fondue with vegetables and steak; they organize a cheese and bread fondue.” — Olivia Jebbink, Prince George Cinnamon buns to share: “I spend Christmas Eve making cinnamon buns, which we drop off to friends with baking instructions for the next morning.” — Flo Sheppard, Terrace A snack passed down through the generations: “My family only prepares

‘nuts and bolts’ in December. This recipe has been passed down from my greatgreat-grandmother, through many generations, each adding their own touch.” — Robyn Turner, Vanderhoof Honouring mom and dad: “We always eat a Ukranian meal on Christmas Eve, including perogies, cabbage rolls, and borsht. We also always have birthday cake, as my mom is a Christmas baby.” — Lindsay Van der Meer, Prince George These stories showcase a variety of foods, preparation methods, and people with whom to celebrate. Most importantly, they all highlight the joy in traditions and sharing food with others! WINTER 2019

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Professional development opportunity!

Advanced Foot Care for Nurses The Foot Care Nurse (FCN) course is designed for nurses (RNs, NPs, RPNs & LPNs) new to foot care and for experienced Foot Care Nurses who wish to update their knowledge and skills. The course follows a comprehensive, advanced and diabetic nursing foot care curriculum. This curriculum is based on current best practice guidelines and evidence-based practice, including competencies from the Canadian Association of Foot Care Nurses. This course has an online theoretical component, FCN Part 1, and an in-person clinical mentorship component, FCN Part 2, conducted at CNC. It is designed to prepare participants to function as a Foot Care Nurse within a health care team.


Community & Continuing Education

Profile for Northern Health

Northern Health: Health and Wellness in the North, Winter 2019  

Northern Health's magazine for the public, Winter 2019 edition.

Northern Health: Health and Wellness in the North, Winter 2019  

Northern Health's magazine for the public, Winter 2019 edition.


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