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A Healthier You January 2012


Presented by Northern Health and The Prince George Citizen

Men's Health

Funding available to help kick start well being

Practicing & Teaching Former Olympian Dr. Patrick turner shares his simple recipe for healthy living

In Your Corner: BC Cancer Centre hires its first round of specialists

Published By



January ‘12


Healthy living

A simple plan for good health

A new hope

Cancer Centre hires first wave of specialists

4 18 22

President’s Welcome News from around the Region Grants to help men’s health

A Healthier You Presented by and Interim Publisher: Managing Editor: Director of Advertising: Design and layout:

January ‘12

Colleen Sparrow Sylvie Paillard Lu Verticchio Tyler Sabourin

Cover photo by Brent Braaten Page 3 photo by Dave Milne

Editor’s note

Sylvie paillard managing editor Prince George Citizen


he Prince George Citizen is delighted to partner with Northern Health in helping the region’s residents get on the road to health. As a result of that partnership, we bring you A Healthier You, a new quarterly magazine catering to the well being of those in northern British Columbia. Our hope for this new publication is to reach the hundreds of thousands of individuals and families within the Northern Health Authority region, which spans the vast territory from Valemount to the Yukon border, from Prince Rupert to Dawson Creek. This publication complements The Citizen’s A Healthier You Expo, held annually in Prince George with co-sponsors Prince George-Mount Robson MLA Shirley Bond and Prince George’s Multicultural Services Society. As with the expo, the Healthier You magazine attempts to demystify the sometimes daunting task of achieving and maintaining wellness. The publication strives to educate those within our reach with the latest trends, what’s going on in your part of the province and how to access the services you need to live a happier life. Here’s to to your health. A HEALTHIER YOU — 3

Opening Remarks

Welcome to A Healthier You


am pleased to join The Citizen in introducing Northern British Columbians to A Healthier You. This quarterly publication is meant to give Northern Health another avenue to connect with residents in the North about topics that can help them lead healthy lives. Topics in the magazine will range from the Northern Cancer Control Strategy, to updates on the construction of facilities such as the Fort St. John Hospital and Residential Care Centre, to tips on improving your personal health. It is a pleasure to partner with the Prince George Citizen and Glacier Media to produce a magazine that is designed for Northern people. The focus on men’s health in this first edition of A Healthier You is a very timely topic. Northern Health has — Cathy Ulrich just released its second

Cathy Ulrich, Northern Health president and chief executive officer


This quarterly publication is meant to give Northern Health another avenue to connect with residents in the North about topics that can help them lead healthy lives.

January ‘12

report on men’s health titled, Community Consultation on Men’s Health: What We Heard, which follows the initial report released by Dr. David Bowering in November, 2010. The health of men is important to Northern Health and these reports tell us that we have work to do to ensure that men are better looked after in the health care system and take better care of themselves. The life expectancy for a man in Northern B.C. is about five years less than a woman. More men also die from risky behaviours, such as smoking and alcohol use, and are prone to take more risks in personal activities or on the job. Men do not tend to talk about their health, nor do they access available services or pay the same level of attention to their health as women do. There are a number of exciting initiatives already being undertaken in men’s health across the North. One of these initiatives is the creation of the men’s health challenge website. You can read more about men’s health in the feature article (A simple plan for good health, pages 6 to 11) in this magazine.  I hope you enjoy reading through A Healthier You and that you find the information beneficial. Cathy Ulrich has been Northern Health’s president and chief executive officer since 2007. Most of her career has been in rural and northern communities where she has gained a solid understanding of the unique health needs of rural communities.

January ‘12

Learn more about Northern Health and all the services the organization provides at


Healthy Living

A simple recipe for good health Prince George Emergency Room physician Dr. Patrick Turner. — PGC photo by Brent Braaten


January ‘12

Walking will probably save the human race.


aintaining health can be as simple as walking, according to Dr. Patrick Turner, a physician at University Hospital of Northern British Columbia (UHNBC). Well being takes work. “Health is so fragile – that’s the bottom line thing that I’ve learned,” said Turner. Turner has unique expertise on the subject. The 50-year-old husband and father has been an emergency room doctor in Prince George since 2004 and an athlete his entire life – a path that led him to the 1984 L.A. Olympics Games, earning gold for Canada in the men’s eight rowing competition. It would be easy to hold him up as a prime example of wellness, but Turner is the first to say that when it comes to men’s health, there are a variety of issues to address. “We would all like every man and woman in the community to have a family physician and after 50 years of age go in and have your regular standard check up,” said Turner. “I think that’s a very desirable goal that’s been worked on in this community and the north, but there are other issues below that.” Turner sees a wide diversity of cases in his work – from trauma and injuries to debilitating disease caused by all manner of factors – and he spends his days not only treating the sick and injured, but also teaching patients how to prevent future problems. “Public health is a huge part of what our mandate is – physicians in specific should be doing it, we should be working with the community, we should be educators, we should be a resource,” he said. The main point Turner makes most vehemently is the need to stop smoking cigarettes. The 2010 Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey shows smoking in Northern B.C. is at 23.1 per cent, nearly 10 per

cent higher than the provincial average. Turner is determined to get through to smokers just how bad the habit truly is. “I see it every day in my job, in the emerg, it’s probably the number one health issue that impacts health greatly,” he said. “From what we know, it’s ludicrous that people still smoke because it impacts things like stroke, COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease], heart attacks, lung cancer as well and other forms of cancer, all those different things that are influenced by a smoking history. But we do and I understand the addiction, the habit element.” There’s a “huge pay-off” in store for the province, said Turner, now that the government has put money and resources into a smoke cessation program. Turner highlights that there’s always more that can be done. “It’s a great project worldwide and I’m glad to see that B.C. is taking it seriously. There’s still a lot more that we can do,” he said. “The smoking cessation is probably one of the greatest challenges to our modern culture – worldwide it’s controlling, curbing, ceasing smoking.” Another key way to avoid injuries, prevent disease and stay in shape is through exercise. “When [people] are not active, you see obesity right in front of you with young kids,” said Turner. “You try and give gentle hints to parents that there’s probably more that should be done with regards to diet and activity.” It’s advice most have heard their entire lives, but many see only roadblocks obstructing those active lifestyles. And northern living appears to provide more roadblocks than most. For at least six months of the year, dark days, bracing winds, snow and frigid temperatures send northerners into hibernation mode. — Cont’d page 8 — Dr. Patrick Turner

We would all like every man in the community to have a family physician and after 50 years of age go in and have your regular standard check up. I think that’s a very desirable goal that’s been worked on, but there are other issues below that.

January ‘12


Healthy Living

“ Within 10 minutes you can be at world class ski trails, you can be at the oval, any one of these venues enjoying the outdoors.”

— from page 7 But take a different perspective, and Prince George becomes a winter wonderland of excellent facilities, natural beauty and plenty of opportunities to get fit while having fun. “All the resources like the ski club, the oval, the trails for riding and running, the rivers for paddling – it’s just fantastic,” said Turner. “My wife and I do all those things and it’s just so accessible. Within 10 minutes you can be at world class ski trails, you can be at the oval, any one of these venues enjoying the outdoors. I don’t know anywhere in B.C. that has all those different components. “I think sometimes we don’t recognize what we have as much as we should. We should promote at least to our own community and to other people who come to visit what we have to offer.”


And being parents of a fiveyear-old girl hasn’t inhibited the couple’s active lifestyle, said Turner, whose wife, Nadine Caron, is also a doctor at UHNBC. Members of the Prince George Caledonia Nordic Ski Club, the couple loves to cross country ski with their daughter Aliah at the Otway trails. They used to pull their daughter along in a carriage fitted with its own skis, but now that she’s too heavy, and wants to ski on her own, the couple enrolled her in the Jackrabbit program, which provides the triple duty of teaching her skills, keeping her active and giving the parents some free time to ski the trails. “The Jackrabbit program is fantastic,” said Turner. “The idea is to get young kids basically five and up onto the snow. It’s

a great way for families to get involved, you can either coach or, when your kids are in the program for the hour, you can go out and have your own ski. “A lot of good skiers who are coming out of Prince George were born and bred in the Jackrabbit program.” Raised in Toronto by a father who worked as an orthodontist and a mother who worked in insurance, Turner’s own childhood revolved around physical activity.

January ‘12

[Physical skills] are equally as important, in my opinion in the long run as computer skills, reading skills, writing skills. — Dr. Patrick Turner

Dr. Nadine Caron, Dr. Patrick Turner and their daughter Aliah enjoy an active lifestyle in Prince George.

“I played soccer and hockey and all those things,” he said, adding with a laugh: “My true claim to fame was playing against Wayne Gretzky when we were in Atom minor hockey – our careers went different directions at that point.” And if it hadn’t been for the exceptional approach to phys ed at Turner’s own

January ‘12

school, he may never have achieved the athletic heights he attained. As a student of Ontario’s Upper Canada College, Turner said, he experienced the “Old English tradition” of education, which emphasizes sound mind and sound body. “If you have a sense of comfort and a degree of mastery in whatever it

may be – tennis, hockey, soccer – you’re more apt to be out there being active.” The concept of healthy mind, healthy body goes back to the ancient Greeks, and suggests that no matter how much attention is paid to academic skills, a person can’t be said to have a well-rounded education unless it involves physical skills. “[Physical skills] are equally as important, in my opinion, in the long run as computer skills, reading skills, writing skills.” — Cont’d page 10


Healthy Living — from page 9 Turner laments the way schools across the country have, for the past 20 years or so, chosen to cut costs by sacrificing physical education. The days of gym class are nearly gone, and that’s a serious mistake, he says. “It’s not just gym per se. Physical education is broad – you can learn about the body and how it moves and get out there and do it.” Another barricade to an active lifestyle that’s all too real for many families in the region is poverty. When a child’s participation in sports costs hundreds of dollars in equipment, entry fees, league dues and involves expensive travel obligations, some parents simply have no way of signing on. What locals may not know is, thanks to the generosity of people who know firsthand how fulfilling team sports can be, funding and equipment are available to help young people get in the game.

where the Europeans are so far ahead,” he said. “In Norway they have hundreds of thousands of people that ski in the winter, and that’s just what they do. On their afternoons off or weekends it’s a family event and they make it that way so it doesn’t cost a lot of money. Clubs are designed to support it and I think we need to learn from those examples.” No matter how active individuals are, however, if they don’t use their heads, they’ll end up hurt. Turner sees trauma routinely in his line of work, and many accident “In Norway they have hundreds of victims are young men who thousands of people that ski in the took careless risks. What winter, and that’s just what they do. Turner calls “stupid stuff, mainly involving alcohol.” On their afternoons off or weekends Each year in British it’s a family event and they make Columbia, approximately 126 people are it that way so it doesn’t cost a lot killed in impaired reof money. Clubs are designed to lated crashes and 26 of those are in the Northern support it and I think we need to Central region. And the learn from those examples.” greatest incidents of death — Dr. Patrick Turner and injury occur in the 15 to 24 age group. But again, Turner says, there’s so much more that could be done. He points to certain European countries as excellent examples of a healthy approach to outdoor activities. “I really think the key in the long term is just mass involvement, whether you mountain bike, or ski, and that’s


January ‘12

“My day is driven by alcohol related injuries.” To address the problem, UHNBC adopted P.A.R.T.Y., an acronym for Program Against Risk related Trauma in Youth. P.A.R.T.Y. was created to educate teens to the perils of risk-taking behaviour and the tragic consequences that can occur. The program is a vital component in a growing community’s effort to reduce death and injury in alcohol and risk-related incidents. “My day is driven by alcohol related injuries,” said Turner. “Traumas, fights – and it’s legal and it’s out there and we just don’t know how to use it wisely. And that’s part of our message is, using it wisely.” Every Thursday, a class of Grade 10 students from the region visits UHNBC to get a sense of what happens when someone sustains serious injury after taking a thoughtless risk. RCMP, emergency room physicians, nurses, ambulance attendants and coroners each take turns giving a pre-

January ‘12

Quick Facts:

Each year in British Columbia, approximately 126 people are killed annually in impaired related crashes and 26 of those are in the Northern Central region. And the greatest incidents of death and injury occur in the 15 to 24 age group.

sentation – often accompanied by a shocking slideshow – and walk them through the suffering of victims and their families. “There are people who are in wheel-

chairs who come in and talk about their mistakes that they’ve made and why they’re in that wheelchair, or how they lost their daughter in a car accident. It can be very powerful,” said Turner. Plenty of teens have gotten that powerful message, as evidenced by the testimonials that have poured in over the years. “We’re in the process of collecting data on it, but testimonials are very powerful when we talk to the kids or the teachers. “Kids years later come back and say ‘That program really changed my life a lot.’” So use your head, quit smoking, exercise, eat well, drink moderately or not at all, and don’t do drugs – a simple recipe for a long and healthy life. Once that’s taken care of, Turner says: “All you can do is hope for longevity and good quality.” — Sylvie Paillard, Prince George Citizen


Health Tips

Men can lead the charge for healthier families “We believe that healthier men will be better partners, fathers, providers, and role models.” —Where are the Men? Chief Medical Health Officer’s Report on the Health and Wellbeing of Men in Northern B.C.


here are a number of steps that men can take to ensure they are taking care of their health, but also leading by example for their families. This includes eating right, meaning having appropriate portion sizes and food composition, and exercising on a regular basis. We all know that diets just don’t work. Make a commitment to small changes that you can maintain, such as including two vegetables with every meal rather than one. Hungry men routinely overestimate healthy portion sizes. Sometimes it helps to use smaller plates and decrease


your portions slowly until half of the plate is covered in fruit and vegetables. Pay attention to your food while eating. Your health can be negatively affected if you are snacking while watching TV, driving, reading or working at the computer as it can lead to over consumption. Avoid over-processed foods, and purchase from local producers if possible. This not only provides healthier food choices for our family, it benefits the local economy and limits the number of kilometres our food has to travel to reach us, so it’s healthier for the environment too.

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Dr. Ronald Chapman, chief medical health officer, Northern Health Authority Men need to act as role models for their families, starting with healthy eating practices. Children drink twice as much pop as milk, when that used to be the reverse when most of their parents were growing up. Growing kids need more calcium and less sugar, so limit those sugary drinks. Drink lots of water – your system needs it. A hungry body is often really just a thirsty body, drink water first, and try for six to eight glasses of water daily. And bigger is not always better. Never super size anything. It may look like a good deal, but it is false economy. The real price you pay with super sizing is your health and well-being. Families that eat at least one meal a day together build family relationships. Let your children help you plan that meal too, and take time to teach them good food skills. During food preparation and eating, it is important that men engage in conversation with their children and partners about lifestyle choices. Physical activity is important to everyone. Limiting television, computer and video game time for all family members improves your chance of a healthy outlook on life. Children whose parents are physically active and exercise regularly are less likely to be overweight, so get out there and enjoy a fun activity with your children to strengthen your family bonds and your muscles at the same time. A walk in your neighbourhood is an excellent opportunity to catch up with your children about their day and build family relationships without household distractions. Ronald Chapman is a physician with a fellowship in community medicine, and extensive experience in the leadership and management of health services with a focus on community health. Dr. Chapman joined the Northern Health team in 2007 as regional director of the Northern Cancer Control Strategy. Dr. Chapman assumed the role of the chief medical health officer of Northern Health on June 1, 2011 in addition to his role as the regional director. January ‘12


A New Hope

Cancer Centre hires fir T

Key players have been added to leadership team

he starting lineup has been announced for the northern cancer centre’s team of specialists. Construction on the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North is not quite complete, and the agency has a lot of names left to add, but they revealed the set of key players they have signed on to lead the way. “These are the real leaders,” said Dr. Ivo Olivotto, the agency’s provincial vice president for radiation therapy and functional imaging. He was especially thrilled with the quality of candidates that threw their hats into the ring for the Prince George jobs. “Two years ago there was all sorts of concern and pessimism. We heard a lot of: how could we possibly attract to Prince George the highly specialized staff required for a facility like this?” Olivotto said. “One of the strategies that we used, and it has worked out very well, is highlighting that this is a great opportunity to be part — Dr. Ivo Olivotto of the startup of a new

Those messages rang true... they saw for themselves that Prince George is not just somewhere to have a job.


centre. Another thing we highlighted was the connections to academic opportunities, with partnerships like UNBC, the Northern Medical Program, Northern Health, the agency’s own research.” Lifestyle was also an effective pitch thrown by the agency. The candidates came to the city and met with local doctors, representatives of the partner groups but also a real estate agent who gave them a lifestyle tour of the area. “Those messages rang true,” said Olivotto. “Not only were they hearing that from me, they saw for themselves that Prince George is not just somewhere to have a job.” The successful candidates will continue in their current jobs until early 2012. Many are already engaged with Prince George on medical visitations, and with patients from the north getting treatment in established BC Cancer Agency treatment centres. These patients would be among the most likely to have their treatments take place in Prince George when the cancer centre opens. The new team joins the two already selected for the northern cancer centre: Dr. Robert Olson, the first radiation oncologist hired for the centre last fall, and Nathan Smela, a radiation therapy service technician hired this past spring. “I have great confidence that these new radiation therapy staff will become a close team over the next year and that they will bring excellent expertise to the care of patients with cancer in the north,” Olivotto said.

January‘12 ‘12 January

rst wave of specialists Other positions still to be recruited for the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North include two additional medical oncologists, radiation therapists, nurses, social workers, clerks and pharmacists. Olivotto said the hiring process was still underway and they would likely be named sometime between January and June, depending on the position. The radiation therapy leadership team: • Dr. Narinder Sidhu, medical physics leader, was previously based in Saskatoon, working with the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency as the provincial leader of medical physics for Saskatchewan. • Dr. Dilip Panjwani, radiation oncologist and radiation therapy leader for the North, most recently worked at the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre in Kitchener, Ontario, as medical director for the centre’s radiation treatment program. • Dr. Matthew Follwell, radiation oncologist, completed his Radiation Oncology training through the University of Toronto in July 2010 and recently completed a one-year specialized Clinical Research Fellowship at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver Centre. • Andrea Wolowski, director of clinical operations for radiation therapy, is a radiation therapist who grew up in Tumbler Ridge and has been working at the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the Southern Interior in Kelowna for the past decade. “She’s really looking forward to ‘going home’ and bringing her family along for that,” said Olivotto. “She is moving there to make a life of it.” — Frank Peebles, Prince George Citizen

Dr. Ivo Olivotto — PGC photo by Brent Braaten

January ‘12‘12 January


Butting Out

Quit the Nic: B.C. is helping smokers with new program needlessly die from tobacco use. By providThe B.C. Government is encouraging resiing convenient and direct support, we are dents to butt out with a new tobacco cessahelping British Columbians live smoke-free tion program that they’ve rolled out to help and improve their health, as well as the make quitting more affordable. health of their families. B.C. smokers who want to quit are In Northern B.C. the smoking rate “By reducing the number of people now able to register for the tobacco is reported to be 23.1 per cent. who smoke, not only will we prevent cessation program through Healthor delay the onset of diseases like link BC. Once registered, smokers The program is estimated to heart attacks and cancer, but also who are covered by MSP are able have an annual cost of between avoid the millions of dollars cost to receive free nicotine gum or $15 million to $25 million. on our health care system,” said patches either by mail or at their loPremier Christy Clark in a media cal community pharmacy with the It is estimated that smoking and release. reference number they receive from smoking-related diseases cost Eligible B.C. residents can receive Healthlink BC. a single continuous course of treatAs part of the program, varenicline the B.C. economy $2.3 billion ment lasting up to 12 consecutive (Champix) and bupropion (Zyban) annually. weeks with either a prescription smokwill also be covered by B.C. Pharmacare ing cessation drug or a nicotine replaceif registered program members have a ment therapy (NRT) product once every prescription. calendar year. “Each year, more than 6,000 British Columbians

Quick Facts:


January ‘12

“We know that smoking rates are high in Northern BC, and where there are more smokers, there are more benefits to the area as people are quitting,” said Nancy Viney, Nicotine Intervention Counselling Centre co-ordinator with Northern Health. In Northern B.C., the smoking rate is reported to be 23.1 percent by the 2010 Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey. This is much higher than the B.C. provincial rate of 14.3 per cent, which is lowest provincial rate in Canada. Because of the high rate of smoking in this region, government and health officials agree that the economy and health system will benefit from a program like this. While this program is expected to have an estimated annual cost of between $15 million to $25 million, the province points out that it is much lower than the cost of smoking. It is estimated that smoking and smoking-related diseases cost the B.C. economy $2.3 billion annually, including $605 million in direct healthcare costs. “This is a real acknowledgement that people need support. I think that the government has done a tremendous service to people. Tobacco is one

January ‘12

Isn’t it about time you quit smoking?

of the leading causes of preventable death. With this program, they’re saying that they want to provide tangible support,” said Jack Boomer, director of Quit Now Services with the BC Lung Association. Boomer explains that this program will help remove the financial barrier for the estimated 70 per cent of smokers who want to quit. Boomer said this program is a great support service to people who want to quit, but is only part of the picture. He encourages smokers to develop a

quit plan before taking advantage of the program. “The program is not time-limited. What’s important for people to know is that people don’t have to call right away. If they want to take the time to plan their quit, we encourage that,” said Boomer. To learn more about the program or to register, visit pharmacare/stop-smoking/ or call 1-800-666-7100. — Brianne Zwambag, Alaska Highway News


Around The Region

New hospital in Fort St. John on schedule Construction continues on the new $297.9 million Fort St. John Hospital and Residential Care Centre (FSJHRC). A majority of the exterior work has been completed, and crews will continue to work inside the facility during the winter months. Work is also underway planning the transition between the old hospital and the new facility. “The FSJHRC project team is very excited as we move into the transition planning and move management stage of our project,” says Tom Sparrow, project director. “We look forward to sharing our hard work with the Fort St. John community and region.” This is the first full hospital replacement of its size in the north, and will also increase the teaching capacity for academic institutions in the region.

CHIP helps northerners access a variety of health information The Community Health Information Portal (CHIP) designed by James Haggerstone, Northern Health’s regional manager of health information analysis, is getting glowing reviews from local, regional, and national users. CHIP allows northerners to access information about factors that influence their health including living conditions, in-


come, employment, education, housing, personal choices, and the environment. Access to high-quality health care services in northern B.C. is incorporated into the system as well. A comment from the Centre for Addictions Research in B.C. reads “Hugely gratifying to see those links – very clean, nice looking, and easy to navigate web materials you have developed.” Residents of northern B.C. can access CHIP through www.

Northern Health annual report takes unique angle The annual report for 2010-2011 is now available to the public. This year’s report includes an update on capital projects underway throughout the region, a financial update, and more. The report can be viewed at The printed copy of the report also includes a unique new fold out map of the Northern Health region that features all Northern communities, along with Northern First Nations communities and territories. The annual report also focuses on NH’s strategic plan for 2009-2015, which features four strategic directions: integrated accessible health services; a focus on our people; a

January ‘12

The new Fort St. John Hospital and Residential Care Centre is taking shape.

population health approach and highquality services. The report outlines how each region is honouring these areas.

Protection from the flu With the chill of winter comes influenza season. It’s important to take appropriate steps to avoid catching the illness,

January ‘12

or spreading it to others if you are sick. Stay home if you are sick, the work will be there for you when you return, but keeping the virus contained ensures that you do not infect your co-workers or classmates. Make sure to wash your hands correctly and often, including before and after eating, and after using the washroom. If you wish, you can still receive a flu shot

by making an appointment. It is better to be proactive as the vaccine will not be beneficial if you have already contracted the flu. These few simple steps can help those vulnerable dodge the 2011/2012 influenza virus. — Jonathon Dyck Northern Health spokesperson


Education Funding

Two new spots for nurses in Fort St. John

A recent, one-time, funding announcement to improve funding the additional seats for one year, Herbert said the access to health-education programs in B.C. means North- province has maintained one time funding beyond one year ern Lights College in Fort St. John got two new practical in the past. “It all depends on the labour market outlook for the area. nursing seats last fall. The seats will be made available as a result of a When we’re applying for next year’s funding, we touch $58,000 grant to the college, part of $1.5 million spent base with the health authority and they provide us with the information,” Herbert said. province-wide on the initiative. In contrast to past years, where the practical nursing pro“The college is pleased to receive this financial support from the Province making our programs accessible through gram has had wait lists, Herbert reports vacancies for the videoconference to students located at our campuses in 2011-2012 school year. New funding means 188 new student spaces for Chetwynd and Fort St. John,” said NLC vice president nine programs at six colleges and universities Peter Nunoda. to provide training as nurses, health-care The recent announcement means the assistants and pharmacy technicians. college will now be offering 21 seats. In addition to the two new spaces Craig Herbert, vice president, exat the Fort St. John campus, NLC plained the school’s practical nursin Chetwynd received funding ing program has been slowly to create five new healthcare growing over the last few years assistant spaces. through similar grants. — Ryan Lux, Despite the fact the govern— Peter Nunoda, NLC vice president Alaska Highway News ment has only committed to

The college is pleased to receive this financial support from the Province...


January ‘12

Question & Answers

RN finds love and joy in country living Northern Health and The Citizen are pleased to present a Q & A feature introducing readers to the men and women who strive to bring good health to northern B.C.

Jim Aldrich Profession Manager of home and community care. I’m a registered nurse with a specialty in gerontology, just finishing my Master of Arts in Leadership with Royal Roads. I’m responsible for home care nursing, home support community rehab, health services for community living, long term care case management, hospital discharge planning and the residential care facility Bulkley Lodge, from Dease Lake to Houston. Describe your family life. I’m married to my wife Mary (25 years next June). Robert our youngest, at 10 years old, lives with us. Our oldest boy is 28 and has given us two grandsons, Sacha our daughter will be 27 this year (just got married) and our foster daughter Robin (22) has also given us two grandchildren. Where did you grow up? Whitehorse until 14 years old then Creston B.C. for the rest. Where do you currently live? Round Lake (five minutes east of Telkwa). What brought you to your community? A new job, a place to spread my wings. What’s the most rewarding part about living where you do? The country living, the beauty, the people. What adjustments did you face once you settled into your community?  The country living! Bears in the apple tree, the longer winters. What made you want to enter your field? I worked in a sawmill that closed down in 1990, then retrained, went back to school to get my Grade 11/12 then on to nursing! What is the most rewarding part of your job? Working with an awesome team that is willing to make things better for our clients. What is the most challenging part of your job? Doing more with less. What do you do to cope with stress? Find a willing ear to listen and prayer. What is your favourite hobby/activity? Gardening and fishing! What has it been like to work in a female dominated field? A lot different than the sawmill. I’ve needed to be a lot more empathic, diplomatic and politically correct! Who has been the most influential person in your life? My wife. Where do you see yourself in five years? In senior management. What are your ultimate life goals? Tending to my garden while making wooden toys for my grandchildren. January ‘12

Jim Aldrich


Healthcare Funding

Grants available to help Northern communities address poor men’s health services offered in healthcare settings. In a bid to improve the state of men’s health That initiative was triggered by a report by in Northern British Columbia, Northern Dr. David Bowering, which identified men’s Health offered grants to community organihealth as a problem area for the northern zations across the region to build a men’s medical community. health coalition. In the report, Bowering noted a The deadline for grant applications On average, men die five years stark disparity between male and fewas Dec. 31, and Northern Health is earlier than women. male mortality in the region, most of now in the process of compiling the Northern B.C. men don’t live as which is preventable. proposals for new opportunities in “Most of the gap in the life exnorthern communities. long as their male counterparts pectancy – about half of it is by vioThe funding comes in response in the south. lence and injury by risk-taking – but to a Northern Health’s men’s health we also, as men, are more likely to initiative launched last November, Risky behaviour accounts for have diabetes, and complications aimed at improving health outvirtually all premature male of diabetes, and more likely to have comes for men and boys through deaths before the age of 45. earlier heart attacks, more likely to get building links between health and the cancers,” he said. community as opposed to healthcare On average, men die five years earlier settings. than women and, further, men in northBuilding healthcare services for men into ern B.C. don’t live as long as their male the community is considered vital because counterparts in the south. men rarely, if ever, take advantage of preventative Bowering noted men’s health is not just a male issue, but should concern the community as a whole. “Men are important to the health of our families and communities, and improved health for men will benefit all of us,” said Bowering. “Our resource-based economy and proportionally larger male workforce presents a unique opportunity for northern partnerships to improve men’s health.” The issue of poor health outcomes in men isn’t isolated to northern B.C., but is a phenomenon across northern jurisdictions in general. “The further north you go, generally, the worse the health of that population is in the male part of the population,” he said. His report indicates that risky behaviour accounts for virtually all premature male deaths before the age of 45. After 45, males die from chronic disease, most often left untreated until it has progressed beyond the point where simple treatments and education could substantially improve longevity. Northern Health hopes, through building linkages between healthcare and the community, both problems can be addressed. The health grants were made available to community partners who can establish and sustain local men’s health groups that will feed into a larger, region-wide coalition. The coalition sought to provide services and activities that promote healthy eating and safe, active living for northern men. Moreover, the coalition tried to establish linkages with industry partners to target men where they work. Funds could be used to build on existing relationships between community-based organizations, businesses, industry, faith and cultural organizations and service clubs. Or new partnerships could be launched through the seed money. — Ryan Lux, Alaska Highway News

Quick Facts:


January ‘12

Funding ERs

Small town ERs get money

Small towns now have a better chance of maintaining emergency medical services. A new funding option was announced in July by the provincial government aimed at easing the emergency room strain in rural communities. It seeks to give existing doctors better equipment and reinforcements to keep ER services operating smoothly. “Funding of up to $200,000 per year will be provided to groups of rural, fee-for-service physicians who commit to work as a team to ensure reliable public access to emergency services at their rural community hospital,” said a Ministry of Health statement on the new program. “Physicians will work with the regional health authority to develop a community-specific plan for how funding might best be applied.” There is $10 million available in the province-wide envelope. “The vast number of our Emergency Rooms are eligible, so we hope this will be another tool to help us sustain ER coverage,” said Dr. David Butcher, Northern Health’s vice president of medicine and clinical programs. “It should help ERs like Burns Lake where the coverage has been difficult and there have been community concerns. Accessing this funding will give new alternatives for building continuous ER coverage.” Local physicians can engage a nurse practitioner to ease

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their workload, or bring in a locum to cover vacations, it provides for creative ways of designing that coverage.” Each community has its own needs, said Butcher, so it will be up to each community’s medical team to come up with a plan if they want to augment what they are doing. The plan will form their application for funding. Applications are being accepted immediately, according to the Joint Standing Committee on Rural issues, a collective formed by the BC Medical Association and Ministry of Health. The BCMA and ministry have been in dialogue for at least two years coming up with this new program, said Butcher. The announcement was a surprise in its timing, but not in its content. “It is one plank in the ongoing platform we are building for sustainability,” he said. “It is not the solution, but it is part of a set of solutions we want to get to.” There are about 60 rural hospitals in B.C. that provide emergency services on a fee-for-service basis. — Frank Peebles, Prince George Citizen — Dr. David Butcher

It should help ERs like Burns Lake where the coverage has been difficult and there have been community concerns.


Online Challenge

Spreading health to northern men


orthern Health’s men’s health program has in- outcomes by developing resources, programs, and services troduced an interactive website designed to by bringing together networks of organizations, industry, engage men living in Northern BC to learn non-profit organizations, and advocacy groups to begin more about their health. addressing men’s health outcomes. The Northern BC Men Challenge website This website is just one of the initiatives provides health and active living informabeing undertaken by Northern Health to tion in a format designed for men. ensure that men become more engaged Men are able to access healthy recipes with the healthcare system. designed for men, active living informaDuring the spring of 2011, Northern Health tion with local events and activities, and connected with men across our region to an interactive blog with Northern Health’s help shape the Men’s Health program. medical health officer for the northwest, One of the key themes of the consultation Dr. David Bowering and myself. was the need to develop relevant health Dr. Bowering is also the author of Where promotion tools, including a website, to are the Men? – a comprehensive report on the engage men in their health. health status of men living in Northern B.C. The website is structured to provide The purpose of the website is to engage health information in an interactive format. men across northern B.C. to learn more This includes the ability for men to submit by Brandon Grant, about how they can live a healthy and achealth related questions to Dr. Bowering, tive lifestyle. Men in Northern B.C. die ear- men’s health co-ordinator and each month he will post answers to the lier than women of virtually all causes including cancers, most intriguing questions. chronic diseases, workplace deaths, suicide, and alcohol and Other features of the site include giving users the ability to tobacco related deaths. post pictures and activity logs of healthy and active living acTo address this, Northern Health is developing a men’s tivities, to access men’s health resources including the men’s health program that will work towards improving health health report and other health promotion materials, and to share survival stories of how men have battled cancer and the importance of health screenings. This website is made for men living in northern B.C. and will use relevant content from across Northern Health’s region, from Fort St. John to Prince Rupert, and Quesnel to Atlin. The men’s health program welcomes anyone interested in helping improve the health of men living in Northern B.C. to share their stories, provide pictures of active living, and most importantly learn more about their health, by visiting this website at Since joining Northern Health, Brandon has been able to travel across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about men’s health. This platform will be an opportunity to continue the conversation, learn more about the men’s health program, and much more.


January ‘12

Independent Living

Improving the quality of life for northern seniors Several provincial and northern organizations have joined forces in a new project aimed at improving the quality of life and health in the fastest-growing segment of Northern B.C.’s population. The project provided applicants with non-medical support services, which include social outreach, transportation and housecleaning for 112 Prince George senior citizens. The aim was to show what kinds of services are most needed and work best for seniors. The pilot phase of the project received some funding last fall, and the group is actively looking for ways to extend the project. Programs in the cities of Prince Rupert and Fort St. John were also initiated in the fall of 2011. “The project came about after a lot of consultations that took place in Northern B.C. The Prince George Council of Seniors (PGCOS) held a series called, Seniors Dialogues... and we organized a northern conference two years ago on aging well in Northern, rural and remote communities,” said Dawn Hemingway, associate professor at UNBC’s School of Social Work. The most common desire among the seniors studied was to stay in their own home for as long as possible, and the results from the project will assist decision makers to put in place effective and sustainable services. “One of the issues with living in the north is the remoteness of some of

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the communities and trouble with access of services,” said Marcia Leiva, Northern Health Lead Primary Health Care Community Programs Integration. “We need to look at how we can deliver these services and make them available in a way that is going to improve the lives of seniors, but that’s also reasonable in terms of cost effectiveness,” said Hemingway. UNBC’s School of Social Work, Northern Health’s Primary Health Care Integrated Health Network and Home & Community Care, United Way of Northern British Columbia, Providence Health Care (Vancouver) and the School of Population and Public Health at UBC are all involved in the project. “The partners involved are trying to pull on all the strengths we have in our community, to cover all the bases,” said Hemingway. “A really important component has been how the lives of seniors have been impacted and who are receiving these services. Also, how has it impacted other services [seniors] may need and what model would work best for Northern B.C.,” said Hemingway. There are 35 volunteers currently

A new program provides non-medical services to senior citizens aims to help them remain in their own homes for longer independent living.

involved in the project who are responsible for the transportation and social outreach. The housekeeping portion of the province was organized through the PGCOS. A list of pre-screened agencies with several different price points is available to the seniors in the project. Seniors interested in joining the study should contact the PGCOS at 250-564-9100. — Ashley MacDonald Prince George Citizen


Hospital Renovations

Vanderhoof medical staff made to feel at home A new home-away-from-home for visiting medical staff is new open in Vanderhoof. St. John’s Hospital has, for many decades, provided on-site accommodations for rotational medical professionals, students and support staff, and in August these rooms were re-launched after a modernizing facelift. “These renovations support our ability to house students, visiting physicians and other health professionals while they are working on short or long term placements in our community,” said April Hughes, Omineca and Lakes District health service administrator for Northern Health. “Our ability to — April Hughes provide comfortable

Our ability to provide comfortable accommodations helps us to stay competitive in attracting new recruits and students to our community.


accommodations helps us to stay competitive in attracting new recruits and students to our community.” The $50,000 upgrade focused on installing an additional washroom, better furnishings, some wall repairs, new paint and new flooring throughout the building. It was a 12-room structure first constructed in the 1950s to house nuns who came to Vanderhoof to work at the hospital. The money for these repairs came from two primary sources. One was a $22,000 donation from the estate of area resident Earl Laverne Moffat. Another $25,000 was contributed by the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation. “We’re very pleased to be able to help with this greatly needed renovation project,” said Don Gowan, chief executive officer of the foundation. “Part of our foundation’s goal is to become more engaged and active in all regions of Northern Health and this renovation certainly fits with our mandate of enhancing health care throughout northern B.C.” — Frank Peebles, Prince George Citizen

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A Healthier You 2012  

Local and regional health news