New Rural Health Chair Announced
Prince George, B.C.- “We saw that extraordinary super moon last night, and I think the stars are starting to align” . Those are the words of Dr. Dermot Kelleher, dean of the UBC faculty of medicine on the announcement of a new Rural Health Chair.
Backed with an endowment of $5 million dollars and $350 thousand a year over the next five years, the role of the Rural Health Chair will be to work towards improving the delivery of health care services to rural British Columbia.
“British Columbians in rural and remote communities face unique challenges in accessing health care” says Minister of Health Terry Lake . Those challenges include geography, weather, available services and transportation to other centres for treatment. Minister Lake says the work will see collaboration with researchers and practitioners on how to to improve the systems of care in rural BC as there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution “The practical reality is that these areas need a customized approach to health care delivery”
Dr. Dave Snadden, who was the former head of the Northern Medical program in Prince George, has been appointed to lead this new venture. Based here in Prince George, Dr. Snadden will provide academic leadership in rural affairs, establish relevant research, and address rural physician recruitment and retention. Over the past couple of years, some communities in B.C. such as Quesnel and Ft. St John, have faced challenges as physicians made the choice to leave. Dr. Snadden says he will “Explore the challenges faced by rural practitioners, as well as what’s working for them. With that knowledge, we can resolve the difficulties and replicate the successes.”
Dr. Snadden says this opportunity will give a voice to rural health for practitioners and patients alike”If you really think about it, there are great things happening in rural practice, and I would like to help people develop that more, and let others know about these great things. We are doing great things in connecting communities, with tele-health, Doctors, nurses and other health disciplines all working together, all to give patients better access .” Yet, Dr. Snadden says there is so much more to be done “There is much for us to do to address the needs of rural patients, and it will take many of us working together to make a difference.”