The Rural Health Services Research Network of BC (RHSRNbc) was established in May 2010, as part of an overall strategy to improve and expand health services research within British Columbia. The RHSRNbc is built upon the BC Rural and Remote Network (BCRRHRN), which was supported by the Michael Smith Foundation from 2005 to 2010. When a new funder was secured in 2010, the network was re-established under the direction of Dr. Stefan Grzybowski, which became the RHSRNbc.
The RHSRNbc is now supported by the Rural Coordination Centre of BC (RCCbc), through the Joint Standing Committee (JSC), which is funded through B.C.’s Ministry of Health and B.C.’s Medical Association. The Network strives to build upon experiences learned from the pre-existing Network, while striving to generate innovative ideas and strategies to build capacity within both the Network as well as within rural health services research. The RHSRNbc’s main purpose is to support rural health services’ researchers in British Columbia, with the goal of creating a supportive infrastructure with in which to facilitate the investigation of issues relevant to the health and health services of rural communities.
The RHSRNbc takes a multi-faceted approach to supporting and facilitating rural health services research. Not only do we maintain up-to-date information to inform members of any available grants, upcoming conferences and symposia but we also host skill building workshops, knowledge translation events and hold travel bursary competitions in order to ensure our members are prepared for and successful in the realm of rural health services research.
On Friday April 28th, Gateway CERH hosted an eclectic mix of academics, health professionals, business and banking community representatives, health unit and hospital administrators, elected officials, Seaforth and Goderich family health team representatives, creative cultural community representatives and Gateway CERH Research Chairs and Board members. The gathering was held at Gateway’s new offices in the Libro building in Goderich.
The purpose of this meeting was to explore and discuss opportunities for connecting these various sectors to advance health research in rural southwest Ontario. The challenges and opportunities involved in business development in the health care field and knowledge translation to rural residents were also topics of discussion.
The theme of the day was ‘Rural Health, Rural Economy, Partners in Growth’. The guest roster included the University of Guelph (School of Environmental Design & Rural Development), Western University (Master of Public Health and Health & Rehabilitation Sciences), University of Waterloo (School of Pharmacy), South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Alexandra Marine & General Hospital, Libro Credit Union, Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity, Huron Chamber of Commerce and the Huron Public Health Unit. Also present were MP Ben Lobb and MPP Lisa Thompson. Several of Gateway’s Research Chairs attended: Dr. Feng Chang (Chair of Rural Pharmacy), Dr. Agnes Kluz (Chair of Rural Senior Wellness) and Jay McFarlan (Chair of Rural Nutrition and Exercise).
Gateway Founder, Gwen Devereaux, said “This powerhouse of knowledge forms a Rural Health Team that will deliver better health for rural residents”.
Gateway President, Dr. Agnes Kluz declared “Research is the driving force in transforming health policy, systems and practice to improve health equity of rural populations. Through its work, Gateway provides context for the needs of rural communities and an understanding of the strategies that will be most effective to address barriers to strong and healthy rural populations”.
During the meeting, two Memoranda of Understanding were signed between Gateway and the University of Waterloo, School of Pharmacy and Canadian Centre of Rural Creativity. As well, two new Research Chairs were appointed; Dr. Al Lauzon (University of Guelph) as Chair of Rural Change & Development and Dr. Ryan Gibson (University of Guelph) as Chair of Rural Economic Development.
Gateway’s Board Chair, Dr. Feng Chang stated “Today is symbolic of what Gateway has accomplished over the years: forging fruitful partnerships, bringing diverse backgrounds and expertise to the table, contributing to student success, and strengthening the rural voice. We look forward to building on this milestone and charting our course ahead together”.
Following up on the Poultry Producers Lung Health Study held in Huron county, this is to provide a link to the Lung Health Questionnaire available across Canada. Rose-Marie Dolinar, a rural nurse practitioner and PhD candidate at the University of Western Ontario, is co-investigator of the study. The Lung Health Questionnaire will take less than 15 minutes to complete, and all information is confidential. The survey will be available until April 14, 2017, the link to the survey can be found here. Thank you.
The Poultry Producers Chicken Classic Golf Tournament was held on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at the Seaforth Golf & Country Club. Proceeds from this tournament were generously donated to Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health.
Gateway has been collaborating with local poultry producers on a research project investigating lung health. A preliminary report of the Huron & Perth counties Poultry Producers Lung Health study was presented at the tournament.
Funding for this study was provided by The Lung Association through an Ontario Respiratory Care Society Fellowship Award. The rural lung health clinics, which included spirometry lung tests and N95 respirator fit testing, took place in Seaforth and Clinton, Ontario. Rose-Marie Dolinar, rural nurse practitioner and PhD student, and Dr. Andrew Johnson, professor and researcher in the School of Health Studies at The University of Western Ontario, were co-investigators on the project.
A presentation of the cheque, from proceeds of the golf tournament, was made to Gateway at their Board meeting held on November 25, 2016. Alex Westerhout, poultry farmer and co-organizer (along with Brian Falconer) of the Poultry Producers Golf Tournament, presented the cheque to Gateway Board members Dr. Feng Chang (Chair) and Dr. Agnes Kluz (President) with Rose-Marie Dolinar and Dr. Andrew Johnson in attendance.
Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health expressed a sincere thank you to the Poultry Producers for their significant contribution to this study, and for recognizing the value of rural health research.
Thank you to the Poultry Producers who participated in the lung health study in August 2016.
This is to remind everyone who participated, to please send in your 3-month follow-up questionnaires. This will allow for final results to be reported.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Rose-Marie Dolinar RN(EC)
Graduate Program in Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
The University of Western Ontario
Supervisor: Dr. Andrew M. Johnson
Two local Huron County Nurse Practitioners, Karen Atkinson and Stephanie Greenfield, have been gaining
expertise in rural lung health assessments for farmers. Both Karen and Stephanie completed their research
placement last year with Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health, as part of the University of Western
Ontario, Master of Nursing-Nurse Practitioner program, looking at best-evidence for lung health assessments. Both Stephanie and Karen have now graduated as NPs from UWO, and are hoping to continue their lung health assessments for farmers in Huron county, in their new role as primary health care nurse practitioners.
Written and photo by RM Dolinar Aug 2016
Preliminary Report of the Huron & Perth Counties Poultry Producers Lung Health study, presented at the Poultry Producers Chicken Classic Golf Tournament, Wednesday Sept 14, 2016
The Poultry Producers Lung Health pilot study was a great success, thanks to the Poultry producers of Huron and Perth counties. We completed lung health education sessions and spirometry testing for 16 farmers on August 3rd and 4th, 2016, at clinics held in Seaforth and Clinton Ontario. The success of these clinics was due in great part to support from Kelly Buchanan, Executive Director of the Huron community Family Health Team, and Kim Van Wyk, Executive Director of the Clinton Family Health Team.
All of the poultry farmers who participated in the study went through a formal N95 respirator fit-testing protocol, completed lung health questionnaires in paper and on-line formats, and received lung health spirometry testing. The spirometry report has been sent to the family physician of each participant for follow-up with their health care provider.
Preliminary results suggest that participants found that N95 fit testing confirmed that the respirators they used passed the fit-test. Participants found the on-line lung health questionnaire easy to use, when compared to the paper copy. Twenty-five percent of participants (25%) indicated that they wanted more information about respirators.
The lung health study has a final data collection in early November 2016.
Funding for this study was provided by The Lung Association through an Ontario Respiratory Care Society Fellowship Award.
The Poultry Producers Lung Health Study could not have happened without the great support of Brian Falconer and Alex Westerhout, Poultry Producers of Huron County, and Gwen Devereaux and Jim Whaley of Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health.
For further updates, please visit the Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health web-site at
Brian Falconer, Jim Whaley, Rose-Marie Dolinar, Alex Westerhout, and Gwen Devereaux
Are you a poultry farmer over 40 years of age? Have you ever been involved in poultry farming? You may be eligible to participate in a study examining lung health. The study is being run by Rose-Marie Dolinar (PhD Candidate) of The University of Western Ontario, and recruiting all eligible poultry farmers in Huron and Perth Counties. If you would like to participate, or know someone who fits our criteria, call the Clinton Family Health Team at 519-482-3000 by Friday, July 29, 2016.
Goderich, Ontario - June 17, 2016 - Huron Bruce M.P. Ben Lobb met today with AMGH staff as well as Gateway CERH board members and research assistants to prepare for the third annual Hometown Heroes” Raise a Little Health” charity hockey game.
The “Hometown Heroes” Charity Hockey Game has put Goderich on the map as an annual fundraiser supporting Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health, Goderich A.M.G.H and the Goderich-Huron YMCA. It will be held at the Maitland Recreation Centre in Goderich on July 21, 2016 at 6 pm and will feature local NHL players, local doctors, as well as Ben Lobb in an exciting game of hockey.
Lobb and hospital staff with the medical equipment purchased from the proceeds of the 2015 Hometown Heroes hockey game. The LTV Portable Ventilator is a light weight breathing machine that supports a patient’s breath when they cannot breathe adequately on their own. The ventilator puts oxygen in the lungs, removes carbon dioxide and eases the work of breathing. The LTV portable ventilator is a life-saving breathing machine that supports a critically ill patient during transfer to a larger hospital for higher level of care.
Lobb is also supporting youth with The Summer Jobs Program- a Federal Government Program which subsidizes employers hiring summer students.
In addition to their research work, the Gateway summer students help with organization, promotion and ticket sales for the big game. This year three of the students are funded through the Student Summer jobs program. Lobb has been instrumental in assisting local youth with summer job funding through this program.
Lobb is also implementing a Student Summer jobs social media campaign over the next few months. The campaign will feature one student per week and will highlight the summer jobs program and the opportunities it creates for students in the riding.