On September 11th, 2019, Huron Perth Chicken Farmers played golf to raise money to support Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health. Farm Credit achieved a hole in one! In addition to golf, there was also an auction. Vanden Heuvel Structures Ltd. donated a kayak with the help of Ben Lobb (MP). The proceeds from this kayak went to the Baker Centre for Pancreatic Cancer in honour of Brian Falconer. Thank you all for your support and generosity!
Under the tutelage of Dr. Al Lauzon from the University of Guelph, Emma Warren and Valerie Steckle did an in-depth study of Food Insecurity in Seniors in Huron, Perth, Grey and Bruce Counties. They highlighted the variety of issues that cause this serious health and economic problem. Their study included interviews with 76 health care providers and local government representatives. This is the first part of a two-year study that will continue between Gateway and Guelph University through 2020.
Dr. Lauzon praised the students' work and their work ethic. Valerie and Emma will be returning to their studies in September, Valerie to do a Master’s degree at McMaster University and Emma to continue her medical studies in Dublin Ireland. In the meantime, they have contributed valuable research into the plight of many seniors in rural areas with limited income and often must make choices between household expenses and food. It is hoped that this study will affect policy in the provision of affordable healthy food for this region’s most vulnerable residents.
Dr. Lauzon has provided the funding to employ these two students. This fulfills a goal that Gateway CERH has pursued from the outset. “We have always wanted to have rural health research conducted in our rural area by local students and health practitioners and to have it funded through regional universities,” said Gateway’s President Gwen Devereaux, “ the research dollars spent here are a direct benefit to our region and greatly assist the students in funding their education.”
Shanna Cardno worked with Gwen Devereaux and Sarah Versteeg in creating a literature review of mental health issues in the farming community. Studies and data from around the world show that the farm communities worldwide suffer from aggravated mental stress. Sarah and Shanna are developing a program to evaluate the stressors of Grey, Bruce, Perth and Huron farmers and develop some effective coping strategies. Shanna is returning to Western University to continue her studies in Health Sciences.
While Grace Bonnett was unable to be present, her insight into lung clinics for poultry farmers was a valuable piece of work that will lead to more lung function testing and mask fittings. Grace is returning to University of Toronto to continue her studies in neuroscience.
Gateway was pleased to host these four students this summer. They did remarkable work and contributed significantly to the health of our region. Gateway hopes that by continually providing summer research opportunities, our young people will feel the challenges of rural health and take an interest in returning to our area when they have completed their university education.
On Monday, August 19, Gateway's Administrative Lead, Sarah Versteeg hosted a goodbye party for our summer students. This was a great chance to check out her 560 square foot house and experience what it is like to go tiny. Thank you Sarah and Josh for such a lovely evening.
A great goodbye goes out to our summer students: Emma Warren, Valerie Steckle, Grace Bonnett and Shanna Cardno. We thank you for your amazing contributions this summer and hope you all the best in your future endeavours.
Farmers are an integral part of society but can be an overlooked population when it comes to providing them access to mental health resources and programs. To help address this need, many organizations such as the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and Gateway, have strived to help provide awareness of mental health issues facing farmers, conduct relevant research and create programs that enable farmers to get the resources they need. If you or your farming neighbor would like more information on the resources available click here.
This summer, Dr. Al Lauzon and Valencia Gaspard, of the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph supervised two of our Gateway students, Emma Warren and Valerie Steckle as they researched food insecurity among rural seniors. This research team interviewed medical professionals, service providers, home care staff and public health officials to determine the barriers preventing the elderly from accessing nutritious meals Huron, Perth, Grey, and Bruce counties. Thank you Dr. Lauzon and Valencia for being great mentors to our summer students.
Last week Dan Stringer, Gateway's treasurer, took two of our summer students into the clouds.
"I was on an adrenaline rush for the rest of the day! What a unique opportunity it was to be able to drive 5 minutes down the road, hop in an airplane, and go for a quick tour of the Huron County shoreline. Dan has successfully persuaded me that I need to go and get my own pilot's licence!"
- Valerie Steckle, Gateway Summer Student