Press items - 2009:

CLICK ‘N CLINIC -- Health society computer campaign makes it to the finals

Flying Shingle, December 31, 2009

Gabriolans have clicked their way into being one of 25 finalists in a contest to secure up to $250,000 for a new medical clinic and Emergency Treatment Room (ETR).

The online contest is sponsored by the Aviva Insurance Corporation, which will fund at least one small-sized project of less than $10,000, one between $10,000 and $50,000, and one project asking for between $50,000 and $250,000.

Judith Graham of the Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) got wind of the grant, wrote up a description of her society’s efforts to build a permanent ETR and a medical clinic to house it in and submitted the application online. Out of 2007 submitted ideas, the clinic idea made it into the final competition between the top 62 ideas, and during the last round of voting hovered between the top 10th and 15th position until the final day when, according to GHCS organiser Nancy Nevison it ended in the twentieth position with 19,150 votes. From here judges will determine which projects Aviva will sponsor.

In a mass email, Nevison thanked everyone “for making Gabriola, ‘the little Island with the big idea’, into the judging finals. Jan. 25, 2010 (the date contest winners will be announced) should be exciting!”

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Year of the Clinic’ kickoff on Jan. 9
Gabriola clinic places 20th to head into AVIVA finals

Derek Kilbourn,, Gabriola Sounder, Thursday, December 24, 2009

Coming in officially at 20th position, the Gabriola Health Care Society’s (GHCS) entry into the AVIVA competition has now moved on to the final judging stage.

With an official vote count of 19,150 votes, the Society’s entry was up and down in the standings the last three days of the competition, prompting plenty of emails, reminders and lots of logging on by community members to ensure GHCS would finish in the top 25.

Brenda Fowler, GHCS president said, “This was a fantastic experience for sure. I don’t think there is any other community in Canada our size that could pull this off. We’re in the running for a considerable contribution for our clinic.

“Aside from the campaign to raise funds, it has coalesced the community around the need for the clinic and for the support amongst us that it needs to happen earlier rather than later.”

The final results of the AVIVA competition will be released on January 25th.

In the meantime, the GHCS will be hosting a kickoff for “2010 Year of the Clinic”, January 9th, at the Community Hall from 10am-4pm. There is something planned for every age group including music and food.

The temporary office in the Village, donated by Steve Wohlleben, will be open over the holidays from 10am-2pm.

The Gabriola Health Care Auxiliary has set up a “living tree” (donated by Wild Rose Nursery) where donors can purchase a leaf of any color (red $20; blue $200; green $2,000) and 100 percent of the proceeds go to support the clinic campaign. There are also “tinys for a toonie” (tiny leaves) available.

Brenda said, “We’ve had great support from all age groups. Kids from the school voted, seniors voted, our disadvantaged voted, our off-island snowbirds voted, those of us who are able-bodied and well-retired voted. It is a wonderful celebration of local community at its very best.

“This campaign has put us in people’s minds. When people are making donations at the end of the year they are thinking of us.”

Donations can be made online, through the GHCS website: Brenda said, “It’s time to do that before the end of the tax year.

“All these donations, big or small, will make a difference.”

For those who shop at the Co-op gas station, Brenda explained, “A Co-op number is set up for us, 100 percent of your gas rebate will go to the foundation.

“The GHCF (Gabriola Health Care Foundation) number is 611459. Buy gas, buy often and buy at the Co-op. That is painless giving and there again, if we can match the AVIVA fund with that kind of painless giving, that’s fantastic. And if some people open up their wallets and write some cheques we could have the clinic ground broken by the end of next year.”

As for the design of the new clinic building, Brenda said, “We’ve done the survey work. We’re now hitting the Christmas season, so some of the geotech work is more difficult to schedule. We anticipate by the time we have the AVIVA decision we’ll know if the site is suitable, and we do have a ‘Plan B’.”

Nancy Nevison, chair of the Gabriola Health Care Auxiliary, emailed about what is going to happen at the opening day of the 2010 Year of the Clinic. “All sorts of planned games for kids of all ages: bring your teddy bear and dolls to visit the doctors; vote for your favourite display of an upcoming event; view the past, present and future of our islands’ health care; guess how many “pills” it takes to make the medicine go down; have your picture taken ‘dressed in’ a firefighter’s outfit; guess who is being taken away on the stretcher; enjoy healthy foods, locally grown; race with a walker; put together your own ambulance; see some selected pieces of the Crone’s project of seniors; guess the use of different tools at the 4-H table; vote for your favourite display of many upcoming Auxiliary events; volunteer to donate a little time or money while you meet and mingle; eat or watch the foundation’s DVD (as presented in the AVIVA Community Fund Competition-Judging Finals) and maybe win some door prizes.”

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Wohlleben offers office space for health society funding campaign

Flying Shingle, Thursday, December 18, 2009

Nancy Nevison and Judith Graham

Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) members Nancy Nevison and Judith Graham hold up a fundraising calendar in front of a list of fundraising events in their temporary office. ~ Photo by Chris Bowers

Folklife Village owner Steve Wohlleben has provided a store-front rent-free office for the month of December to GHCS fundraisers so they can organize a Jan. 9 kick-off event meant to inform the community of all the GHCS fundraisers in store for 2010.

The society intends to build a permanent emergency treatment room and doctors’ clinic for doctors currently operating out of the clinic at Twin Beaches mall. The new clinic will be built on the lands presently occupied by the Women’s Institute on South Road.

GHCS member Nancy Nevison said the village office was put to use immediately to provide a central location and computers for Gabriolans to drop in and vote in a contest that could deliver up to $250,000 towards funding for their clinic (see story this edition). GHCS member Judith Graham said that a Gabriolan who wishes to remain anonymous has offered to pay for the hydro and heating for the month.

Nevison said the location has already been successful, as many people have dropped in to find out what was happening and have volunteered to help out with one or more of the planned events. She said: “It is just exciting being here, because everyday somebody comes in to say good job, say thank you, make a donation, or help out”.

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Popularity Contest For Funding

Strait of Georgia Island Tides, December 17, 2009

Aviva Canada is an insurance corporation which holds an online competition to determine which non-profit projects will receive its corporate funding for 2009. The Gabriola Health Care Foundation has made it to the semi-finals and at press time is third in the voting. The top 25 most voted for online continue into the final judging for their project to receive up to $250,000.

The project is an Emergency and Primary Health Care Clinic for Gabriola. For medical emergencies, islanders are currently reliant on an hourly ferry system with no coverage for callouts overnight to reach the hospital in Nanaimo.

Voting ends December 16 and if the Gabriola Health Care Centre makes it to the top 25, the next level of competition is a panel of judges who assess the projects. Go to to monitor the progress of the Gabriola Health Care Centre and others in the competition.

2010 is The Year of the Clinic on Gabriola and the kick-off for the fundraising campaign is Saturday, January 9 at the Gabriola Community Hall.

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$16,000 from VIHA funding wellness for Gabriolans

Derek Kilbourn,, Gabriola Sounder, Monday, December 14, 2009

A new wellness program has been launched through the Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) on Gabriola with $16,000 in funding from the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA).

Roughly 200 people gathered in the Agi Hall this past week, to hear presentations from wellness providers and program representatives on how the program works.

Nurse practitioner, Kay Holt, was thanked by Dr. Francois Bosman as being the driving force behind bringing the program to Gabriola.

Dave Innell, chair of the data and services committee of the GHCS explained, “We’re essentially the contractors with VIHA to deliver this on island.

“It enables people who are registered with the IHN [integrated health network] to access a range of wellness services on Gabriola at no cost to themselves, fully funded through VIHA through us.”

Kay added, “The doctors and I are a team; we link with the IHN. Because the GHCS is a registered charity it has attracted funding from VIHA to supply funding locally.”

The $16,000 is hoped to last for at least seven months and potentially up to a year.

Asked if this was to provide an alternative to wellness programs in Nanaimo, Kay explained the patients, “probably wouldn’t have gone to Nanaimo. There are services in Nanaimo, but people haven’t been accessing them for the past year, which is why we’ve pushed to get funding to offer services here on Gabriola.”

Part of the barrier is accessing services across the water, but as Dave and Kay explained, there were other barriers to patients accessing wellness such as financial ones.

Another is a patient’s willingness to start a program.

Kay said, “The aim is wellness and patient self-management, getting people involved in their own health care. As the practitioners at the clinic we see them for managing their diseases but we’re trying to empower them to get involved in exercise programs.”

Dave added, “There are two things. It means people don’t have to go to Nanaimo to access these services. It also means we’re supporting the local practitioners.”

Kay said, “Working with patients, one of the things we’d often find was we would say ‘we’d like you to lose weight, we’d like you to exercise’. But that’s all we could say.

“Now we can say we’d like to link you to the IHN team and we’ve got access to these services. So it’s like we can prescribe them exercise or art therapy. It helps with our management of them. A lot of patients are empowered and will join the gym, but there are financial implications. If we can offer them three to six months as a boost it will get them on the right track.”

The program is for residents over 55 with two or more chronic conditions.

There is a list of 220 people who are currently on the IHN network who have all been contacted about the program and invited to take part.

Those who believe they should be on the IHN network list are advised to speak to their family physician.

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Just three more days left to vote for the Gabriola Emergency and Medical Clinic

Brenda Fowler, Gabriola Health Care Society, Gabriola Sounder, Monday, December 14, 2009

Gabriola, the “little island with the big idea,” entered in the Aviva Community Fund Competition, has had people from across Canada, the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, the Netherlands, South Africa, Israel and Britain all voting for our community clinic. We certainly do live in a global village!

The last two weeks have been fantastic. It has been amazing to follow the “comments” on the AVIVA voting site for our proposed Emergency & Medical Clinic.

What a big “thank you” we owe everyone who voted, who voted every day, and who got their friends and family to vote! All of us know we live in a dynamic community but with well over 13,000 votes (as of Sunday evening, hoping for 16,000 by the final voting day) in just two weeks of the semifinals, we know we are alive and kicking!

Remember, if you are not able to vote online at home or at work, volunteers from the Gabriola Health Care Society will be in the Village, next to the library, with computers available from 10am till 2pm daily until December 16th.

December 17th the volunteers will be gathering in the Village space to announce whether Gabriola has made it past the voting stages and gotten in to the judging finals!

Whether you voted or not, mark your calendar for Saturday, January 9th, and join us at our kick-off day of celebrating the “2010-Year of the Clinic” campaign, 11am-4pm, at the Community Hall.

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GHCS seeking votes to make it to AVIVA finals

Derek Kilbourn,, Gabriola Sounder, Monday, December 7, 2009

The Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) is hoping islanders will get in touch with their off-island friends, family and anyone else they can to add their voices to the GHCS’ application to the AVIVA Community Fund competition.

And they need it done before December 16th.

Sunday, November 29th, the Gabriola Island Emergency Care Facility application finished in 14th place, making it through to the semi-finals.

Now, in order to make it through to the judging round, the application will need to finish in the top 25 of the 60 semi-finalists.

Thanks to email trees, most islanders are getting daily reminders.

Brenda Fowler, GHCS president, said, “We don’t need to be first, we just need to be in the top 25. We’re confident with the support of Gabriolans and their networks we’ll be able to be in the top 25.”

The problem for Gabriola’s application now, according to Brenda, is Gabriola is a geographic network, up against projects which are social networks--non-profit organizations based across the country with many more voters to pull from.

“Unlike urban areas with large communities of prospective voters, Gabriola Island will need the help of our neighbours and beyond to help make this project a reality. Our project–-to provide a purpose-built Emergency Care Facility for our growing population–-is the sole survivor representing Vancouver Island, and one of only three representing the whole of British Columbia. So we are hoping for support from throughout the province.”

So the GHCS is now encouraging Gabriolans to get on the phone, email, Facebook, Twitter or any other kind of communication device to off-islanders and get more voters coming out for the Emergency Clinic application.

Should the application get past the final voting round, Brenda said, “The judging panel then bases its decisions on impact, doability in 2010, sustainability, is there a future, originality and some other categories.

“We score very high in all those categories.”

This is a nationwide contest launched by insurance giant AVIVA. The winners, elected by popular acclaim, will be announced on January 25th, 2010, when AVIVA will distribute a total of $500,000 for community project development.

As to whether businesses and organizations can add letters of support, Brenda said that has all been taken care of, but, “When you vote, you can take a few extra minutes and add a comment in the comments forum.

“Someone is watching those, whether comments from the business or non-profit community would make a difference, we’re not sure.”

What has made a difference has been the use of social networks. Brenda pointed to two groups who had gotten in thanks to their Twitter crowds.

A presentation is being planned for the older students at the elementary school to educate them about the competition and how they can be involved (anyone can vote, not just adults).

Brenda said, “The Commons, the golf course, the Chamber, the museum, the emergency services, the Ambulance Society--all of these organizations are sending out reminders to their members on a daily basis. I’m not sure if this has ever been done before. It is amazing.

“And if people are getting two or three or more emails a day, don’t be too upset, it’s only for 10 days.”

For those who don’t have a computer at home, Steve Wohlleben has donated the space next to Village Paint & Hardware for the GHCS to set up computers for people to go in and vote online.

Brenda added, “The timing for this has been perfect. I don’t know without the WI gift whether we would be having the community support that we have.

“They declared their support, the AVIVA application happened, and the support came in. The timing couldn’t have been better.”

She said, “Thank you to Judith Graham and Nancy Nevison who put in this application. We know when we get this grant, people will be matching it.”

Volunteers are needed for the GHCS’ “office” at the Village until December 16th. Please contact Nancy at to drop a name in the volunteer hat.

Facebookers--there is a Gabriola Health Care Society page entitled, “Supporters of Gabriola Health Care Society.”

The all important link for voting is:

Registering is necessary, but only requires an email address, no other information is recorded.

To receive daily reminders from Nancy, email her at

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Medical Clinic moves closer to major grant one click at a time

Flying Shingle, Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gabriolans have been clicking their way towards being top contenders in securing up to $250,000 for a new medical clinic and Emergency Treatment Room (ETR), by voting daily in an online competition sponsored by the Aviva Insurance Corporation.

According to the Aviva Community Fund website, communities are invited to: “Create an idea that will have a positive impact in your community. Enter it in the Aviva Community Fund competition and get your friends, family and everyone you know to vote (online) for it. The most popular ideas will have a chance to be funded with the $500,000 Aviva Community Fund.”

“The Aviva Community Fund will fund at least one small-sized idea (less than $10,000), one medium-sized idea ($10,000 - $50,000), and one big idea ($50,000 - $250,000). After those ideas have been funded, we’ll fund additional ideas until the money is gone.”

Judith Graham of the Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) got wind of the grant, wrote up a description about her society’s efforts to build a permanent ETR and a medical clinic to house it in and submitted the application online. Since then members of the society have been doing their best to help the voting “go viral” on Gabriola by asking everyone to ask everyone else they know to vote daily in the contest.

In the first stage of the contest, Canadians were encouraged to vote daily for their favourite projects. After three rounds of voting, the top 60 favourites as of Nov. 29 became eligible to go on to the next stage of the competition. Gabriola ranked as number 14 at the end of the preliminary rounds.

According to Aviva there will be “semi-final round run between Dec. 2 and Dec. 16. Then, the top ideas, as selected by you and vetted through our judges, will receive funding through the Aviva Community Fund. Winners will be announced on Jan. 25, 2010. The opportunity to make a lasting positive impact on your community is very close to becoming a reality!”

In an email to local newspapers about the contest Gabriolan Stephen Orgill said: “The real story is how Gabriolans and their supporters have rallied in such a short time to rise up to the top twenty of this round of voting. All of the ideas ahead of Judith’s idea (by votes) have been in contention for two to five weeks longer”.

According to GHCS member Nancy Nevison, Gabriolans who are online who want to participate in the final round of voting can: “Click on, then click on “Cast Your Vote” it will take you to the next page – if, you are registered you sign in and your vote is registered. If you haven’t registered then click “register now” and fill out the form. This is necessary so they can ensure that you are entitled to vote. It’s only listing your email address, confirming it, and putting in a password of your choice”.

“Once registered go back to the Gabriola Health Care site at and login using your email and password and click again on cast a vote. That’s it”.

“Go back to every day and vote – this is legitimate and they do remind you to do this daily voting on the site”, Nevison said.

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Voting for the Clinic at

Derek Kilbourn,, Gabriola Sounder, Monday, December 1, 2009

The Gabriola Island Emergency Care Facility is, at the time of this edition of the Sounder hitting the street, hopefully in to the next round of voting for funds for the Aviva Community Fund.

Should the Clinic go all the way to the finals, and recieve it’s request, it could mean $250,000 put towards the building of the new facility.

How does the Aviva Fund work?

Think American Idol, but for various projects who have applied across North America.

People register (simply providing an email and an access password for their aviva membership) and then vote. Voting can take place once a day per registered member.

And at the time of this paper going to print, the Clinic stood at 14th place. It needed to stay above 20th to qualify for the next round.

The posting, set up by Judith Graham on Nov. 13, on behalf of the Gabriola Health Care Society, includes a history of the GHCS and description of what has been accomplished so far.

The request states, “Our request to the Aviva Community Fund is in the range of $250,000 to cover the costs of the emergency treatment room for this facility. We appreciate your creation of the Aviva Community Fund and thank you for your consideration of our request.”

Should the clinic make it past this latest round of voting, Nancy Nevison, GHCS Auxiliary Chair, will be encouraging everyone on Gabriola to get out and vote.

In daily email reminders to those participating, Nancy says, “Click on, then click on “Cast Your Vote” it will take you to the next page – if, you are registered you sign in and your vote is registered. If you haven’t registered then click register now and fill out the form. This is necessary so they can ensure that you are entitled to vote. It’s only listing your email address, confirming it, and putting in a password of your choice.

“Once registered go back to the Gabriola Health Care site at and login using your email and password and click again on cast a vote. That’s it.”

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Gabriola site selected for future health clinic

Rachel Stern, Nanaimo News Bulletin,November 11, 2009

A permanent health clinic on Gabriola Island is one step closer to reality.

The Gabriola Health Clinic Society recently announced the clinic will be located on the Women’s Institute property at the corner of North and South roads.

“This is a major milestone and it will now move quickly. It will snowball,” said Brenda Fowler, president of the Gabriola Health Care Society.

She said the location is ideal because it is one minute from the Gabriola ferry terminal, making it easier for people needing to be transported to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

The current interim clinic, at the Twin Beaches Shopping Centre, already has an agreement with B.C. Ferries that if a patient needs to be transported and it is close to a ferry sailing, the ferry will wait for the ambulance.

The site still needs to be looked at in terms of suitability and land-use regulations, but Fowler doesn’t anticipate any roadblocks to impede the process.

Building costs are estimated at $1 million and donations are already coming in.

During an event last week to celebrate the success of the interim clinic and recognize the work by doctors, a number of organizations and individuals donated to the cause.

The Gabriola Lions Club donated $10,000, the Gabriola Ambulance Society gave $20,000 and people attending the event raised an additional $20,000.

Fowler said the willingness of people to give to the clinic is an example of how much Gabriolans want the facility to proceed.

The building plans, created by Margo Kemble, a Gabriola architect, will need to be updated to suit the site. The plans were unveiled to the public at an open house in May at which more than 100 people were in attendance.

The current clinic continues to grow to serve the community. It employs two full-time and two part-time doctors and donations from the community have allowed the clinic to purchase numerous pieces of medical equipment.

Fowler said the society is planning on fundraising activities in the future and encourages people to visit the society’s website at to find out how to donate to the clinic.

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WI partnering with GHCS to locate new clinic on WI Hall land

Derek Kilbourn, Gabriola Sounder, Monday, November 9, 2009

“The Gabriola Women’s Institute and the Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) are pleased to announce our decision to pursue the opportunity of co-location on the Women’s Institute (WI) site at the corner of North Road and South Road.”

That was Robbie Nichols, past president of the WI, at the “Night of Announcements”, the annual doctor’s appreciation dinner hosted by the GHCS last Wednesday night.

Brenda Fowler, president of GHCS, said, “It is not very often that you’re lucky enough to be where history is being made. We in this room are very lucky indeed. We are witness tonight to community innovation, collaboration and the creation of new opportunities. Tonight these three things are true for the Gabriola Health Care Society, they are also true for the Women’s Institute.

“Emergency medical care is a reality, but it is still in its infancy, and it is still fragile. The focus of the GHCS is to put the pieces together that will make the emergency medical centre and family clinic sustainable. That is why we have communications, administration and data and services committees. That is why we are focused on building a permanent community owned clinic with emergency care facilities.”

The target budget goal for the construction of the new clinic and emergency clinic is $1 million.

To raise the money, 2010 has been designated as the “Year of the Clinic”, with the slogan, “I like CASH (Community Actively Supporting Health care).

Robbie added, “Our two organizations have as their mission and mandate to serve the families and residents of Gabriola. The health and welfare of Gabriola’s women, children and families has been the focus of the Women’s Institute for 60 years. Many organizations use the current WI Hall located in one of the original island schoolhouses, and would continue to do so.”

The two organizations intend to spend the next few months confirming the viability of locating the permanent Gabriola Emergency Medical and Family Clinic on the WI site, looking at due diligence work in the areas of site suitability, land-use regulations, and organizational agreements.

We are witness tonight to community innovation, collaboration and the creation of new opportunities. Tonight these three things are true for the Gabriola Health Care Society, they are also true for the Women’s Institute.

Brenda Fowler, GHCS President

As to raising the $1 million dollars, the Gabriola Health Care Society and Foundation are off to a good start, thanks to donations presented at the dinner.

Mike Phillips, president of the Gabriola Lions Club, said, “The Lions have taken a fascination in the clinic’s existing and emergency room. We hope to never see inside them, but you might just see a sign that says equipment from the Lions club.

“With your help, the club has already donated $40,000 to the cause over the last couple years, and tonight with some of the proceeds of the World Cup of Golf, and compliments of the BC Gaming Commission, we would like to donate another $10,000 to the foundation.

“One more thing, next year, on August 5th, will be the 14th Concert on the Green. See you there.”

Tawny Capon, president of the Gabriola Ambulance Society (GAS) presented two cheques on behalf of the society.

One cheque, for the emergency room of the clinic, was for $5,000, to be spent on anything that the emergency room needs at this point.

She also presented a cheque for $20,000 to the GHCS saying, “Thank you from all of us.”

Tawny added she will be stepping down as president of the GAS on November 17th at the organization’s AGM.

Tracie Der, co-owner of the Medicine Centre in the Village presented $1,000 to go towards wellness programs, raised through wellness programs at the Centre. Tracie and William Der match dollar for dollar any monies donated through their wellness programs.

Judith Graham announced at the dinner that she has decided that once arrangements have been made for the sale of her 1972 Citroën Deux Chevaux (2CV), the proceeds will be donated to the Gabriola Health Care Foundation.

Nancy Nevison, emcee for the evening, found out recently a painting she owns was done by the late 19th century Irish painter JW Carey. It was valued at Irish auction houses at £2,000. She put it up for sale at the dinner, and by the end of the night it had sold for $2,000CDN.

Brenda Fowler, president of GHCS, said, “We’ve looked at several sites, and the one that has been selected is the WI site.”

She explained the old school building will stay on the site, open to community uses as it has been in the past.

“We’ll run health and wellness programs out of that facility. We will build the new clinic and the emergency clinic in behind the WI building.

“The next few days will be spent on our organizational agreement, making sure all the ducks are in a row for putting the right hardware in there. Also looking at the land use regulations. During that time the architect will have a chance to position the building. We hope the buildings will be joined by a serenity garden, because we think that’s important, that people have a quiet space, perhaps part of the waiting room.

“The doctors are happy with the location. No matter where they are coming from they can get there quickly and access the ferry quickly, so the travel time in the event of an emergency shortens by at least five minutes.”

This Wednesday, November 11th, from 1-3pm at the WI Hall the Gabriola Health Care Society/Auxiliary is inviting the public to a “Fundraising & Community Awareness Events” brainstorming session, to set up a schedule and start the coordination of a calendar with monthly activities for the 2010 – Year of the Clinic campaign.

Please call Nancy at 250-247-0041 or email for more information, confirmation of your attendance, or if you can’t attend but have some ideas that you would like presented.

The data and services committee has met with Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) and the Ministry of Health.

They have agreed to do a community based wellness survey on Gabriola.

Brenda explained that with that data, when it comes to looking for funding for projects, “You get to target your requests more the dollars.

“We put in a submission to the integrated health network for wellness services to be provided on Gabriola.

“So, in the new year, if you are over 50, have two or more chronic diseases and have decided to improve your health through a wellness activity (improve diet, quit smoking, seek out a nutritionist) they have agreed to a $16,000 grant. The monies will go to the patients to have those therapies or treatments here on Gabriola. So the grant will end up with the therapists to provide services for our patients here.”

The GHCS is working with the BC Medical School to have both clinics as part of teaching rotations. According to Brenda, there are 253 first year students enrolled in the medical school.

“We will get students coming through both clinics. Our doctors will benefit, they love to teach. The other thing is one day, five to six years from now, we’re hoping these students will see our ad and want to come here because they remember being here.”

Brenda added, “We would be remiss if we did not ask for volunteers. We need volunteers for building the clinic, for raising the $1 million dollars to build the clinic. It’s a lot of money if you don’t have it, but it’s not a lot when you divide it amongst 5,000 residents. So we’re going to raise the money and tonight is a good start.

“Our foundation is a member of Imagine Canada, we have access to their database and have a shortbase for foundations to go ask for money from.”

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Three glass works, three lucky winners and a grateful community - $4,000 raised for GHCS

Submitted by Marilyn Geater, Gabriola Health Care Foundation Auxiliary, Gabriola Sounder Monday, October 5 2009

At the beginning of the summer, glass artists Tammy Hudgeon, Jill Adamson and Dirk Huysman each donated a significant piece of their work for raffle by the Gabriola Health Care Society.

Samantha with the winning ticket

The Society raised close to $4,000. The tickets were drawn by Geoffrey, Sabina and Samantha (see photo) Montgomery-Swan and June Harrison.

The winners were Lynne Johnson, Guy Parcher and Karen Hering.

It is the continuing support by the community that brings us closer to the reality of a permanent community-owned clinic. Our doctors’ appreciation dinner will be held November 4th at the Surf.

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Tour de Gabriola VI

Submitted by Al Strano and the Tour de Gabriola committee, Gabriola Sounder Monday, May 11 2009

As summer approaches, it is time to get your bicycle out of the garage, oil your chain and stretch out those winter-rested muscles. What better way to do that than ride the Tour de Gabriola? Jump on this chance to get some exercise, enjoy our beautiful island and contribute toward improved health care for us all. Because this is not a race, the whole family can enjoy the event together. In fact, we have seen several clubs come out for the ride. How about getting your group to join in?

For five years the “Tour” has been a significant fundraiser for the Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS). We wish to continue to support the GHCS goal of a permanent clinic to provide integrated health care.

Bring your bicycle, helmet and water bottle to one of the three locations at 9:30am on Sunday, June 7th:

1) The Gabriola Elementary School parking lot (for the 27km ‘round the island tour)

2) Twin Beaches Mall (for the 7km Orlebar Point ride)

3) Silva Bay Inn (for either the 27km ‘round the island tour or the 8km Peterson loop).

Drinking water to fill your own water bottle, fruit and energy bars will be available at strategic places along the rides. Registration forms (and more information) are available online at, the Village Medicine Centre, or at 3235 South Rd.

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Recession impacts Health Society; Board looks to community for direction

Flying Shingle Thursday, May 7 2009

With large foundations cutting back on their donations due to the recession, Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) members say they want to hear from Gabriolans about how they want to deal with funding challenges for a new medical clinic.

They also want to inform the community about the advances they have made in the last year, said President Fay Weller at an April 29 open house warm-up held to provide advance community notice of a GHCS open house May 16.

According to Ian Brownlie, head of the society’s building committee, it has become more difficult to raise money from large foundations. The society had thought that a large portion of funding for a clinic would come from off-island, he said, but now that is less likely.

As previously reported, GHCS was originally founded to provide on-island emergency medical treatment for Gabriolans to reduce the need for patients to go the Nanaimo for emergency care. Through community support, funds were raised to build an Emergency Treatment Room (ETR) and new medical clinic at Beaches mall for the Gabriola Doctors' Clinic doctors.

Since the new clinic and ETR were established, the society has continued working to create a community owned multi-disciplinary health clinic. Last June they held a community workshop to hear what Gabriolans wanted from that clinic.

Brownlie, who Weller said “did a lot of work at determining the scope for the building, who needs to be here and what their basic needs are”, discussed the building plans created by Margot Kemble of Architrave Residential Design.

At an estimated $220 a square foot and 4,300 sq. ft. of building, the building will cost close to $1million, Brownlie said, and will probably only be feasible if the land is donated. The society’s next decisions will be based on feedback from community to see if this is too much for Gabriolans right now, he said.

In terms of possible locations for a clinic, society Treasurer Harvey Graham said that the society is looking at a number of options including staying where they are, the Village, the Professional Centre and Madrona mall.

Reporting on other progress the society has made, Weller said that Gabriola is one of five communities that have been accepted for a data pilot project paid for by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the health authority. They are collecting data on Gabriolans which can then be used in planning for health care, she said.

Weller said: “One of the biggest things we heard from the workshop last June was that people wanted us to communicate and let them know what we are doing”. Weller said that the open house is meant as a follow-up to the meeting last year. “We want people to know what we have done and want to hear what people think”.

Weller described a list of accomplishments for the society including getting Medical On-Call Availability Program (MOCAP) funding, establishing an ETR, getting a Family Physician for BC allocation which grants new physicians up to $100,000 to work in rural areas, and attracting a young woman doctor to take the position beginning in July.

Weller said Gabriola faces recruitment challenges in hiring doctors. There is intense competition with other islands, and doctors are being offered all sorts of inducements to move to various locations, she said.

The GHCS open house is May 16 from 10 am to 3 pm. Suggestion cards will be available to provide feedback on where visitors think the society should go next.

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GHCS feedback - Editorial

By Derek Kilbourn, Gabriola Sounder Tuesday, May 5 2009

Feedback is a funny thing, but if worked properly, can be a strong source of inertia in bringing about a change for the better in small communities.

Such is the case with the work being done by the Gabriola Health Care Society.

This past week the GHCS held a preview of it’s upcoming open house, one in which they outlined all of the work that has been done up until this point to create, on Gabriola a community-owned medical centre.

The current interim clinic in itself is quite an accomplishment.

The number of hoops the GHCS has had to jump through so far:

- Get enough funding to develop and complete an interim facility.

- include and equipped emergency treatment room.

- emergency treatment room led to obtaining clot busting drugs and on-call funding.

- in 2008, Gabriola physicians began to receive Medical on-call availavability program funding (MOCAP)

- Gabriola awarded a family physicians for BC allocation with the result Dr. Tracey Thorne wil be commencing practice here this summer.

The key objective, to create and facilitate continuous, comprehensive and coordinated health care on Gabriola is still a bright light at the end of this tunnel.

Back to feedback.

As a pilot project for collecting accurate date of clinic usage by Gabriolans, the GHCS will now be able to show exactly how many hours are spent by doctors serving this community.

Already the GHCS has shown the numbers are climbing. From 2,000 served in previous years, the doctors on Gabriola are now serving 3,000 patients - over half of Gabriolans are receiving their regular care on-island.

This is great news.

If the work continues, and more people, be they elderly or young families, are able to access quality medical care on a regular basis on-island, more people will be able to maintain the quality of life they want and still stay on-island.

Moves to Nanaimo for reasons of aging, or lack of family care, will become less necessary.

Having the clinic will bring a more stable population, one that seeks to be here, all the time, enjoying our little chunk of paradise.

This is a good thing, and well worth supporting.

Check out the open house on May 16 at the WI Hall.

And mark your calendars for June 7 - the Tour de Gabriola returns....

Thankfully, with the help of the GHCS, there will be a doctor at the end of the ride.

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GHCS Open House coming May 16

By Derek Kilbourn, Gabriola Sounder Tuesday, May 5 2009

The Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) is going to be hosting an open house for the public at the Women’s Institute on Saturday, May 16th to, as GHCS president Fay Weller said, “explain what we’ve been up to.

“What this is about is that we held a public meeting back in June 2008. One of the things people said is that we want to hear what you’re doing, be kept up to date. We’ve been doing it with things like newspaper updates, but we have a lot of information. We want to let people know why we’ve gotten to where we are, as well as what we’ve done along the way.”

A key issue right now is establishing accurate statistics on how many physicians are serving Gabriolans, as well as other statistics on what is actually being offered, or could be offered, on island.

Fay explained, “We’ve been accepted as one of five communities in BC to be part of a data pilot project.

“The Ministry of Health has been providing us with some health services data. We’re still working with them because a lot of the data is inaccurate. That helps to support what we need to do in terms of planning.

“They had down we had six physicians for the last three years. They count locums, they count full-time equivalent. We’ve been analyzing this ourselves and we’re going to be handing this data back to them so they can use it and respond to it in a way that reflects what’s really happening here on the island.

“We can then plan effectively knowing who is living on Gabriola and what makes a healthy community and how we can work with other organizations.

“This is exciting, this is big.

“We were told there were only 2,000 people signed up to Gabriola physicians. When we figured it out it was actually 3,000. What it says is people are believing that primary care on Gabriola is becoming stable.”

The open house will feature discussions on issues such as this, as well as re-educate the public on the history of the GHCS, from its inception in 2006, to the opening of the interim facility in 2007, to the addition of a new physician Dr. Tracey Thorne this coming July.

The key objective of the GHCS, as outlined in their open house release, is to, “create and facilitate continuous, comprehensive and coordinated health care on Gabriola Island.” And, “high quality, timely and relevant data is fundamental to the delivery of modern health services.”

The next stage of long-term health care planning for Gabriola includes a proposal, for consideration by the community, for a new community-owned facility. In addition to a complete update of all the developmental milestones, an architectural rendering along with a floor plan, developed with the generous donation of the time and expertise of Margot Kemble of Architrave Design, will be presented.

The open house will take place Saturday, May 16th from 10am to 3pm at the Women’s Institute Hall.

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What’s new at the Gabriola Medical Clinic

By Gabriola Health Care Society, Gabriola Sounder April 14, 2009

The Gabriola Health Care Society is pleased to report that our new family physician, Tracey Thorne, will be undergoing orientation during the last two weeks of April. During this period Dr Thorne will be seeing patients under the supervision of Dr Bosman. She will join the team at Gabriola Medical Clinic permanently in July 2009 and from then Dr Bosman and Dr Thorne will be taking on new patients.

Through the generosity of our local Lion’s chapter, the Gabriola Health Care Foundation Auxiliary and some extremely generous, anonymous donors, the following equipment is now in use at the clinic.

  • Wall mounted diagnostic systems for examination of ears and eyes (donated by the GHCS)
  • Infusion pump (provided by VIHA)
  • A BP Tru which measures a series of resting blood pressures (donation facilitated by Gabriola Medicine Centre)
  • A High Intensity Procedure and Minor Surgery overhead lamp (funded by Lions)
  • A Spirometer which assesses lung function, helping to diagnose asthma and other respiratory conditions (donated by an anonymous donor)
  • Ophthalmology slit lamp for diagnosis and treatment of eye disorders, many of which are emergencies (funded by the Critical Care Fund)

Electronic Medical Records

With the assistance of the BC Provincial Physician Information Technology Office (PITO), the clinic is in the process of upgrading its electronic medical record program to a more effective system with secure off-site data storage and back-up.

Chronic Disease Management and Health Promotion

The team at Gabriola Medical Clinic is actively involved in chronic disease management and health promotion in the following ways:

  • Kay Holt (Advanced Practice Nurse) is employed by the physicians to support these activities with the aim of providing high quality care to patients with, and at risk of, chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, kidney disease, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression.
  • Participation in the Integrated Health Network. This multi-disciplinary team, based in Nanaimo, offers additional support to patients with two or more specific chronic conditions.
  • Engagement with “Bounce Back” a program designed to help people living with chronic conditions cope with stress and depression.
  • Involvement with the Vancouver Island Health Authority Regional Support team. The physicians at Gabriola Medical Clinic have completed modules in Advanced Access and Chronic Disease Management.
  • Health awareness activities: In collaboration with Gabriola Medicine Centre Pharmacy the team will focus on a specific health issue each month;
  • - May: Asthma and allergies. “Lung Health” checks will be offered.
  • - June: Hypertension and cholesterol. Know your blood pressure, know your cholesterol, know your cardiac risk.
  • - July: Sun safety and skin cancer awareness.
  • Chronic Disease Self Management Program. This workshop is offered over six weeks and is free. It will be held at the Women’s Institute on Saturday mornings from 9:30am until 12 noon and is facilitated by volunteer leaders. The focus is on living a healthy life with a chronic condition.

Wanted: Eight good-hearted men or women

By Gabriola Health Care Society, Gabriola Sounder February 16, 2009

Submitted by Brenda Fowler, The Flying Shingle February 16, 2009

So, the new year seems long ago and some of our resolutions for 2009 are fading into distant memory. Tucked in amongst the “eat better, exercise more often” type resolutions, perhaps you had one that went something like “meet new people, get involved in something important, put my gray matter to work so I don’t lose it.” If you did, but haven’t yet done anything about it -- read on!

The Gabriola Health Care Society and Foundation are looking for eight people who are willing to give 2-3 hours a week.

So much has been done: the Interim Clinic is open, the new doctor is on her way, the advanced practice nurse has joined the team. But, this year we need help so that we can clarify the community health service needs, gain community input on the permanent clinic needs, kick-up our fundraising and have some long-term policy discussions with VIHA and the Ministry.

Each of our teams already has experienced volunteers in place, but they need some help -- frankly the task isn’t easy (if it was it would all be done) and the teams need some new eyes and hands.

The current team members include project managers, accountants, policy planners, health care professionals and communications leaders.

So, if you ever thought you wanted to work on a community legacy project, this might be it. Creating a viable integrated health community care clinic is a pioneering project for today. Not many communities have one, but those that do are better for it.

If you can put pen to paper, plan and organize, research or present ideas, please step forward. We need to move forward in a timely fashion, so help is needed now!

The team is coordinated and operates with a high degree of respect for diverse opinions and good governance. We promise you won’t be told “we’ve tried that it doesn’t work” or embroil you in “community politics” and “short tasks are available.”

If you have a skill, combined with a willingness to get your mind and hands dirty, you are the person for us. So, if you have been thinking about engaging, NOW is the time. Contact

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GHCS update -- AGM is on the way

Submitted by GHCS Gabriola Sounder February 2, 2009

The Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) and Foundation (GHCF) have been continuing to work towards stabilizing health care provision on the island. Many exciting projects are ongoing.

Margot Kemble, a local architect, has been donating her time and energy. She has provided some draft plans for the permanent health clinic. The board is currently reviewing these with respect to core services in the building and it has been exciting to start to visualize the concept. Community input will be gathered in order to make the final decisions regarding the clinic. The GHCS extends its appreciation to Margot for her help in moving this portion of the project along.

The staff at the Twin Beaches Clinic have been working diligently towards building connections with the "integrated health network" in Nanaimo. Such a network formalizes partnerships with patients, families, communities and amongst providers that reduce the redundancy of services and improve the delivery of health care to patients. See for more information about integrated health networks.

A member of the board has also been in communication with the residency program advisor for the Nanaimo and Vancouver Island areas. We are hoping to build bridges to this program that would bring resident physicians and interns to spend time in a Gabriola practice and learn more about practicing family medicine in a small community.

Our new physician is expected to join the Twin Beaches Clinic late this spring after completing her residency. We have recently learned that she will be spending the last eight-week rotation of her residency in Nanaimo. so she is working her way "closer" as well as making connections within the local medical community. We are looking forward to her arrival.

Have you considered becoming involved with the activities of the GHCS or the GHCF? Now is the time to let us know. Our AGM is approaching and we would welcome your participation on the board or on a committee. Contact us through our web site. listed on the web site) to find out how you can become involved. It's your community clinic -- it's your health!

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New full-time doctor for Gabriola starting in July

By Derek Kilbourn, Gabriola Sounder January 6, 2009

The Twin Beaches Clinic will have a new full-time doctor this coming July.

Dr. Tracie Thorne, currently finishing her residency in Prince George, has signed up as the new doctor at the clinic.

Gabriola Health Care Society (GHCS) President Fay Weller said, as of Jan. 1st, the society could confirm Dr. Thorne would be coming to Gabriola.

Dr. Francois Bosman said, “She finishes her residency at the end of June, that’s why she’ll start in July.”

Thorne’s husband is originally from Pender. Dr. Bosman said, “They are both really keen. Obviously they are used to the Gulf Islands and are not going to come here with rose-coloured glasses.”

In the interim, the GHCS is still awaiting word from Vancouver Island Health Authority if full-time locum funding will be made available until the new doctor arrives on Gabriola.

Full-time funding for locum doctors ended in November, according to Fay.

“We haven’t heard that the funding has been extended yet.

“What we’ve been given is 33 days of funding to use until the end of March.”

Dr. Renata Lewis, who has been filling the locum shoes, will be in the clinic for two weeks in January and February and one week in March.

Weller said the GHCS believes funding can be extended from the end of March until Dr. Thorne arrives.

“It sounds like we’ve managed to cobble things together until that can happen.”

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