Working together to deal with a physician shortage was the key to success for the co-recipients of the 2012 Alberta Rural Community Physician Attraction and Retention Award.
The Joint Services Committee of the City of Brooks and the surrounding County of Newell was recognized by RPAP and the Alberta Chambers of Commerce for successfully implementing a unique approach balancing physician attraction and retention efforts in its community.
After a physician shortage in 2009-2010 left the city and surrounding area without access to obstetrics services, city and county came together to form a Joint Service Committee, the sole purpose of which was to tackle the issue of physician attraction and retention.
Composed of three councillors from each municipality, the committee successfully engaged physicians and the community, meeting regularly and working together to welcome new physicians, and to assist and appreciate those who continue to practise in the community
The committee and local volunteers also supported local physicians and Alberta Health Services in their recruitment efforts, making themselves available to tour candidates and their families through the amenities, educational system, leisure activities and opportunities the County has to offer.
The Committee also worked with RPAP in 2012 to host a Medical Student Skills Day with the University of Calgary. Fifty six students were welcomed to the community for a weekend opportunity to experience rural health care delivery. The committee managed all non-clinical components of the event, including with a social evening involving young professionals from Brooks and area, community and facility tours and meals.
“We are fully aware of how important having a talented pool of happy physicians is to the overall growth of our region,” explained Tracy Acorn of the Brooks & District Chamber of Commerce, a driving force behind the committee’s nomination. “The partnerships of our local doctors and the Joint Services Committee have served to strengthen this resolve and other rural centers have looked to us for guidance.”
Representatives from across Alberta attended a luncheon at the Alberta Chamber’s 2012 Fall Board in honour of the 20102 recipient. RPAP board member Dr. David O’Neil and Alberta Chambers’ Chair Tab Pollock presented the 2012 to the Brooks committee.
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