Bassano residents turned out in big numbers last week for a sweet celebration of community physicians, past and present.
On July 15, 2015, around 250 residents gathered at Bassano’s Community Hall for a “meet-and-greet” dessert buffet, honouring the contributions of the community’s healthcare team.
Organized by the Bassano Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee, the event recognized Dr. James Richards for his long-time service to the community, and welcomed recent arrivals, Physician Assistant, Linda Parrish, and Dr. Ajayson Gopie, to Bassano. The celebration was open to the community, with participants treated to a selection of sugary sweets and decadent delicacies, including a fabulous fruit selection, and a flowing chocolate fountain to top it all off.
Billed as a celebration of physicians past and present, event organizers took participants on a trip down memory lane, rolling out an iron lung used to treat polio patients, and also scrapbooks and memorabilia detailing Bassano’s healthcare history.
Attendees also received a glimpse into the future of healthcare delivery in the community. Demonstrations on an electronic human patient simulator from Bassano High School were provided, and participants received an update on the progress of a proposed new health centre for the community.
In addition to being a celebration of Bassano’s healthcare heroes, committee member, Ron Wickson, says the event was also a chance to get together with the community and talk about what’s going on.
“Anytime you’re volunteering in a community, it’s encouraging when you see people rally together and celebrate good things that are part of our community, “
Wickson says the community has taken full advantage of the support offered by organizations like Alberta Health Services and RPAP | Health Workforce for Alberta along the way, with the latter contributing $3000 through its Community Attraction and Retention Grant program towards the celebration.
“It’s been a frustrating process sometimes when you try to recruit a physician, but we’ve had support when we’ve needed it, and in the case of RPAP we’ve not only had support when we needed it, but we had support when we wanted to have a celebration, and for that we are truly thankful.”
Dr. Ajayson Gopie, a South African family physician, has been in Bassano for about a month, expressed his gratitude to the community, adding that the event was an excellent opportunity to get to know the Canadian culture, and the people of Bassano.
“I found the people here to be amazing,” says Gopie. “I really appreciated the event and the people who put this together just to welcome me to the country."
“Yeah,” he added with a smile. “It’s Bassano.”