"A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination." - Nelson Mandela
Over the past few months I have had the pleasure to meet with many members of the Legislative Assembly to talk about RPAP | Health Workforce for Alberta and I plan to meet with many more over the next few months.
I am able to explain that while Health Workforce for Alberta is proudly grounded in rural Alberta, it has always had a broad provincial emphasis highlighting future solutions to health care system issues, a fact reflected in our current three-year plan.
I am also able to emphasize that, unlike other provincial organizations that have multiple, sometimes confusing objectives, Health Workforce for Alberta is unique in Canada as an integrated and comprehensive rural health workforce agency, whose sole mandate is to find workable solutions for Alberta communities needing better access to health care. We use international “best practice”, and employ integrated Attraction, Recruitment & Retention strategies to effectively and efficiently deliver on our vision and mission.
I am proudly able to demonstrate our value proposition: what solutions Health Workforce brings to the table for all Albertans. For example, we are supporting national efforts to reverse the downward slide of rural surgery and operative delivery witnessed since the 1990s. We have partnered with the Professional Association of Resident Physicians of Alberta (PARA) to reach out to resident physicians in training to help them find placements and stay in Alberta. We are also reaching out to Primary Care Networks (PCNs) to aid in recruitment of needed clinical staff through our provincial APLJobs.ca health practitioner jobs website.
Like hardworking Albertans, Health Workforce for Alberta takes pride in the fact that we are an inexpensive and effective not-for-profit, publically-funded organization. Our annual budget of $10 million amounts to just 2.5 hours of Alberta’s $19 billion provincial health care spending. Over the past 3 years, we produced a real savings of $260,724, or 0.9% on our three-year grant funding, in the face of growing costs and program pressures.
While originally comprised of 16 initiatives focused on three distinct target groups - learners, practicing physicians, and communities - like the evolving face of Alberta, our programming is continually refined based on external evaluations, best practices, internal studies, and key performance measures.
As a result of RPAP | Health Workforce for Alberta’s integrated, comprehensive education pipeline that enables a “grow your own provider” approach, and our role in integrating all components of that pipeline, UofA and UofC resident physicians in the Rural Alberta North (RAN) and Rural Alberta South (RAS) Rural Family Medicine residency programs are seven times more likely to choose to settle in rural Alberta in general. RAN and RAS graduates are also eight times more likely to settle in communities outside of a defined urban, exurban or regional area, than the urban residents at UofA and UofC.
Albertans are good partners and friends. RPAP embraces partnerships and collaboration within Alberta, and beyond, to deliver innovative and enriching programming that positively influences practitioner’s decisions about moving to and remaining in a non-metropolitan Alberta community.
Albertans are grounded and genuine citizens of our fortunate nation. RPAP | Health Workforce for Alberta takes these core values – like a “good head and a good heart” – to quietly, efficiently, and within our means provide proven solutions to help grow and distribute the health workforce in areas of need. We are unique in the country, singular in purpose, and with demonstrable results.