Vitalité Health Network continues collaborative work with Restigouche region

Vitalité Health Network, Wednesday, November 2, 2022 – Vitalité Health Network is continuing its collaborative work with the Restigouche region. The first meeting of the new Community Advisory Committee (CAC) of the St. Joseph Community Health Centre was held recently in Dalhousie.

The purpose of the meeting was to provide the new members with an opportunity to meet one another and agree on the CAC terms of reference and operations. Discussions were held on the state of people’s health and on priorities in public health, to clearly identify the region’s current issues.

The members, appointed following recommendations by the Restigouche Regional Service Commission, were able to attest to the difficulty the region’s people have in accessing primary health care in a timely manner. Recruiting of physicians and other health professionals and the retention of staff were also discussed.

The next CAC meeting will be held at the end of November. The work will focus on establishing priority actions to improve the health of the Restigouche region’s people.

Community engagement and participation

According to Brigitte Sonier-Ferguson, Senior Vice-President of Performance, University Mission and Strategy, stakeholder engagement and closer community relations are priorities for the Network. “The work being done right now in the Restigouche region is helping to create a great partnership to improve health care and respond more effectively to the needs of the community,” she said. “Public participation in establishing priorities and decisions about health care is part of an emerging new health culture shared with partners and all stakeholders,” she continued.

Addition of resources

The Network recently hired a new facility activities manager for the St. Joseph Community Health Centre, and he is in the process of filling a new community development officer position. “We are very happy to be able to add these resources to support the community,” said Ms. Sonier-Ferguson. “These new positions, just like the CAC, stem from commitments that we made with the municipality of Dalhousie at a meeting last April.”

Dalhousie region: en route to becoming a healthy “learning community”

Like communities in Kent county, the greater Dalhousie area is working on building its own “learning community” model that will meet specific local needs. Participation of people from the region in the CAC gives citizens a voice and allows them to engage fully in this process. The Network’s vision is to have at least one learning community in each of its four zones by the end of 2022-2023.

The goal of the healthy learning community approach is to make use of what is called “community intelligence” to resolve major health problems. It is a new vision of health care that goes beyond hospitals and other types of traditional health care points of service.

This supports the new provincial health plan, Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action’s efforts to improve access to primary health care.

Photo taken in April 2022 at a meeting with the municipality of Dalhousie at which the Network committed to creating a community development officer position and establish a community advisory committee. Left to right: Jacques Duclos, Senior Vice-President of Clinical Programs, Dr. Natalie Banville, Senior Vice-President of Clinical Programs and Medical Affairs, Shelley Robichaud, Director of Primary Health Care, and Normand Pelletier, Mayor of Dalhousie.