SOHC History

After the news that the ER at Princeton General Hospital was going to be closed four nights a week we started a petition on April 10, 2012, gathered over 3600 signatures, and sent them to the Minister of Health, with copies to the Premier as well as other politicians.

April 12, 2012: meeting at the BelAir restaurant attended by Harry Lali (MLA), Brad Hope (Area H Regional Director), Jason Earle (Acting Mayor Princeton), Spencer Coyne, Nienke Klaver, Ed Staples and other concerned community residents. This meeting led to the formation of the Save Our Hospital Coalition (SOHC) which held its first meeting on April 19 in the basement of the United Church.

May 1: first day of the ER closures; we organized our first rally with the purpose of informing the community about the ER closures, the potential problems, and the resulting risk to the community.

A second rally was organized in conjunction with Save Our Similkameen (SOS) on May 22. This coincided with meetings held with IHA at Princeton General Hospital. Dr. Halpenny (President of the IHA Board) attended those meetings nd SOHC.

A third rally was held, organized by SOS with participation by SOHC.

The fourth rally, organized by SOHC was held and involved various local Unions.

At each of the rallies there was media coverage by CBC, Global TV, EZ Rock and the two local papers.

A website and facebook page were set up to improve communication with members and residents of the community.

SOHC began doing research leading to participation in various webinars and teleconferences held by Rural Health Services Research Network, Patient Voices and Impact BC – Health Improvement Action (Cultural Competency/Challenges in medical care).

June 21, 2012 – SOHC organized a Public Forum held at Riverside. Invitations to sit on the panel were sent to Premier Christie Clarke, Health Minister de Jong, Leader of the Opposition Adrian Dix, our MLA Harry Lali, NDP Health critic Mike Farnworth, Conservative leader John Cummins, IHA President Halpenny, Chief Charlotte Mitchell (USIB), Jason Earle, acting mayor of Princeton, and Brad Hope, Area H Regional Director. All the Mayors of communities with IHA hospitals were invited to attend the Forum. Ultimately the panel consisted of IHA VP Andrew Neuner, Harry Lali, Jason Earle, Brad Hope, and Mike Farnworth. Ed Staples acted as moderator at the Forum.

May 29, 2012 – Acting on a suggestion by Janice Perrino, Mayor of Summerland, the SOHC Executive toured the Keremeos Health Centre facilities; the tour was given by Walter Despot. It was agreed that there were many positive aspects of the Keremeos model and that it would be beneficial for elected officials and other community representatives to receive the same tour.

June 11, 2012 – Brad Hope, David Rainier, Princeton businessman, and Ed Staples were given another tour of the Keremeos Health Centre facilities. In discussions that followed it was felt that there needed to be a working group formed to explore the development of an improved and sustainable healthcare model for Princeton and Area.

Shortly after, a Discussion Paper was developed, entitled Developing an Improved and Sustainable Healthcare Model for Princeton, B.C. It includes information on our present healthcare status and outlines Emergency Department standards developed by the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians. One of the objectives of the paper was the development of a model that incorporated best practices effectively implemented in other comparable rural communities.

SOHC became a member of the Rural Health Services Research Network BC, received a bursary and attended Shaping Health Services and Policy through Research conference in Kelowna on October 2nd and 3rd, 2012, where Nienke Klaver and Ed Staples met several researchers interested in doing research surrounding rural health problems, concerns and challenges, with Princeton as a specific location.

Subsequently, SOHC followed up by contacting Dr. Barbara Pesut of UBC Okanagan and began discussions to hold a research based community consultation in Princeton. An organizing committee was formed made up of Dr. Pesut, UBCO; Susan Brown, IHA; Brad Hope, Area H Regional Director; Marilyn Harkness, Princeton Town Councillor; Nienke Klaver, Secretary of SOHC; and Ed Staples, SOHC Vice President.

October 3, 2012 – SOHC held its first Annual General Meeting at Riverside Community Centre. We adopted our Constitution and presented our Vision and Mission Statement to the membership. The new Executive was elected, comprising Spencer Coyne, president; Ed Staples, vice president; Penny Goodfellow, treasurer; Nienke Klaver, secretary; Ole Juul, director; and Chris Goodfellow, director.

October 20, 2012 – SOHC Executive met with Robyn Thomas for a planning session. Long and short term goals were determined and roles and responsibilities were established.

November 14, 2012 – Ed Staples made a presentation at Alex Atamanenko Public Forum. (For more information see Archives-November 2012 on this website.)

December 10, 2012 – Nienke Klaver and Ed Staples attended a Seniors Conference in Vancouver. SOHC received a bursary from the BC Health Coalition to attend this conference. One of the speakers was Gloria Levi, coordinator of ICA (Integrated Care Advocacy). We were impressed by her message and style and asked if she would be available to make a presentation in Princeton. On February 25, 2013, Gloria delivered her message at Riverside. She was assisted by retired physician Dr. Marianne Rev and Lynn Pelly, Executive Director of Princeton Community Services.

SOHC became a member of the BC Health Coalition and was invited to sit on their Election 2013 Working Group where we developed a set of questions aimed at determining how candidates stand on rural health care issues. The questions were sent to all of the candidates running in the Fraser-Nicola constituency. Responses were received from John Kidder (Green), Jackie Tegart (Liberal), and Micheal Beauclair (Conservative). Harry Lali (NDP) did not respond. (The submitted responses can be found in the Archives – April 2013 on this website).

SOHC is working together with ‘Connected Communities’, an action group from the Kootenays that shares many similar healthcare concerns. We are also working in cooperation with Integrated Care Advocacy to improve seniors care in our community and the province.

January 29, 2013 – The Princeton Health Care Community Consultation was held at Riverside Community Centre. This research based consultation was facilitated by Dr. Pesut with assistance from a team of researchers from UBC Okanagan and the Rural Health Services Resource Network of BC. Over 40 stakeholders from Princeton and Area attended the Consultation. (For the full list of invited stakeholders, the Consultation Summary and the following SOHC Action Plan, please visit the February 2013 archives)

February 8 – Dr. Pesut completes Community Consultation Summary and delivers it to SOHC. The Summary outlined the key strengths and challenges in Princeton’s health care model as identified by the stakeholders. The Summary was released to the public on February 14.

February 18, 2013 – SOHC was represented for the first time at a meeting of the Princeton Health Care Sustainability Committee. Acting on the information and recommendations gathered from the Community Consultation, this committee formed the Princeton Health Care Development Committee which held its first meeting on February 28, 2013. Attending that meeting were Princeton family doctors, the nurse practicioner, Brad Hope (Area H Regional Director), Susan Brown and other IHA staff, and Val Tergillus, project consultant. The Development Committee agreed to hold monthly meetings aimed at developing an Action Framework that would provide a “roadmap” for the implementation of an improved and sustainable health care model for Princeton and Area.

July 2, 2013 – After six monthly meetings, the Development Committee submitted the Princeton Health Care Action Framework to IHA, RDOS and the Town of Princeton for their endorsements. IHA was the first to endorse the Framework on July 3. At a special meeting of SOHC on the same day, the Executive unanimously gave their support for the Framework. RDOS gave their endorsement at their July 18 Board Meeting. Although the Town of Princeton did not attend any of the meetings of the Development Committee, they stated that they had reservations and that they needed more time to study the Framework. Ultimately, the Town of Princeton endorsed the Framework at the end of September.

August 20, 2013 – The Development Committee’s job was now done. Built into the Action Framework was the establishment of the Princeton Health Care Steering Committee. They held their first meeting at Princeton General Hospital. The Committee, as outlined in the Action Framework, was given the mandate to implement the objectives in the Action Framework. A copy of the Action Framework can be found in the box on the right side of the homepage. The members of this committee can be found on page 16 and 17 of the Action Framework.

March 6, 2013 – SOHC met with Dr. Gerry Karr and Betty Brown from Healthy Communities Coalition at the RDOS office in Penticton. Brad Hope also attended the meeting.

March 18, 2013 – Save Our Hospital Coalition officially changes its name to Support Our Health Care retaining the acronym SOHC. This was announced at a presentation to the Princeton Town Council meeting where SOHC provided an update of their work.

June 28, 2013 – At the invitation of Jackie Tegart, newly elected MLA for Fraser-Nicola, members of SOHC met with her to discuss recent developments on the state of Princeton’s health care. We reported on doctor recruitment and retention and the development of the Princeton Health Care Action Framework. There was also considerable discussion on the upcoming re-negotiation of the Canada Health Accord. Present at the meeting were Brad Hope (Area H Regional Director) and SOHC Executive members, Ed Staples (VP), Nienke Klaver (Secretary), Ole Juul (Director), June Hope (Hospice Care Liason),

July 15, 2013 – SOHC and UBC Okanagan received a team building research grant from the Rural Health Services Research Network of BC to begin work on a project aimed at improving care for people in Princeton who live with life limiting chronic illness. The team leader is Dr. Barbara Pesut, UBC Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair.

August 16, 2013 – SOHC has second meeting with Jackie Tegart. Present at this meeting were Donna Barnett (MLA, Cariboo-Chilcotin), Lilly Zekanovic (Constituency Assistant to Alex Atamanenko, our MP), Kim Maynard (Princeton Town Council), Angelique Wood (Area G Regional Director), Brad Hope (Area H Regional Director), June Hope, Ole Juul, Ed Staples, and Nienke Klaver. The purpose for the meeting was to provide an update to Jackie Tegart on the progress of the Health Care Action Framework.

September 10, 2013 – The first meeting of the Princeton-UBCO-SOHC Healthcare Research Team (PUSH-R) is held by teleconference. The team, led by Dr. Barbara Pesut, introduced themselves: five UBC researchers, 3 research assistants, local government representatives, and SOHC executive members. Project deliverables were reviewed and a schedule of meetings was established. Subsequent meetings held on October 29 (teleconference) and November 28 (full day at Riverside Community Centre in Princeton).

September 17, 2013 – At the second meeting of the Princeton Health Care Steering Committee, IHA announced that, as of October 11, 2013, the Emergency Department at Princeton General Hospital would be reopened 24/7.

October 23, 2013 – SOHC holds AGM at Riverside Community Centre. New executive comprises Ed Staples, President; Spencer Coyne, Vice President; Nienke Klaver, Secretary; June Hope, Treasurer; Judy Short, Director; and Ole Juul, Director.

November, 2013 – Dr. Black, Dr. Monro, and Dr. Sandhu join Dr. Idanwekhai and NP Ter Keurs to form a team of practitioners operating out of Cascade Medical Clinic.

December 9, 2013 – Teleconference meeting of PUSH-R to discuss which project to move forward with. Agreement was reached to look into the role of volunteers in improving the quality of life for chronically ill and end of life residents in Princeton.

February 25, 2014 – BC Health Coalition begins monthly updates on the Cambie Clinic challenge to the Canada Health Act. SOHC sends letter to the local papers outlining the issue and potential negative effects to Canada’s Medicare system.

March 14, 2014 – Through RDOS, SOHC submits application for a BC Healthy Communities grant to establish the Artists for Life initiative in Princeton.

March 19, 2014 – Ed Staples makes a presentation at Alex Atamanenko’s yearly forum. His message centered on the Health Accord and the threat of privatization of Canada’s health care.

March 27, 2014 – PUSH-R team holds full day meeting at UBCO in Kelowna. Several research ideas were presented and ultimately it was agreed to develop a research grant application focusing on the development of a model of volunteerism aimed at improving quality of life for the target population.

March 31, 2014 – SOHC organizes Public Rally in support of the Public Health Care in Canada. The Rally is part of a nation-wide Day of Action marking the end of the national agreement between the provinces and federal government, known as the Canada Health Accord.

April 10 & 11, 2014 – SOHC received a bursary from the Rural Health Services Research Network of BC to attend their conference in Kelowna. Of particular interest to Princeton were the presentations entitled ‘Transportation Planning and Health’ and ‘Pushing the boundaries of video with innovation: challenges and insights.’

April 29, 2014 – SOHC participates in monthly teleconference meetings with the BC Health Coalition. The main topic of conversation is the legal challenge to Canadian Medicare mounted by Dr. Brian Day and his for-profit clinics.

May 12, 2014 – Appreciation Dinner held at PGH for all hospital, clinic, and ambulance staff.

May 15, 2014 – SOHC attends meeting held by the GP for Me initiative. This  program is administered by the General Practice Services Committee, a partnership between the Ministry of Health and BC Medical Association.

May 20, 2014 – At the monthly meeting of the Princeton Health Care Steering Committee, members approve the formation of a Retention and Recruitment Sub-Committee to address health care practitioner shortages in our community.

June 4, 2014 – SOHC holds Public Forum on Medicare at Riverside Community Centre. Moderated by Brad Hope, the panel consisted of Dr. Duncan Etches (Canadian Doctors for Medicare), Rick Turner (Co-chair, BC Health Coalition), and Ed Staples (President, SOHC). Presentations included information on the history of Medicare, background to the constitutional legal challenge, and consequences for Canadians if Dr. Day would win his case.

June 6, 2014 – The first meeting of the Retention and Recruitment Sub-Committee is held. The members include Brad Hope (Area Regional Director), Doug Pateman (Princeton Town Council), John Akerley (Area H representative), and Ed Staples (SOHC President).

July 2, 2014 – A welcome barbeque was held for Dr. Ahmed Saif and his family at the home of Brad & June Hope. Dr. Saif was visiting Princeton as a potential location to set up a practice.

July 23, 2014 – SOHC, in partnership with the Health Care Steering Committee, organizes a Farewell Reception for Dr. Eva Idanwekhai, held at Riverside Community Centre.

July 24, 2014 – In its weekly meeting, the Retention & Recruitment Sub-Committee meets with Jane LaRocque, director of IH Physician Recruitment. Information is presented on Dr. Saif’s decision to not begin a practice in Princeton. It was decided to invite Lori Thomas, Princeton Chamber of Commerce, to attend the next R&R meeting.

August 27, 2014 – Ed Staples attends meeting of the Business Stakeholders group meets to discuss concerns raised by doctors. Copper Mountain Mine and Weyerhaeuser agree to change their policy that requires a doctor’s note for medical related absences. The group also discusses ways to provide support to over-stressed doctors.

September 2, 2014 – Dr. Ella Monro asks Ed Staples to prepare a recruitment brochure that she can take with her to an upcoming conference.

September 8, 2014 – The BC Supreme Court trial hearing Dr. Day’s constitutional challenge to the Canada Health Act is postponed until April, 2015. The BC Ministry of Health announces that the two sides are negotiating to produce an out-of-court settlement. Subsequently, the BC Health Coalition in consultation with its members (SOHC included) sends a letter to the Minister of Health asking that “British Columbians be assured that there are real and significant consequences for the past unlawful activities of those involved.”

September 15, 2014 – Ashcroft Community Health Care Consultation is held at the Ashcroft Seniors Centre. The event was organized by a committee that included Ashcroft community leaders, Dr. Barbara Pesut (UBCO), Bernie Easson (Interior Health), and members of the SOHC Executive. Consultation group facilitators included Brad Hope and Ed Staples, and June Hope and Nienke Klaver as recorders.

October 1, 2014 – At the suggestion of Dr. Monro, SOHC and the Health Care Steering Committee launches the Love a Locum campaign. There will be six locum physicians coming to Princeton between October and January.

October 31, 2014 – Meeting between Princeton Healthcare Stakeholders group and MLA Jackie Tegart. Discussion centres on recruitment of physicians and possible financial incentives from provincial government.

November 5, 2014 – SOHC holds its Annual General Meeting at Riverside. The new Executive comprises Edward Staples, president; Ole Juul, vice president; Nienke Klaver, secretary; June Hope, treasurer; Judy Short, director; Lynn Wells, director; Spencer Coyne, director; Bill Day, director.

December 3, 2014 – SOHC Executive meets to set priorities and goals for the 2014-15 year. Brad Hope facilitates the meeting.

December 3, 2014 – SOHC joins other BC Health Coalition members to form the BCHC Federal Election Campaign Committee, attending the first of monthly teleconference meetings to discuss campaign strategies aimed at making public health care an issue in the 2015 federal election. The slogan adopted by the Committee is “Vote Health Care”. A vote pledge campaign is started, encouraging people to vote for an MP who will stand up for public health care.

December 20, 2014 – At the request of Dr. Ella Monro, SOHC organizes a meeting of community stakeholders to discuss the sustainability of health care in Princeton and Area. Those in attendance included Mayor Frank Armitage (representing the Town of Princeton and Copper Mountain Mine), Area H Regional Director Bob Coyne, Jeff Larsen (Princeton Weyerhaeuser), Susan Robinson (Chamber of Commerce), and Ed Staples (SOHC President). Dr. Monro made a presentation to the group outlining her vision for sustainable healthcare in our community. She proposed the formation of a society and the establishment of a Sustainability Fund to support physician recruitment and professional development of healthcare professionals at Cascade Medical Centre.

January 6, 2015 – SOHC Executive meets with Mayor Frank Armitage and Area H Regional Director Bob Coyne to provide an update on SOHC’s future plans. They are included in a review of SOHC’s goals and action plan.

January 10 and 17, 2015 – Princeton and Area stakeholders meet to form the Princeton Healthcare Sustainability Society (PHSS) and agree to provide funding for the recruitment and retention of physicians for our community. Ed Staples begins process of incorporating PHSS as a registered society with BC Registry.

January 21, 2015 – First meeting of the PGH Aesthetic Improvements work group, consisting of local artists, Sue Delatour, Merrilyn Huycke, Nienke Klaver and Ed Staples. Plan to tour health care facilities and make recommendations for improvements.

January 27, 2015 – Meeting with BCHC to discuss present status of Brian Day’s legal challenge to Medicare. Campaign planned to encourage public to make their concerns know to the government.

January 30, 2015 – Connect Hearing of Penticton holds a free hearing clinic in Princeton. Organized by SOHC, the clinic is fully booked.

February 5, 2015 – BCHC Elections Committee meets to plan “Vote for Public Health Care” campaign.

February 17, 2015 – Barb Gagnon, Recreation Director at Ridgewood Lodge, completes Music and Memory course, making Ridgewood one of two publicly funded residential care homes in the province to become certified to provide the program. SOHC provided funding for the course through a generous donation by Doug Rebagliati, in memory of his wife, Mary Bedford.

March 30, 2015 – Meeting with Manfred Bauer, Mayor of Keremeos, to discuss doctor recruitment and retention strategies for Similkameen Valley communities.

March 31, 2015 – In collaboration with the Hospital Employees Union, SOHC organizes the second annual Public Health Care Rally held in Veterans Square in Princeton. Over 50 participants attend the event and hear speeches by SOHC President, Ed Staples; HEU representative, Sharon Zieske; Town Councillor, Kim Maynard; and SOHC Director, Lynn Wells. Letters of support were read from our MP, Alex Atamanenko, and our MLA, Jackie Tegart. Several participants also spoke during the “open mike” session, including federal NDP candidate, Angelique Wood.

April 1, 2015 – Following the receipt of its Certificate of Corporation, the Princeton Healthcare Sustainability Society meets to determine next steps. Agreement is made on funding, with support from the Town of Princeton, Area H – RDOS, Princeton Weyerhaeuser, Copper Mountain Mine, and doctors at the Cascade Medical Centre. Election of Officers: Ed Staples, President; Kim Vokey, Secretary Treasurer; Susan Robinson, Director; and Ella Monro, Director.

April 8, 2015 – SOHC Executive members meet with MLA Jackie Tegart to provide update on activities and to present letter to be delivered to Health Minister Terry Lake. Letter to include request for continued support for local health care initiatives being implemented in Princeton.

April 21, 2015 – SOHC attends meeting of local individuals interested in promoting health and wellness in our community. SOHC suggests a program to inform Princeton residents about the dangers of excessive sugar consumption.

April 24, 2015 – Aesthetic Improvement (Art for Health) working group meets with Hospital Auxiliary president, Laila Bird, to discuss removal of vending machines from PGH entrance lobby. Agreement reached to have them removed.

April 27, 2015 – SOHC Executive meeting at Riverside. June Hope announces she and her husband will be leaving the community and will be stepping down as SOHC Treasurer. Ole Juul agrees to take on Treasurer responsibilities until next AGM.

May 23, 2015 – “Colour Me Healthy” Fun Run held at Princeton Secondary School. SOHC assists with organization.

June 4, 2015 – SOHC begins Spring Lobby for Public Health Care. Telephone meeting with Dan Albas, Conservative candidate in federal election. Subsequent meetings held with Angelique Wood, NDP candidate, and Karley Scott, Liberal candidate. Information on each candidate’s position on healthcare is collected and shared with BCHC and local media.

June 17, 2015 – Art for Health working group meets at PGH to tour facilities. Tour given by Cherie Whittaker, PGH administrator. Recommendations made to Health Care Steering Committee that includes four projects to be initiated by the four artists in the group.

July 6, 2015 – By invitation, SOHC attends meeting in Merritt with provincial NDP leader, John Horgan, and NDP Health Critic, Judy Darcy, to discuss rural health care issues.

July 13, 2015 – Teleconference meeting with UBC Health Care Traveling Roadshow representatives to discuss possible presentation in Princeton.

July 28, 2015 – Meeting with Dr. Nelly Oelke, UBCO School of Nursing, to discuss SOHC involvement in Mental Health in Older Adults research project.

August 22, 2015 – BCHC Elections Committee meeting to discuss plans for Vote Pledge collection in our riding.

September 5 – 7, 2015 – SOHC begins Vote Pledge campaign with table at Coopers. Volunteers collect signatures form people pledging to Vote for Public Health Care in the upcoming federal election. Presentation also made at Seniors Centre.

September 10, 2015 – SOHC attends South Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Coalition workshop in Penticton. Presentations made on achievements of local groups throughout our area.

October 14, 2015 – All candidate meeting for federal election held at Riverside. SOHC asks questions about positions on public health care.

October 22, 2015 – First meeting of the Rural Healthcare Sustainability Project in Keremeos. Organizational meeting to determine next steps.

November 5, 2015 – participate in BC Health Coalition post federal election campaign evaluation meeting

November 17, 2015 – meeting with Heather Eriksen to discuss SOHC involvement in Princeton Family Services activities

November 19, 2015 – SOHC Annual General Meeting held at Riverside Community Centre. Election of officers: President – Edward Staples; Vice President – William Day; Treasurer – Ole Juul; Secretary – Nienke Klaver; Directors – Lynn Wells, Keith Olsen.

November 23, 2015 – Meeting with new Interior Health CEO and President, Chris Mazurkewich. SOHC President, Edward Staples, gave a presentation on the present state of our relationship with the healthcare community and a short history of our activities over the past three years. Mazurkewich commented that Princeton has become a “model healthcare community” for the rest of IH.

November 26, 2015 – Unveiling Ceremony of Jessi McIvor’s mural in children’s corner at Cascade Medical Centre. The mural was coordinated by SOHC Secretary, Nienke Klaver and funded by the Princeton Arts Council, Marjorie Holland, President.

November 28, 2015 – Princeton Healthcare Sustainability Society meets at Billy’s Restaurant to discuss recruitment plans.

December 2, 2015 – South Okanagan Similkameen Rural Sustainability meeting in Keremeos. Discussion focuses on the formation of two coalitions: one consisting of community representatives and the other, physicians. A list of action item priorities is being developed.

December 4, 2015 – News release sent to local papers announcing that Princeton is has been selected by Interior Health and the BC Emergency Health Services as a prototype for the new Community Paramedicine Initiative, a program intended to help provide patients with better access to health care in rural and remote communities by expanding the role of qualified paramedics.

December 21, 2015 – Meeting with Patrick Kaiser, Princeton Secondary School Principal, to discuss the possibility of bring the Healthcare Travelling Roadshow (UNBC) to Princeton.

January 5, 2016 – Planning meeting for February 15 Community Consultation. Focus group structure and leaders confirmed.

January 11, 2016 – Meeting with Princeton Secondary School staff to provide information for the Healthcare Travelling Roadshow planned for May 15 – 21. Request for approval was received from Patrick Kaiser two days later.

January 12, 2016 – Telephone meeting with Betty Brown (IH) to discuss SOHC involvement in healthcare research projects. SOHC indicated support for various projects pending approval from SOHC Executive.

January 12, 2016 – BC Health Coalition monthly teleconference meeting to discuss ongoing issues and progress being made.

January 19, 2016 -Meeting of Interagency Committee at Princeton Family Services, chaired by Heather Eriksen. SOHC commits to attend monthly.

January 22, 2016 – Meeting of Art for Health Committee to determine location of new art prints purchased for PGH. Susan Delatour is coordinating this phase of the program.

January 29, 2016 – Meeting with Lori Thomas to determine next steps for the Love a Locum program. Lori agrees to continue coordination of the program pending approval from the Town of Princeton.

February 16, 2016 – Healthcare Community Consultation held at Riverside Community Centre. This was a follow-up to the Consultation held in January, 2013. Over 40 community representatives participated in the event.

February 17, 2016 – Community Consultation debriefing meeting at Riverside; was determined to be very successful. Edward Staples will review the collected information and write a Summary Report that will be shared with the public.

February 22, 2016 – Healthcare recruitment brochures updated to reflect addition of Dr. Tim van der Heide to Cascade Medical staff. Brochures delivered to Cascade Clinic.

February 26, 2016 – Edward Staples and Nienke Klaver attending a research planning meeting of the South Okanagan Mental Health Project held in Oliver. Headed by Dr. Nelly Oelke, SOHC has pledged support for this project as it expands into Similkameen communities.

March 12, 2016 – Keith Olsen attends Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Coalition Healthy Living Fair in Penticton.

March 31, 2016 – Telephone meeting with David Finch, Activities Coordinator for Merritt Secondary School, to make arrangements for the visit by the Healthcare Travelling Roadshow.

April 4, 2016 – Telephone meeting with Aarin Frigon to discuss SOHC involvement in SOS Rural Sustainability Community Coalition.

April 5, 2016 – SOHC Executive sends welcome letter to Dr. Mahrous Mousa who joined the Cascade Medical Group starting April 1.

April 6, 2016 – Meeting with Jerome Tjerkstra, Princeton Town Council, to discuss role of SOHC in local healthcare communications, specifically as it applies to social media.

April 11, 2016 – Meeting with Emily Willis, Princeton Community Services Executive Director, to discuss the establishment of a Coordinator of Volunteers position for Princeton. Sharan Jung also attends meeting and agrees to work with SOHC on this initiative.

April 18, 2016 – Telemeeting with Dr. Sean Maurice, UNBC Faculty of Medicine, to discuss plans for the Healthcare Travelling Roadshow visit in May.

April 19, 2016 – Monthly meetings of Interagency Committee and Princeton Healthcare Steering Committee.

April 25 & 26, 2016 – Bill Day and Lynn Wells attending the Rural Health Services Research Network Conference in Kamloops. Bill Day participates in a joint presentation on the contribution of SOHC to the improvement of healthcare services in Princeton and its potential for other communities.

April 28, 2016 – Meeting with Sharan Jung and Angelika Aneas, South Okanagan Immigrant & Community Services, to discuss Coordinator of Volunteer initiative. Angelika suggested we write a job description for the position.

May 7, 2016 – Edward Staples and Nienke Klaver meet with Jen Kuhl and Adam Lynes-Ford (BCHC) to discuss the Pay for Plasma issue.

May 8, 2016 – William Day, Nienke Klaver, and Edward Staples attend Pay for Plasma Rally at Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford. William writes SOHC position paper on the subject which is distributed to Executive members and BCHC staff.

May 9, 2016 – BC Health Coalition Annual General Meeting in Vancouver. Edward Staples elected to Director position on the BCHC Steering Committee.

May 15 – 21, 2016 – Healthcare Traveling Roadshow comes to southern BC. Presentations are made at Merritt Secondary School, Princeton Secondary School, and Keremeos Secondary School. SOHC coordinates the program that includes social and recreational activities for twenty student presenters and six university staff. While in Princeton, Roadshow members attend the monthly meeting of the Health Care Steering Committee at PGH.

May 26, 2016 – Art for Health Committee unveils three new art prints at PGH. News release and photo of Susan Delatour and Marjorie Holland published in Similkameen Spotlight.

May 31, 2016 – Meeting of the SOS Rural Sustainability Committee in Keremeos. Terms of Reference and priorities discussed.

June 6, 2016 – Monthly meeting of BC Health Coalition in Vancouver. As newly elected Director, Edward Staples attends meeting by teleconference.

June 7, 2016 – Meeting of the Princeton Mental Health Focus Group to discuss future plans for mental health services in our community.

June 8, 2016 – Edward Staples resigns position on Princeton Health Care Steering Committee. Keith Olsen, SOHC Director, agrees to be the new SOHC representative on the Committee.

June 11 & 12, 2016 – Edward Staples attends OrganizeBC training session held at the BCGEU headquarters in Coquitlam. Adam Lynes-Ford also attends session; discussion focuses on role in BCHC Steering Committee and upcoming provincial election.

June 28, 2016 – Monthly meeting of BCHC Campaign Committee.

July 4, 2016 – Edward Staples makes presentation to the BC Joint Standing Committee on Health at the BC Legislature Building. Presentation focuses on both SOHC and BCHC position on important current healthcare issues.

August 17, 2016 – SOHC Executive members meet with Dr. Kathy Rush (UBCO) to discuss research project on the identification of best practices in rural community healthcare improvement initiatives.

September 22, 2016 – Meeting of the South Okanagan Similkameen Rural Sustainability Committee – first formal meeting of the Community Coalition.

September 30, 2016 – Monthly meeting of the BC Health Coalition Steering Committee. Nienke Klaver becomes member of BCHC Finance Committee.

November 22, 2016 – Workshop on Lyme Disease presented at Riverside Community Centre. Under Our Skin documentary shown followed by discussion. This is first in a series of workshop sessions organized by Keith Olsen, SOHC Director.

December 7, 2016 – SOHC Partners in Mental Health Initiative. Dr. Nelly D. Oelke, Assistant Professor at the UBCO School of Nursing, makes presentation on mental health research project that involves SOHC and the community of Princeton.

December 15, 2016 – Meeting with Patricia Brady, Director General, Investment Review Division, Govt. of Canada to discuss concerns regarding the sale of Retirement Concepts by Chinese-owned Anbang Insurance Corporation.

December 20, 2016 – SOHC Executive members meet with Dr. Tim Vander Heide to discuss possible topics for future healthcare workshops. Pain management and Nutrition are seen as priorities.

January 19, 2017 – SOHC Annual General Meeting held at Riverside Community Centre. Election of officers: President – Edward Staples; Vice President – William Day; Treasurer – Keith Olsen; Secretary – Nienke Klaver; Directors – Lynn Wells, Frank Turner.

February 25, 2017 – Rural Locum Conference in Nanaimo. SOHC at Princeton/Cascade Medical booth with promotional banners and materials developed by Edward Staples and Nienke Klaver. Ella Monro gives presentation on the story of the resilience of our community’s healthcare team over the past several years.

March 1, 2017 – Edward Staples and Nienke Klaver make presentation to the Princeton Rotary Club on recent activities and the upcoming pain management seminar.

March 8, 2017 – Pain Management Seminar held at Riverside Community Centre. Organized by SOHC, the panelists included Dr. Peter Entwhistle, GP from Oliver; Emma Kim, pharmacist from Keremeos; Jamie Ignacio, Pain BC representative from Vancouver; and Keith Olsen, UVic Pain Self Management Program Leader from Princeton. This was the second in a series of workshops/seminars designed to provide Princeton and Area residents with information on healthcare services available in the community.

March 19, 2017 – Members of SOHC Executive attend meeting on rural healthcare issues in Penticton presented by Judy Darcy, NDP Health Critic.

March 28, 2017 – SOHC invited to attend meeting with John Horgan, leader of the BC NDP, at Cowboy Coffee in Princeton.

March 30, 2017 – SOHC attends first meeting of the Anchorage Community Planning Partners to discuss adult mental health in Princeton. Meeting chaired by Joseph Savage, Interior Health Mental Health and Substance Use administrator.

April 22, 2017 – SOHC attends Princeton Healthy Living Fair at Riverside Community Centre. Display booth shows material used for the promotion of Princeton and Cascade Medical team.

April 27, 2017 – Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) planning meeting in Kelowna. SOHC joined representatives from seven other rural communities to discuss research on The Entrepreneurial Activities of Citizen-Led Coalitions in Supporting Rural Older Adults Healthcare, led by Dr. Kathy Rush, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia Okanagan. Discussion included the formation of a provincial network of citizen-led coalitions in rural BC.

May 3, 2017 – Ed Staples attends first monthly meeting of the planning committee for the Rural Health Services Research Conference to be held in Nelson in May 2018.

May 17, 2017 – SOHC meets with Colleen Maloney, Interior Health public health nurse, to discuss promotion of HIV testing in Princeton.

May 25, 2017 – Ed Staples and Nienke Klaver make a presentation at the regional meeting of the Old Age Pensions Organization. The presentation included a brief history of SOHC and a thank you to the OAPO for the generous donation and continued support.

June 9, 2017 – Ed Staples and Nienke Klaver meet with Art Kube, arranged by his friend and colleague Bill Day. Discussion includes strategies for developing relationships with newly elected NDP/Green coalition members.

June 10, 2017 – SOHC attends UBC School of Medicine job fair in Vancouver. Display booth promotes community of Princeton and Cascade Medical Clinic.

June 12, 2017 – Ed Staples attends Regional Alliance for Rural Health meeting held at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in Merritt.

June 15, 2017 – Merritt Community Consultation at Merritt Civic Centre. Organized by SOHC with support from Dr. Barbara Pesut (UBCO) and Ashcroft Wellness and Health Action Coalition.

June 27, 2017 – As a member of the BCHC Steering Committee, Ed Staples attends priority planning session held in Vancouver. Nienke Klaver also attends as member of the BCHC Finance Committee.

July 25, 2017 – Edward Staples and Nienke Klaver participate in a Patient Survey Review conducted by the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice.

September 11, 2017 – Organizational meeting for the formation of a BC rural health network. Representatives from the communities of Ashcroft, Trail, Nelson, Sicamous, Sorrento, North Shuswap, South Shuswap, and Princeton met to discuss plans for the formation of a network comprising rural healthcare advocacy organizations in the province.

September 15, 2017 – Teleconference meeting with Dan Albas (MP) and Dr. Ella Monro, Dr. Colleen Black, Ed Staples, and Nienke Klaver to discuss concerns regarding the negative impact of proposed changes to federal government income tax.

October 11, 2017 – Meeting of the Anchorage Planning Committee with Kevin Fraser as the new Mental Health and Substance Use administrator.

October 27 & 28, 2017 – BC Health Coalition 2017 Conference. Edward Staples participated as a member of a panel discussion on primary healthcare reform. Nienke Klaver and Edward Staples presented a workshop on the community consultation process. Bill Day, SOHC Vice President, was also actively involved as a volunteer at the conference. At the Annual General Meeting, held on the 28th, Edward Staples was elected to a second term on the BCHC Steering Committee.

Summary of SOHC Year in Review – January 2018 – January 2019

Princeton Health Care Steering Committee

    • SOHC continues its involvement in the Princeton Health Care Steering Committee
    • the Committee continues to work on items in its Action Plan

South Okanagan Similkameen Rural Healthcare Community Coalition

    • SOHC continues its involvement in the Coalition 
    • the Coalition involves the communities of Osoyoos, Oliver, Keremeos, and Princeton and comprises representatives from healthcare practitioners, municipal government, First Nations, Interior Health, allied health, and additional community organizations
    • the Coalition is developing an action plan that will outline the scope of work to be conducted
    • revised its Terms of Reference – ratified by the Coalition
    • changed name from Developing Sustainable Rural Practice Communities – SOS Rural Corridor to SOS Rural Healthcare Community Coalition

British Columbia Rural Health Network

    • SOHC has been actively involved in the BCRHN over the past year
    • membership in the Network now includes 16 organizations in 14 rural BC communities
    • held its first face-to-face meeting on May 31st in Nelson
    • participated in a Ministry of Health consultation on the development of a Community Health Centre policy
    • on November 24th 2018,  the BCRHN ratified its Terms of Reference and elected its first Board of Directors with Edward Staples as the Board Chair

Community Health Care Education

    • under the direction of Lynn Wells, the Princeton and District Health Directory was completed and distributed in the community. The information in the Directory was reviewed and approved by the Princeton Health Care Steering Committee. Printing of the Directory was made possible through a donation from the Princeton Rotary Club.
    • Princeton Community Services has agreed to partner with SOHC in the preparation of a new edition of the Directory.

National Pharmacare Campaign

    • February 21 – Bill Day attended an evening meeting on Pharmacare in Vancouver sponsored by the Canadian Labour Conference.
    • June 18 – Bill Day and Lynn Wells made a presentation on Pharmacare to the Princeton Mayor and Council
    • August 15 – Vancouver Pharmacare National Consultation. Bill Day attended and spoke on behalf of SOHC.
    • with research assistance from Nienke Klaver, Bill Day wrote a position paper on National Pharmacare and submitted it to the House Of Commons All-Party Standing Committee on Health on behalf of SOHC
    • in September, SOHC collected over 600 signatures on a petition supporting the creation of a Canadian Pharmacare system as proposed by the Parliamentary All Party Health Committee. The petition was submitted to parliament through our MP, Dan Albas

Research Projects

    • SOHC participated in a research study exploring community level recruitment and retention of health professionals in rural BC communities. This research is part of the Rural Evidence Review project at UBC Vancouver and involved several communities in the BC Rural Health Network.
    • Kathy Rush and Michael Chiasson (UBCO researchers) shared a Summary of Findings and Key Activities from the research they conducting into the Entrepreneurial Activities of Citizen-Led Coalitions in Supporting Rural Older Adults in Healthcare. SOHC was one of the participants in this research project.
    • members of the SOHC Executive attended the Rural Health Services Research Conference in Nelson, May 30 – June 1. Of great interest was the presentation by Jude Kornelsen on the Rural Catchment Project: Strengthening local evidence through a catchment methodology that outlined concerns about the organization of geopolitical areas that do not necessarily reflect the natural population catchments of rural communities.
    • in July, SOHC attended a Group Community Meeting at Princeton General Hospital as part of the BC Rural Site Visits Program conducted by the Rural Coordination Centre of BC. The purpose of the meeting was to gather information on the healthcare service challenges in our community. 

BC Health Coalition

    • continued active membership in the BCHC in support of their goals and campaigns
    • at the BCHC Annual General Meeting in October, Ed Staples was elected Co-Chair of the BCHC Steering Committee
    • Nienke Klaver continues her volunteer work on the BCHC Finance Committee
    • the BCHC receives all of its financial support from private donations. In its annual fund raising drive, the Coalition is requesting support from its member organizations and private individuals; donations can be made on the BCHC website at

 Other Events and Activities

    • April 9 – meeting of the Regional Alliance for Rural Health in Osoyoos
    • April 13 – HSA Conference in Vancouver – Achieving High-Performing Primary and Community Care: The critical role of health science professions
    • April 23 – presentation on rural health care issues at Health Sciences Convention in Vancouver
    • September 19 – Bill Day attended a session of the Cambie Clinic case being heard in BC Supreme Court and provided a report to SOHC
    • September 26 – Canadian Association of Community Health Centres Conference in Victoria
    • November 22, Ed Staples conducted a webinar entitled What is a CHC?, outlining the role of Community Health Centres in the transformation of primary care in BC. Presenters were Peter McKenna from the Ontario CHC community and  Lorraine Burch from the Nova Scotia CHC community. Over 50 people participated in the event.
    • the Art for Health project received a donation of five paintings and prints from Trenna MacLeod. The artwork has been installed in the hallways at Princeton General Hospital 

Other Affiliations:

    • Princeton and District Community Services Society – Connie Howe, Executive Director
    • UBC Okanagan – Dr. Barbara Pesut, Dr. Kathy Rush, Dr. Nelly Oelke, Dr. Michael Chiasson
    • Rural Health Services Research Network of BC – research grant support and BC Rural Research Conference
    • BC Association of Community Health Centres – Grey Showler, President
    • Rural Coordination Centre of BC – Dr. Stuart Johnson and Dr. Ray Markham


January 27, 28 and 29
Provincial Health Care Partners Retreat (Vancouver)
This event was co-sponsored and organized by the Rural Coordination Centre of BC, Doctors of BC, and the BC Ministry of Health. Ed Staples and Nienke Klaver attended on behalf of SOHC and the BCRHN.
This event resulted in meaningful action plans, strategies and commitments.
The focus was mainly on rural primary care with recognition that each community’s needs are different and therefore require individual solutions
The sponsors of the retreat will be writing a report that will be made available to the public. This report will provide more details on the event, to include action items and commitments to transform primary health care in BC. 

February 1, 2019
The Promise of Team-based PCHC healthcare in B.C.
Partners: BC Health Coalition, Candian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Health Sciences Association

March 4, 2019
Ed Staples, President, Bill Day Vice, President and Nienke Klaver, Secretary were invited to the Ministry of Health Patients as Partners Initiative – Community Conversations, held in  Vancouver.
The Patients as Partners Initiative follows international best practices for public engagement. Patients, Ministry of Health, non-governmental organizations, funded partners, regional health authorities and health care providers collaborated to positively affect people’s health and health-system improvements.
For speaker bios and agenda, please visit:

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