NORTH EAST LOCAL HEALTH INTEGRATION NETWORK
For the past several years, a diverse group of people from six communities have been working hard to make improvements to the health care system in North Algoma. For their work, the North Algoma Health System Steering Committee has been named a Healthy Change Champion by the North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN).
“The North Algoma Steering Committee highlights the extraordinary work taking place across Northeastern Ontario to improve the patient experience,” said Kate Fyfe, interim CEO of the NE LHIN. “This group has pulled a wide range of partners together and focused on how people can more quickly and easily move through the health care system to get the care they need, as close to where they live as possible.”
The committee, which includes representatives from health service providers, municipalities, seniors’ group, women’s services, housing, Francophone and Indigenous northerners, identified the health needs of people living in six communities: Dubreuilville, Hawk Junction, Michipicoten First Nation, Missanabie, Wawa, and White River.
Committee co-chairs Mary Anne Pearson and Darlene Trovarello say commitment and a spirit of cooperation are reasons why the committee has worked so well. “There is a community buy-in and everyone is committed to the process. I think that everybody at the table, especially the volunteers, deserve a big dose of recognition,” said Mary Anne.
The committee was formed in cooperation with Lady Dunn Health Centre in Wawa with funding provided by the NE LHIN. The group was tasked with implementing the North East LHIN Rural Communities Framework for Achieving Improved Health System Coordination over a two-year pilot project.
Following the framework, the committee identified needs in each community and resources that were already in place. They produced an executive summary with key findings from their work, as well as a full report and a service inventory database.
“One of the things we found, is that often it isn’t so much a lack of services as it is lack of awareness of what is out there. In a lot of cases, things that were identified as being needed were already in place,” said Mary Anne.
As an example, Darlene cites the case of the North Algoma 211 service. “At the time, the program had been available for approximately two years but was not being utilized to its potential. Just getting the 211 information back out to the community really made a difference in people being able to access information on services.”
From the completed Current State Assessment, the North Algoma Health System Action Plan was created. The plan represents the needs of patients across the system and identifies what actions are being taken by each organization to address them.
With its mandate now fulfilled, the North Algoma Health System Steering Committee will sun set. However, a new North Algoma Health System Collaborative will be developed in its place to monitor and implement the work plan that has been developed.
For more information on the North East LHIN’s Healthy Change Champion Award, including the award’s criteria, past winners, and how to submit a nomination, please visit here.