Healthy Living in the North

Congratulations to NH’s newest Health Care Hero, Barb Crook

Barb accepting her Health Care Hero Award

Congratulations to Barb Crook, Mackenzie’s Health Service Administrator on receiving this year’s Health Care Hero award for Northern Health!

Every year, the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) recognizes some of the outstanding and inspiring health care employees and projects with the BC Health Care Awards. This year, we are pleased to share that Barb Crook, a long-time nurse and current Health Service Administrator (HSA) for Northern Health in Mackenzie, BC, has been honoured as NH’s Health Care Hero!

HEABC created a video that profiles Barb’s amazing career, from beginning her nursing career over 40 years ago in New Westminster and working as a front line nurse in Mackenzie for 26 years to completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and becoming Health Service Administrator for Mackenzie.

I also recently chatted with Barb to offer my congratulations and learn a bit more!

What does this Health Care Hero award mean to you?
I’m very honoured to be recognized. I’ve been at Northern Health for 38 years. I nursed for 26 years and then became manager. I always loved bedside nursing but have enjoyed managing people. If I’m a healthcare hero for Mackenzie, it’s because my staff are just as much a hero as I am. It takes a whole team to keep a place running and give everybody the excellent care that we do.

What’s the highlight of your career?
In recent years, being the manager, I love honouring my staff with long-service awards and staff appreciation. I cook seafood lasagna and a meat lasagna and feed them lunch, and give them their pins and a rose. I always love that day. Everybody loves the lasagna!

It was also exciting in my career to complete my degree and graduate from the University of Victoria when I was 52 years old. I was a nursing diploma girl from the 1970s and always said I would get my degree one day. My son phoned and reminded me the day my youngest graduated. I moved out of acute care to become the health service administrator and signed up at UVIC to do my degree by correspondence; it was a busy first four years in this world!

You’ve been in health care for a long time! What would you say is one thing people can do to improve their health?
I do appreciate the new generation and the boundaries they have in their life. They don’t live to work, they work to live. I struggled with that work/life balance myself. There are many times I should say no for my own health or balance, but I would always jump in the back of the ambulance or work another shift.

On behalf of Northern Health, congratulations Barb!

Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care.

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“Our solution was the boardwalk”: How a local hiking group provided everyone with the opportunity to enjoy a natural wonder

Man carrying plank

Volunteer Mitch Olineck carries a boardwalk plank.

One of the things that northern B.C. residents commonly appreciate about living in this area is our close proximity and easy access to nature and outdoor activities, like skiing, camping and hiking.

Unfortunately, this “easy access” doesn’t always extend to everyone and truly experiencing nature can be a difficult, even impossible, task for some. This is why the Prince George hiking club, the Caledonia Ramblers, undertook the ambitious project of building a universal boardwalk for the Ancient Forest, a popular trail system 113 km east of Prince George that features huge ancient cedar trees that are protected as part of B.C.’s rare inland rainforest.

“There has to be an equal playing field for all our citizens,” said Nowell Senior, Caledonia Ramblers President, “so all citizens have an opportunity to live a wholesome, inclusive life.”

Senior has been president of the hiking club for eight years and was a member for 10 years before that. He has seen the boardwalk, as well as the original Ancient Forest trail, come alive from initial idea through to extensive planning and final development.

Four hikers at trail entrance.

Hikers (from left to right) Nowell Senior, Gwen and Bjorn Norheim, and Don Austin at the entrance to the universal boardwalk.

The idea for the Ancient Forest nature loop trail was conjured up 10 years ago and was built in a six week period over the summer of 2006. The Ramblers knew the area was beautiful, with its unique stands of large, ancient cedar, but Senior and the hiking club never anticipated just how popular it would become.

“Each year, more and more people were coming out to the nature trail,” said Senior. “When we realized just how popular the Ancient Forest trail had become, we were aware of those in our community who could not have that experience, and our solution was the boardwalk.”

So, in 2010, the club began exploring the idea of the universal boardwalk and approached local and provincial sponsors. The response was “completely supportive and positive,” said Senior. The 450 metre boardwalk that would provide full access to the Ancient Forest would become a reality.

The project came to fruition thanks to the contributions of many generous sponsors and 200 volunteers. The volunteers helped to build and even carried a total of 60 tons of lumber (by hand!) from the parking lot to the furthest point of the eventual boardwalk (in order to have it safely tucked away after delivery).

Four seasons and 6,500 volunteer hours later, the universal boardwalk was completed in the fall of 2013. It is now a separate trail – fully wheelchair accessible with rest areas and benches along the way – that goes to a viewing platform above a stream and provides a lovely view of the cedars. In 2015, the Ancient Forest welcomed over 15,000 visitors, and the boardwalk was renamed the Nowell Senior Universal Boardwalk to recognize his amazing contribution and dedication to the project.

“I think that going out to nature, we get reacquainted with the natural part of our world,” said Senior, on the importance of being active outdoors. “We’re natural beings that depend on nature. We can sometimes become separated from it, and as a result we’re not living as wholesome a life as we could.”

Senior encourages others to look at their communities and find ways to improve their accessibility, whether it’s providing better access to a park or creating a better mobility trail. His advice to get started: “Form a group of like-minded people who feel the same way… Put the idea out to organizations and entities that could be helpful in promoting such a venture.”

Now, Senior says the Ramblers are going forward with more awareness of the need for inclusivity. “I would hope the enthusiasm with which the Caledonia Ramblers have approached providing full access to nature would be contagious and effect more groups to become involved in that work.”


This article first appeared in Healthier You magazine. Find the original story and lots of other information about accessibility in the Fall 2016 issue:

 

Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care.

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IMAGINE: Legacy Grants – Deadline Extended to July 11

IMAGINE grantsLast month, we told you about the great opportunity to apply for an IMAGINE: Legacy Grant (see previous post). You have one more week to send us your applications – the deadline has been extended to Friday, July 11!

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for northern B.C. communities, schools, organizations and individuals of all ages to be inspired by the upcoming 2015 Canada Winter Games and apply for funding towards a health promotion or disease/injury-prevention project that will help improve health through physical activity. Apply now! As a reminder, here are the details:

What are IMAGINE: Legacy Grants?
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leverage the positive impact of the 2015 Canada Winter Games in fostering a sustainable legacy of increased health and wellness for northern communities and their residents, which will last beyond the two-week event in Prince George and Northern B.C. – where they live, work, learn and play.

Types of IMAGINE: Legacy Grants available:
In the spirit of the 2015 Canada Winter Games, we are asking for health promotion or disease or injury prevention projects with a focus on physical activity that may also include other key health promotion goals including: injury prevention, tobacco-free communities, healthy eating (HE), active living (AL), HEAL for Your Heart, prevention of problematic substance use, HIV prevention, harm reduction and chronic disease prevention.  For more information, please visit our IMAGINE Grants site.

The grants fund health promotion or disease or injury prevention projects that:

  • Focus on physical activity and at least one other key health promotion goal – considering the upcoming 2015 Canada Winter Games and how the Games can be leveraged to inspire community health
  • Last – your project has a good chance of living on after the funding ends
  • Make a difference – your project will broadly impact community in a positive way
  • Reduce health inequities – your project will help support those who are disadvantaged or marginalized
  • Build relationships – your project will help people connect to each other and their community and share successes
  • Support collaboration & partnerships – your project will encourage diverse groups to work together toward a common goal
  • Improve health – your project will reduce the risks and impacts of chronic illnesses and injuries

Deadline for applications has been extended to July 11, 2014. Apply now!

Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care.

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Vote for the NH Mascot Design!

Vote now for the new Northern Health MascotThank you so much to everyone who submitted an entry into the Northern Health Mascot Design Contest! We were really impressed with the creativity that all of the entries showed – great work!

A panel of Northern Health staff judges has taken some time to carefully consider both the illustrations and stories of each entry — taking into account originality, practicality and alignment with the NH positions statements — and we’ve narrowed it down to two!

Now we’re asking for YOUR help to decide which of these outstanding entries will become the first ever Northern Health mascot! Please take a moment to visit our voting page, read the stories that go along with each illustration, and choose whether Rex or Spirit should be the new NH mascot! Voting will close July 18, 2014.

Vote for your favourite mascot design now!

Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care.

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New IMAGINE: Legacy Grants available

IMAGINE grantsWe are very pleased to launch a new season of IMAGINE grant funding opportunities to help improve the health and well-being of those living, working, learning and playing in northern BC.

From February 13 to March 1, 2015, Prince George and Northern British Columbia will be host to the 2015 Canada Winter Games. Northern BC communities are presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leverage the positive impact of the Games in fostering a sustainable legacy of increased health and wellness for northerners that lasts beyond the two-week event. We hope that the Games will inspire and motivate communities, schools, organizations and individuals of all ages to take action towards efforts to improve health through physical activity.

If you have a great idea for a health promotion or disease or injury prevention project within the Northern Health region of BC, we invite you to apply for funding now.

What are IMAGINE: Legacy Grants?
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leverage the positive impact of the 2015 Canada Winter Games in fostering a sustainable legacy of increased health and wellness for northern communities and their residents, which will last beyond the two-week event in Prince George and Northern B.C. – where they live, work, learn and play.

Types of IMAGINE: Legacy Grants available:
In the spirit of the 2015 Canada Winter Games, we are asking for health promotion or disease or injury prevention projects with a focus on physical activity that may also include other key health promotion goals including: injury prevention, tobacco-free communities, healthy eating (HE), active living (AL), HEAL for Your Heart, prevention of problematic substance use, HIV prevention, harm reduction and chronic disease prevention.  For more information, please visit our IMAGINE Grants site.

The grants fund health promotion or disease or injury prevention projects that:

  • Focus on physical activity and at least one other key health promotion goal – considering the upcoming 2015 Canada Winter Games and how the Games can be leveraged to inspire community health
  • Last – your project has a good chance of living on after the funding ends
  • Make a difference – your project will broadly impact community in a positive way
  • Reduce health inequities – your project will help support those who are disadvantaged or marginalized
  • Build relationships – your project will help people connect to each other and their community and share successes
  • Support collaboration & partnerships – your project will encourage diverse groups to work together toward a common goal
  • Improve health – your project will reduce the risks and impacts of chronic illnesses and injuries

Applications are being accepted until July 7, 2014. Apply now!

Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care.

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Mascot Design Contest Extended!

Mascot contest sneak peek

Here’s a sneak peek at a few of our entries. Have you submitted your idea yet? You have until Friday, June 6!

Have you submitted your idea for the design of the new Northern Health Mascot yet?? The deadline for submissions has been extended to Friday, June 6 at midnight.

The mascot will represent Northern Health values and promote healthy living, including healthy eating, active living, injury prevention, tobacco reduction and more. We want you to enter an idea for a mascot that:

  • Represents all people living in the north
  • Represents healthy living
  • Is creative and fun!

On top of seeing his or her design come to life, the winning entrant will win a torchbearer spot in the 2015 Canada Winter Games torch relay!

Visit our contest page to enter your idea today!

Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care.

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Infographic: What is healthy eating?

As you know by now, March is Nutrition Month in Canada. We hope you’ve enjoyed some of the healthy recipes we’ve been sharing so far this month (like the spicy bean wraps and homemade pizza dough)!

Healthy eating is, of course, about proper nutrition, but it’s so much more! What we eat affects our own physical and mental wellness, our families, our communities, and more. If we have an unhealthy diet, we know that this is a major risk for developing a chronic disease or condition. Northern Health’s position on healthy eating offers a look at the importance of and the current status of healthy eating, as well as how we aim to improve this (and how you can help).

We wanted to highlight some of the main points of our healthy eating position in a more visually pleasing way for you. Take a look at our infographic on healthy eating – and consider how you approach your own personal relationship with food!

Healthy eating Infographic

Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care.

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Climbing to healthy goals

Jessica climbs a wall

Getting a great workout on the climbing wall.

Rock climbing always seemed like an inaccessible – and, honestly, scary – sport to me. It was something my husband always wanted to try, but I was pretty reluctant. But when the new climbing wall, OVERhang, opened in Prince George, I agreed to give it a try, appreciating that we’d be doing this in a controlled, safe environment with professionals there to teach us as we went (as opposed to heading to a random cliff and “winging it” as was my husband’s “half-joking” idea).

During our first visit, I still wasn’t convinced that I’d have the upper body strength to climb a wall, and the prospect of belaying my hubby as he climbed created visions of me messing up and him falling to the floor. But I was determined to give it a try. (Note, for those who don’t know: belaying is the climbing technique that the person at the bottom uses to keep the rope tight and steady. The rope is passed through the anchor system at the top and then attached to the climber’s harness.)

We took a short introductory course to learn the ropes (pun intended!). And wouldn’t you know it, I could climb a wall! It turned out you don’t have to be “ripped” – I found that it’s actually more about technique and focus. After visiting the climbing wall weekly for about six weeks, I noticed that my hands got stronger, I had more endurance, I could conquer more difficult routes up the walls, and most importantly, I had the confidence to try those harder routes.

Now, as we continue to push ourselves at the wall, not only are we enjoying a regular activity together, but we’re being social with other people at the gym (everyone I’ve met who “climb” are super friendly!) and we’ve found something that gets us out of the house and gets our bodies moving – without even having to deal with the winter weather! It really is a great workout – gets our hearts pumping and builds our functional fitness. It’s also good for the mind – planning a route up the wall is kind of like a puzzle for your brain – you have to really think about what holds to use and where to put your feet to make it to the top the easiest. It really is a full package activity!

Do you have an activity like this that you can enjoy in the winter? Do you have a climbing wall in your community? Let us know in the comments!

Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care.

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Join the #healthynorth conversation!

Use the #healthynorth hashtagAt Northern Health, we are happy to be a part of your social networks, whether you read our blog, follow us on Facebook, talk to us on Twitter or re-pin us! We love to not only share our stories and tips, but to hear what you have to say about your health and wellness, and about northern BC. Now, we want to take this conversation further.

We want to encourage you to start your own conversations about health – using the #healthynorth hashtag.

What’s a hashtag?

A hashtag can be any word or phrase (no spaces) preceded by the number sign (#). When used on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media sites, the hashtag becomes hyperlinked, and users can search by this hashtag to find all posts or conversations around its specific topic. And now we’d like to associate #healthynorth with all things related to health and wellness in northern BC.

How can you join the conversation?

Show us how you make our north healthy – for you, your family, your community, your workplace… anywhere! Posting a picture on Instagram of a great walking trail in your town? Add the hashtag #healthynorth. Sharing your healthy recipe on Facebook? Tag it. Whenever you want to share your version of a healthy north with others on social media (Twitter, Vine, Facebook, etc), tag it with #healthynorth. You can also search for the hashtag on social media platforms to see what others are saying and posting (visit our tagboard to see them all in one place!).

A teaser for you

Watch for our new contest starting Monday – you will be able to participate by using #healthynorth!

Talk to you online!

Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care.

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Making wellness work at work

In September and October of this year, we supported a month-long campaign to promote wellness in the workplace, called “My Healthy Workplace.” In total, 80 teams registered for the weekly challenges. In the northwest region, the Working Dead Zombie Collective took this opportunity to solidify their intentions for workplace wellness. They got lots of different departments involved in the campaign and gave it all they had for some very creative submissions!

We talked to some of the participants to find out how the Collective came together and how they approached the challenges. Take a look:

Doug Quibell, NW public health protection manager, described his involvement in the campaign for us too:

I got involved in this campaign because it had great potential to exemplify our vision of breaking down artificial silos, and bringing a multi-disciplinary team together to collaborate upstream. We’ve been speaking about this for some time, but in retrospect, this project really clarified the benefits for me. Complex chronic diseases can only be tackled when mixed groups like this bring their divergent perspectives to the table. In our group, it was fabulous how these varied backgrounds added a wide range of pieces to the puzzle. Over the course of the project we saw participants move from representatives from their respective departments, to part of a Public Health team. Enthusiasm and engagement grew throughout the project as we were able to work with folks we don’t routinely get to, and the relationships developed. It was also a lot of fun being a zombie!

At the same time as we held this challenge for all residents of the north, we also held an internal contest for NH staff, asking them to show us how they use the messaging from the NH position papers to make their workplaces healthier. Congratulations to the Working Dead Zombie Collective, who won this for the northwest region.

20131204coozombifiedAt approximately 3:45, November 8th, Northwest COO Penny Anguish made a “grave” mistake. Usually quite careful, onlookers were quoted as questioning, “what the heck is she thinking?”

While awarding the Working Dead Zombie Collective their first place awards for their work on the internal My Healthy Workplace competition, the Zombie Collective unsurprisingly became peckish.

 

Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care.

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