Healthy Living in the North

Selfies with the CEO: Northern Health gets creative for Halloween

CEO Cathy Ulrich sits on the throne from Game of Thrones surrounded by three people dressed as characters from the TV show.

Game of Thrones! CEO Cathy Ulrich with Nicole Lupul, HR Admin Assistant, dressed as Sansa Stark; Curtis Stewart, HR Admin Assistant, dressed as Bran Stark; and Sanja Knezevic, Communications Advisor, HR, dressed as Melisandre.

Halloween at Northern Health this year was creative, interactive, and a lot of fun!

Our staff had a great time getting innovative and working their Halloween magic on their costumes and work spaces. I was able to take a look at all the decorating done in our corporate offices this year – the team building and lively atmosphere was great to experience!

Looking forward to seeing what everyone will come up with next year!

CEO Cathy Ulrich in a selfie with four staff members dressed as characters from Mario Kart.

Mario Kart! CEO Cathy Ulrich with Ben Laverdure, HR Analyst, dressed as Waluigi; Dylan Calado, Application Analyst, dressed as an item box; Ruby Baptiste, Workplace Health & Safety Analyst, dressed as Mario; and Andrew Toms, HR Analyst, dressed as Luigi.

Cathy Ulrich

About Cathy Ulrich

Cathy became NH president and chief executive officer in 2007, following five years as vice president, clinical services and chief nursing officer for Northern Health. Before the formation of Northern Health, she worked in a variety of nursing and management positions in Northern B.C., Manitoba, and Alberta. Most of her career has been in rural and northern communities where she has gained a solid understanding of the unique health needs of rural communities. Cathy has a nursing degree from the University of Alberta, a master’s degree in community health sciences from the University of Northern BC, and is still actively engaged in health services research, teaching and graduate student support.

Share

Recruitment on the road: Pharmacy Technician Society of BC event

On October 18, Northern Health Recruiter Steve Prins was in Richmond for a Pharmacy Technician Society of BC event. Thanks to all of the Pharmacy Technicians who stopped by our booth to chat about working at Northern Health! We’re looking forward to keeping in touch!

Want to get a hold of Steve or one of our other Recruiters? Check out careers.northernhealth.ca

A middle-aged man stands, Steve Prins, stand and smiles in the Northern Health booth. The booth consists of a Northern Health pull-up banner and a table with swag and information materials.

Northern Health Recruiter Steve Prins, on the road in Richmond, BC.

 

Sanja Knezevic

About Sanja Knezevic

Sanja is a communications advisor with Northern Health’s medical affairs department and is based in Prince George. She moved to Canada in 1995 from former Yugoslavia to Fort Nelson where she lived for a few years before moving to Prince George in 2000. Sanja enjoys photography, curling up with a good book, cooking and spending time with her friends and family.

Share

Devin Kvist – Critical Care Nurse (Quesnel)

“We bake each other cookies, shovel each other’s driveways, that’s the type of community we have here.” See why Devon loves living in Quesnel.

Share

Heather Anchikoski – Occupational Therapist (Burns Lake)

The work-life balance Heather has in Burns Lake makes it an ideal place for her to live, work, and play! Check out why it’s so great to be an occupational therapist in this tight-knit community.

Share

Northern Health emergency guides spark national interest

The cover of the Relocation Guide is pictured.

The Relocation Guide, for use if your community is under evacuation alert, and NH wants to relocate patients or residents proactively.

Two unique Northern Health handbooks developed in the aftermath of the 2017 wildfires are inspiring other health organizations in BC and across Canada.

One guides hospitals and other health care facilities on how to safely relocate their patients during an emergency (for example, moving them to another community).

The other gives tips on how to receive patients being transferred from elsewhere – like when 254 hospital patients and care home residents from the Cariboo were evacuated to Prince George and Quesnel in 2017.

“Together, the two guides can help an organization cope in the face of emergency,” says Jana Hargreaves, Coordinator, Northern Health Emergency Management, who led the guides’ development. “Having clear guidelines in a crisis should result in better care for the patients involved.”

Other health authorities in BC have expressed interest in making their own versions of the Northern Health guidebooks, and there’s also been interest from Nova Scotia and the Yukon.

The cover of the Receiving Guide is pictured.

The Receiving Guide, for facilities and communities hosting evacuated patient/residents from another community.

“The concept of a quick-access document that an emergency operations centre can refer to during a crisis is unique and has been championed by Jana,” says Jim Fitzpatrick, Director, Northern Health Emergency Management. “Other organizations are requesting the information to see what we’ve done and how they could adapt it to their operations.”

The team at Northern Health likes to think of the two guides as “evergreen pathfinder” documents – in other words, they’re constantly evolving.

“It’s important to always be on the lookout to improve them,” says Jim. “There may be similar documents out there, but we haven’t found them yet. If we do, we’ll definitely review them with the intent to learn and adopt as appropriate.”

Anne Scott

About Anne Scott

Anne is a communications officer at Northern Health; she lives in Prince George with her husband Andrew Watkinson. Her current health goals are to do a pull-up and more than one consecutive “real” push-up. She also dreams of becoming a master’s level competitive sprinter and finding a publisher for her children’s book on colourblindness. Anne enjoys cycling, cross-country skiing, reading, writing, sugar-free chocolate, and napping -- sometimes all on the same day!

Share

Northern Health staff Ride to Conquer Cancer

Did you know that approximately 1 in 2 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime and that 1 in 4 will die of the disease? With these statistics in mind, you might think: what can I do about it? How can I help? What can I do to prevent this disease from starting in the first place?

For many BC cyclists, the Ride to Conquer Cancer is the answer to these questions. It’s about doing something to raise money, find wellness, and kick cancer’s butt!

The Ride to Conquer Cancer

The Ride to Conquer Cancer is a two-day cycling and fundraising event that benefits the BC Cancer Foundation and supports leading clinicians, scientists, and researchers. It spans over 200 kilometres with participants riding from Cloverdale to Hope! This year’s event took place from August 24-25, and included the Wheelin’ Warriors of the North – a team that takes part every year, and is largely made up of Northern Health (NH) staff and health care workers!

To women take a selfie, wearing their bike outfits.

Brittany (left) is an RN at the BC Cancer Centre for the North and Christine (right) is a lab technician at UHNBC. It was the first year riding in the Ride to Conquer Cancer for both of them!

Healthcare workers come together to fight cancer

Christine Plouffe (Dufresne) is a lab technician at the University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC). This was her first year riding:

“I joined to ride for my family, friends old and new, co-workers, high-school teachers, and classmates, as well as their families who are currently fighting, who have won [or lost] their fight … with cancer. I’m riding for all of you because I can!”

Brittany Schultz, another first year rider, is a registered nurse (RN) at the BC Cancer Centre for the North:

“I joined the team to ride this year for a few reasons. The first reason is that I’ve had several family members and close friends diagnosed with cancer, some who have sadly been defeated by this horrible disease. The second reason is that over the past four years of working at BC Cancer, I’ve been nothing short of amazed by numerous patients and their families that battle cancer with tremendous courage and strength. I see them from the day of diagnosis to the end of treatment, and I’m astounded by their resilience day after day. I want to ride to raise money towards an improved future for this disease, for my friends, family and anybody else facing cancer. The third reason I will ride is for a personal challenge, and for the chance to get to know the incredible team of Wheelin’ Warriors.”

Haylee, her mom, and dad celebrate finishing the 2019 Ride to Conquer Cancer in their bike outfits with helmets on, and arms raised.

Haylee (left) and her parents at the 2019 Ride to Conquer Cancer finish line.

As for me, this year was my fourth Ride to Conquer Cancer and it was special because I got to ride with both of my parents. It was my dad’s first time riding and he loved it!

Learn more

These are just a few of the people who made up the team. To learn more about the Ride to Conquer Cancer or the Wheelin’ Warriors of the North, please visit:

Haylee Seiter

About Haylee Seiter

Haylee is a communications advisor for Public and Population Health. She grew up in Prince George and is proud to call Northern BC home. During university she found her passion for health promotions by volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society and became interested in marketing through the UNBC JDC West team. When she's not dreaming up communications strategies, she can be found cycling with the Wheelin Warriors or spending time with family and friends. (NH Blog Admin)

Share

Prince Rupert staff blaze the (Kaien Island) trail

Three Prince Rupert staff who took part in a trail run are pictured wearing running gear.

Left to right: LPN Bailey, RN Miranda Jaques, and Staffing Clerk Jessica Lindstrom.

What did you get up to this summer? Did you get a chance to get outside and enjoy beautiful Northern BC? For some Prince Rupert staff, summer plans included running in the Kaien Trails’ Trailblazer Run on August 24, 2019.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Bailey, Registered Nurse (RN) Miranda Jaques, and Staffing Clerk Jessica Lindstrom all participated in the inaugural trail run, which took place on the recently restored Kaien Island Trail Network in beautiful Prince Rupert.

Good exercise? Check. Breathtaking views? Check. Supporting an awesome community event? Check!

Way to go, ladies!

To learn more about the Kaien Island Trail Network and the race, check out the video below or visit: kaientrails.ca/trailblazer.

Haylee Seiter

About Haylee Seiter

Haylee is a communications advisor for Public and Population Health. She grew up in Prince George and is proud to call Northern BC home. During university she found her passion for health promotions by volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society and became interested in marketing through the UNBC JDC West team. When she's not dreaming up communications strategies, she can be found cycling with the Wheelin Warriors or spending time with family and friends. (NH Blog Admin)

Share

NH staff member defends PhD thesis on First Nations identity, wins award

Jessie on convocation day, wearing the robes of a Ph.D. and a traditional cedar hat, and holding her degree.

Jessie on convocation day, wearing the robes of a Ph.D. and a traditional cedar hat.

In December 2018, we featured a story on Prince George resident and Northern Health staff member Jessie King presenting her Ph.D. thesis at an international conference in Ontario. Jessie has now successfully defended that thesis, gaining her doctorate in Health Sciences from the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC).

“When my supervisor told me my thesis defense was successful, I just started crying and shaking because it’s been eight years,” says Jessie. “It was such a personal process.”

Jessie was also awarded the Pounamu Taonga Award, which recognizes an Aboriginal student who is graduating from UNBC for their academic achievements, university service, and community involvement.

Jessie, who works in Northern Health’s Indigenous Health department as the Lead, Research and Community Engagement, titled her thesis “Niit nüüyu gwa’a: Decolonizing and Deconstructing First Nations Identity.”

The first part of the title is Sm’algyax (a dialect of the Tsimsham language) for “This is who I am.” She chose this title to acknowledge the intensive 10-year exploration of her identity and to honour her maternal ties to Gitxaala and the Tsimshian Nation.

Some of the questions that her thesis examined include:

  • Does how you disclose your identity change based on different situations and your perceived level of safety?
  • What are the implications of status on your identity?

“I had such a fantastic supervisory committee,” says Jessie, who hopes to publish her dissertation.

Her next adventure will include post-doctoral activities and teaching a course on research methods and design for the First Nations Studies department of UNBC.

“It will be nice to get my foot back in the teaching door,” she says.

For now, she’s enjoying plenty of well-deserved quality time with her family.

Congratulations to Jessie on her many achievements!

Anne Scott

About Anne Scott

Anne is a communications officer at Northern Health; she lives in Prince George with her husband Andrew Watkinson. Her current health goals are to do a pull-up and more than one consecutive “real” push-up. She also dreams of becoming a master’s level competitive sprinter and finding a publisher for her children’s book on colourblindness. Anne enjoys cycling, cross-country skiing, reading, writing, sugar-free chocolate, and napping -- sometimes all on the same day!

Share

Wellness in the workplace: Taking the stairs is a marathon

Tanya Carter is pictured on top of a mountain in the snow. In the distance is a snowy mountain range.

Tanya Carter – conqueror of HR administrative tasks, stairs, and the Sugarbowl Mountain hike (pictured).

A couple months ago, I started a new job with Northern Health. It brought me from the fourth floor of our office building to the seventh. My new desk is near the elevator, and I noticed a lot of my floor-mates bypass the elevator doors and opt to take the stairs instead.

I also noticed that there were some gummy treats in the reception area, with a sign that said “Fuel for the stair climbers.” Naturally, I stole one of the gummies and asked, “What do you mean by stair climbers?” Tanya Carter, one of our fantastic Administrative Assistants in Human Resources, then proceeded to tell me about the stair-climbing challenge she organized.

How does the challenge work?

Basically, you’re encouraged to take the stairs instead of the elevator, and to keep track of your steps. Your steps are then entered into a spreadsheet and you can track how far you’ve gone with your stair climbing:

  • 1 mile =2,000 steps
  • 5 km = 6,200 steps
  • 10 km = 12,400 steps
  • Half marathon = 26,200 steps
  • Marathon = 52,400 steps

I thought this was a really cool idea, and after a little bit of peer pressure, I signed myself up for the 10 km. Tanya is really encouraging to those of us in the stair-climbing challenge and an advocate for fitness overall. She and I chatted about physical activity and wellness in the workplace.

A sign is pictured on the door to the seventh floor from the staircase. It says "Way to go! You made it!"

The “congrats” message that stair climbers see everyday.

Tanya, what made you want to start doing the stair-climbing challenge?

“The very first day I came to work here, I took the elevator. I thought, “what am I doing taking the elevator?” After that first day, I promised myself that I’d take the stairs and continue taking them. That was the only day that I’ve used the elevator.

“Usually when I start something, I jokingly (but kind of truthfully) want everybody else to do what I’m doing. Right off the bat, I looked forward to seeing how everybody would react to a stairs challenge. I started the challenge as a fun contest and I kind of warned everybody that I would be starting it, and some people started training for it like they would a marathon.

“When the stair-climbing challenge first started, I let everyone know that they didn’t have to do all the stairs right away. They could take the elevator to the fourth floor and then walk up to the seventh, and that’s how some people have started doing it. Just like in a real marathon, you don’t just go and do 42 kms, you start with 15 minutes and work your way up.”

How do you promote wellness in the workplace?

“That’s just who I am! I like to encourage people in a positive and healthy way. I believe that when you’re healthy, you have more confidence. You don’t have to be a certain size to be strong and healthy. Most recently, I suggested to my desk mates [that they] start an Ice Man team because they’re already starting to run a little bit.”

If someone can’t do stairs at work, how can they get some activity in during the day?

“If you aren’t working, take the stairs when you can, even for an appointment. Parking your car further away can also help get some activity in. Going for a walk is also great. [You can] encourage others to get away from their desks and go for a quick, ten-minute walk.”

Do you have any tips or tricks to stay motivated?

“For sure having a goal and just getting started. The hardest part can be getting started, and once you get going and you are in a routine, it’s the routine that keeps you going.

“[It also helps to have] someone to answer to … a partner or some friends to do an activity with. When someone is waiting for you, it makes you more inclined to be there.

“Another tip is [don’t keep] it to yourself! When you’ve actually admitted it, it makes it real and you don’t want to let people down. I have a saying, it’s not my own but I use it often, and it’s, ‘I never regret going for a run, for a bike ride, or going to cross fit – I regret not going.’ If I stay in bed and skip my run, I get up thinking I wish I would have done it.”

Outside of the workplace, what is your favorite activity to stay active?

“I like long-distance running and cross fit/strength training.”

Thanks to Tanya, I’m getting more activity in my daily routine and the 126 stairs I take to get to my desk are getting a little bit easier… just don’t call me until I’ve managed to catch my breath.

Sanja Knezevic

About Sanja Knezevic

Sanja is a communications advisor with Northern Health’s medical affairs department and is based in Prince George. She moved to Canada in 1995 from former Yugoslavia to Fort Nelson where she lived for a few years before moving to Prince George in 2000. Sanja enjoys photography, curling up with a good book, cooking and spending time with her friends and family.

Share

Why did you become a researcher? Learn about Chelsea Pelletier’s desire to increase physical activity for all Northerners

Chelsea presenting her work on the 2018 Physical Activity Summit at a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research event.

Chelsea presenting her work on the 2018 Physical Activity Summit at a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research event.

I’ve always been curious about researchers at post-secondary institutions. What made them want to get into research, and what continues to drive them? Through my role at Northern Health, I’ve been fortunate to meet multiple researchers at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC).

To appease my curiosity, I approached Chelsea Pelletier, Assistant Professor in the School of Health Sciences and an avid researcher at UNBC, to learn about her path to becoming a researcher and her current projects.

“During my undergraduate studies in Kinesiology at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, I was unsure what I wanted to do after graduation,” says Chelsea. “In my fourth year, I did an honours project that involved a research component. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and learning about research. My mentor encouraged me to pursue additional education and a career in research. It’s led me to where I am today.”

After graduation, Chelsea moved to Ontario where she furthered her education with McMaster University’s Master’s and Doctoral (PhD) programs in Kinesiology.

“I was interested in exercise and physical activity to manage or prevent chronic disease. My Master’s and PhD programs were an opportunity to connect with people in those fields and learn more.

“I did a post-doctoral fellowship at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. They help people to overcome the challenges of injury, illness, or age-related health conditions to live active, healthy lives. My supervisor ran a program for chronic disease and exercise; I learned a lot about how to work with people and community members. It inspired me to continue on this path for my research.”

In 2015, Chelsea took her talents west to Prince George to begin her career as a professor and researcher.

“Since I started at UNBC, I’ve been able to grow my research in areas that matter to communities. I spend a lot of time not only talking to community members, but listening to them. I try to let the community drive the research rather than my own interests.”

Chelsea and her two small dogs sit on a log on a sunny day.

Relaxing after a walk with dogs Blossom (L) and Cohen (R) in Salmon Valley.

Chelsea’s research mainly focuses on factors that shape physical activity for communities, understanding how to work with partners, and adding physical activity to people’s lives.

“Physical activity is an important part of being healthy. It decreases stress, improves self-esteem, gives you energy, and makes you stronger. It helps prevent chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and strokes. As we age, it becomes even more important to live an active life.”

She’s also working on a few special projects including a cardiac rehab study in Terrace, and a study with the BC Wildfire Service to learn about the impacts wildfires have on firefighters and command-centre staff.

As Chelsea’s career progresses, she continues to work with community members and partner organizations to focus on items that matter to them. All of these have an end goal of improving physical activity in the North and creating healthier communities.

Tamara Reichert

About Tamara Reichert

Tamara is the communications advisor for the innovation and development commons at Northern Health where she works on a number of projects with the research, quality improvement, clinical simulation, and education teams. Born and raised in Prince George, Tamara grew up on a ranch where she rode horses, played with farm animals, built forts, and raided the family garden. She enjoys spending time travelling, hiking, cooking, reading, and cheering for her favourite sports teams.

Share