Healthy Living in the North

Foodie Friday: Celebrating Dads in the Kitchen

With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, I got thinking about the things that I appreciate about my husband (and dad to my two daughters).  One of the things I love is that he’s not shy to get in the kitchen and get his hands a little dirty.  I’m no stranger to dads in the kitchen, considering I grew up with a single dad who kept the home cooked meals coming most days of the week.  However, I do recognize that cooking remains a woman dominated arena in our society.

Most of the meal prep in my house does still fall on the shoulders of yours truly, mostly because my work day ends earlier so it just makes sense.  This time of year though I notice a real shift in that balance as the barbeque and smoker re-emerge from the storage shed (what is it with boys and fire?!).

dad cooking with kids in kitchen

Cooking with dad is a whole different experience than cooking with mom!

Cooking with dad is a whole new experience for my girls then cooking with mom.  For one thing, he is way better at harnessing their “kid power”, and is generally more playful while cooking then I am.  This makes work in the kitchen feel like anything but!  He tends to give them more autonomy with the knife and other kitchen tools (ack!) which I know gives them a lot of confidence in their abilities in the kitchen and other areas.  And last, but certainly not least, whether he realizes it or not, he promotes a more free and flexible attitude about cooking, as illustrated by this frequently overheard dialogue: Daughter says, “Mom says that’s too much butter” or “Mom says we have to do it like this”, which is always followed by Dad saying, “Well Mom isn’t in here right now is she!” which is followed by copious amounts of mischievous giggling.

To all the dads out there getting dirty in the kitchen, I salute you!  Happy Father’s Day!


Below is a recipe my husband and kids like to make together.  It is adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Meals.

Shells with Grilled Chicken and Mozzarellapasta dish


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound (450g) of chicken breast cutlets
  • 8oz (or 225g) pasta shells
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tub of mini bocconcini, halved (or large bocconcini cut into 1/4” pieces)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, heat grill to medium and lightly oil grates.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Grill until cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove from grill and cut into thin strips.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.  Add chicken, tomatoes, bocconcini, parsley, parmesan, and butter.  Toss to combine.  Add reserved pasta water a little at a time to create a sauce that coats shells (you may not need all the water).  Serve with a little more parmesan if desired.

Note: You can substitute the pasta shells for whole wheat pasta and/or add a side salad to increase the fiber of this meal.

Carmen Maddigan

About Carmen Maddigan

Born and raised in Fort St. John, Carmen returned home in 2007, after completing her internship in Prince George. She has since filled a variety of different roles as a dietitian for Northern Health and currently works at Fort St. John Hospital providing diabetes education. In her spare time, Carmen can be found testing out a variety of healthy and tasty meal ideas. She also enjoys running, camping, and playing outside in the sun or snow with her family.


Health is a journey, not a destination

Photo of man holding basketball

After a health screening, Duane Jackson took steps to improve his health and is sharing his story and tips to inspire other men.

This week is the 2nd Annual Canadian Men’s Health Week. It’s an excellent opportunity to look at some of the highlights of men’s health work in the north and to acknowledge some of the men who are making positive changes in their lives. I thought it would be a great time to share my interview with Duane Jackson.

Duane is Gitanmaax from Old Hazelton but has lived in Prince Rupert most of his life. Duane shared with me his story of how he has taken steps towards improving his health.

What motivated you to look at your health?

Every year, I do the health screening that is offered at the All Native Basketball Tournament. Two years ago, I was honoured to be the Male Role Model for both this initiative and the tobacco reduction program. I thought that this title should be more than just show! When I first did the testing, my blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels were all pretty high so I started taking steps towards lowering those by looking at what I was eating and by being more active. This past year, I went in and took the screening again and my blood sugar and blood pressure were lower but my cholesterol was twice as high as it was supposed to be. At 48 years old, this wasn’t something I was willing to simply look past and not take seriously.

What did you do?

It was recommended to me that I see my doctor and have further tests done. I booked an appointment right away and the tests came back with the same results. Between my doctor and I, we came up with the plan to lose 30 pounds over the next 6 months. I started walking to and from work every day. In fact, any time I had to go out, I walked. I cut caffeine completely out of my diet and my energy levels went up within the week. I started eating foods with healthier fats, like walnuts, to help with my cholesterol. I started checking labels for saturated fats and was surprised to find that some foods that we are being told are very healthy really aren’t. Check the label!

What changes have you noticed?

I haven’t really checked my weight but I can tell you that I have had to purchase new clothing as my other shirts were starting to hang off me and all of my pants are too big. I even pulled on a pair of pants that I had stopped wearing a while ago when they got too small! I am also looking to use the belt punch for the first time, well, ever.

I have started to see things differently, too. I thought that I had played my last game of basketball, but now I’ve purchased a new pair of shoes and am planning to make my 48-year-old comeback next season!

Any message you’d like to share with men?

As a very good friend pointed out to me, “You don’t know what you don’t know until you know you don’t know it.” I would recommend to all men to get the health screening done because I was feeling pretty healthy and the truth is that I wasn’t. As a father of three, I can say that knowing was my first step.

The steps afterward weren’t life-ending decisions, they were only a life change and, truthfully, not hard ones. I still have a treat every now and then and even treat myself to fast food occasionally – I just walk home afterward. Also, I don’t think that I’m aiming for the 30 pounds anymore, I’m simply aiming to be healthy. I won’t know when I’ve reached the pounds I wanted to lose, I’m fairly certain that this is my life from now on.



Feeling motivated yet? What things have you done this week to improve your health?

Doreen Bond

About Doreen Bond

A true Northerner, Doreen was born and raised in Prince Rupert and has lived in the north her whole life. She works in at the Public Health Unit in Prince Rupert as a Regional Tobacco Reduction Coordinator with Northern Health’s Population Health team. Doreen is passionate about tobacco reduction and has a strong interest in community development. Once contemplating a move to Vancouver Island, she chose to stay in Prince Rupert to raise her sons with everything the north has to offer. In her spare time, she loves sport fishing on the ocean, beachcombing on the white sandy beaches and hiking outdoors on the pristine mountain trails. When not at work, Doreen can be found at home, spending quality time with her family and friends and taking the odd bellydancing class.


Make more of Movember

Man wearing a safety vest and nicotine replacement patch working near train tracks.

Make the most out of Movember! Get a check-up, protect your assets, set a quit date, and get up and move!

It’s Movember again; a time for all clean-shaven men to put away the razor and embark on a hair-raising journey. Although the extra fuzz likely comes in handy in northern B.C. this time of year, let’s not forget that Movember is about more than just moustaches!

We know that men in the north aren’t living as long as men in other parts of Canada, and we know that they’re dying of causes that are – in many cases – preventable, such as heart disease, cancer, and injury. So this November, get a jump on the new year and make some resolutions to improve your health (if you’re a man) or the health of a man in your life! Here are some ideas to get you going: 

Get a check-up

Don’t wait until you’re already sick! Make Movember your annual reminder to go and visit your doctor. Not sure what you need to get checked out at your age? Check out our Men’s Health MANual online

Get up and move

Whether at home or at work, try to sit less and move more. Walking is the easiest way to get started, and requires the least amount of equipment. Take another guy with you, and help improve his health at the same time!

Set a quit date

There’s no better day to quit smoking than today! It’s the single best thing you can do to improve your health! If you’ve been thinking about quitting, but are looking for some help call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1, or check out

Protect your assets

Seatbelts and helmets let you work and play hard, but most importantly they improve your chances of making it home to your families at the end of the day!

So this year when the ‘staches emerge let them inspire you to put your health at the top of your to-do list. Men’s health matters, because men matter!

Holly Christian

About Holly Christian

Holly Christian is a Regional Lead for Population Health. She has a passion for healthy living and health promotion and is a foodie at heart. Originally from Ontario, she has fully embraced northern living, but enjoys the warmth of the sun and the sound of the ocean. She swims, bikes and runs, and just completed her first marathon.


Men: why not nursing?

men, nursing, career

Nursing is a rewarding career for everyone!

In 2012 my partner and I made a major change in our lives: we moved 4000 kms from London, Ontario to Prince George, British Columbia. Sarah had just finished her Bachelor of Education at The University of Western Ontario (where I had finished a Bachelor of Arts degree one year earlier) and she was eager to start teaching. Knowing the difficulty of finding full-time employment as an elementary school teacher, we acknowledged the need to search for opportunities across the country. School District 57 was the first school board to interview Sarah for a full-time position. As luck would have it, she started her dream job in September 2012 as a grade one teacher at École Lac Des Bois in Prince George – and I tagged along with her.

Living in northern B.C. has been a motivating and transformative way to start life on our own, even though life is especially challenging in your 20s (as most 20-somethings will agree). Having left our family and friends in Ontario, we’ve had to fend for ourselves. Sarah has had to adjust to professional life and I have had to cope with the loss of my father and both my grandmothers. Still – the end result of moving to Prince George is that we have developed new strengths, new interests, new friends, and new goals.

Like many 20-somethings, Sarah and I have always wanted to build a rewarding and meaningful life. But a year ago, this desire forced me to face a problem: I needed to reinvent myself in Prince George in order to build the life I wanted. I had to balance the reality of needing an income with my desires to live a good life and to make the world a better place.

men, nursing, career

Normalizing a nursing career for men.

So I recently decided to work toward building the life I wanted by being more vulnerable and by using my strengths. I’ve always known that, for work, I wanted a vocation – not just employment. I want to go to work knowing that I’m uniquely fit for what I do, that my skills are truly needed, and that what I do matters. It’s important to me that my actions have an immediate and obvious consequence, that they help other people, and that they relieve suffering rather than contribute to it. If I had a choice, I’d prefer not to wear a suit – definitely not a tie – and I’d prefer to be on my feet rather than behind a desk. And frankly, if I can’t have the above, then I’d rather not work at all!

Fortunately, there are people that – every day – do the kind of work I desire. They’re called nurses. When I finally recognized it – when I truly appreciated the kind of work nurses do – I wanted to do it, too. And that’s how I decided, about a year ago, that I wanted to be a nurse.

Now – for those that know me – the reason I want to be a nurse is obvious. Yet most people ask me “why do you want to be a nurse? Why nursing?” I am tempted to answer their question with another question: why not nursing? Instead, I usually answer their sense of surprise with the truth.


I say that I want to be active and feel needed; I want to be on my feet; I want to help others, I want to solve problems and think critically, I want to be vulnerable and brave, I want to teach others, I want to promote health and well-being, I want to advocate for basic rights, and I want to be a lifelong learner.


If I can earn an income doing all of the above, then that’s great. That’s my reasoning – and I won’t apologize if it’s not profound enough for a culture still unaccustomed to male nurses.

Of course, like other males in nursing, the reason I’m asked so often about choosing nursing is simply because I’m a male. Unfortunately, men are still unusual in nursing. Most males do not seem to want to become nurses (they’re just not going to school for it). However, I have a hunch that most males never even realize that nursing is an option for them.

Speaking for my gender, the idea of nursing as a viable, rewarding, and respectable career for a man just does not occur to us (at least not early enough). Most of us are still inclined to think of nursing as a woman’s job, something a “real” man has no business doing, and that’s probably just another sad result of a culture that overinflates gender differences. Regardless, speaking for males generally, nursing is rarely (if at all) recommended to us by others. The few of us that do choose nursing are finding it on our own, and I think that’s a problem.

I am writing with the hope that we can change this, and change it quickly. For the same reasons that we need more female scientists, engineers, and architects, we need more male nurses.

So the next time you have the chance to offer some career advice to a male – especially an adolescent male – I am hoping you’ll ask them: why not nursing?

What are your thoughts about men in nursing? Share your comments with us below.

Andrew Gregory

About Andrew Gregory

Born and raised in London, Ontario, Andrew has lived in Prince George for two years, where he enjoys cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, hiking, and exploring the surrounding area. He is a vegetarian who loves cooking, reading, and learning. Andrew is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario, and he is currently enrolled in the Northern Collaborative Baccalaureate Nursing Program offered by UNBC and CNC.


Tales from the man cave: Why should I care about my health?

rich is being healthy

“Rich” is being healthy in mind, body and spirit.

If I had a million dollars
I’d be rich the song tells us. But what really is being rich? Would a million make me happier? Oh yeah, but maybe just for a little while.

Being healthy is being rich
Rich in mind, body and spirit. Healthy in relationships at home, at work, and in the community, and for all this you need a good balance of work/rest, diet, exercise and self-care of the spiritual kind, whatever that means to you. That could be reading an inspirational book, looking at art going to musical shows or meditation and prayer. There are as many pathways to the spiritual as there are creatures.

Mental health
A colleague reminded me that when I disregard my own health, I am disregarding the health and well-being of those who love me. That startled me a little.

The story runs like this: I am tough, I only whine at my spouse when I have a cold, but out of the house I am a real hero and there is nothing wrong with me. Cool! That’s what men are like… or are we?

Men are not indestructible
We are not indestructible but each unique man is certainly irreplaceable. Men are under stress: working demanding jobs, being fathers, lovers, etc. Just being men is stressful, I suppose, dealing with an ever-changing world with its ever-changing values.

We are not weak
When we worry, we are not weak, but sometimes we just don’t want to know if there is something wrong.

Oh, if illness was so simple
We are at risk for prostate and colorectal cancer in greater numbers than before, as well as heart disease and lung disease, and alarmingly, increased suicide risk.

Visit our men’s health site for more info about this. You need to.

Some of the things we don’t want to know about can kill us, so it’s good to be aware of two things: our tendency towards toughing it out and our tendency to bury our heads in the sand.

Lads let’s get regular checkups even with the risk that they find ‘something.’ If not for ourselves then maybe, more importantly, let’s do it for those who love us.

Jim Coyle

About Jim Coyle

Jim is a tobacco reduction coordinator with the men’s health program, and has a background in psychiatry and care of the elderly. In former times, Jim was director of care at Simon Fraser Lodge and clinical coordinator at the Brain Injury Group. He came to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland 20 years ago and, when not at work, Jim plays in the band Out of Alba and spends time with his family.


Tales from the man cave: Prostate cancer support group

prostate cancer support group

Prince George Prostate Cancer Support Group

I spoke recently with John Kason of the Prince George Rotary Club. Like most Rotarians, he likes to keep the spotlight on the work being done by the club in collaboration with Canfor – in this case, men’s health screenings for prostate cancer.


On November 10th of last year, the Rotary Club of Prince George organized a men’s health and prostate cancer awareness fundraiser called the “Big Blue Ball,” the first of its kind in northern B.C.

The end result was a sum of money for quarterly men’s health clinics throughout 2013, and startup funds for a local prostate cancer support network (now established, called the “Prince George Prostate Cancer Support Group”). The next sessions are Saturday, May 11, 2013 and Saturday, August 10, 2013.

Don’t you just love the sound of that rubber glove snapping onto the wrist in poetic majesty? The ‘dread,’ or DRE, otherwise known as the digital rectal exam is here to stay.

Please Doctor, why can’t I just have a blood test? 

Well you can but the DRE is a must have. The PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test is the simplest way to get tested but it can give higher reading for different reasons so the DRE is indeed necessary.

I do know this though – over the years, a sense of humour has been very appropriate to break the ice at that particular moment (while the doctor slips into something more comfortable – that aforementioned rubber glove). It is at least an excuse for a few jokes at work.

Here is where I put in my disclaimer. Some prostate cancers are very slow growing and, in my opinion, the jury is out as to the value of treatment at all, however, it is better to know what is going on and be monitored by your doctor than to bury your head in the sand.

The groups have organized screening events which continue throughout the year. Testing is being provided at no cost to participants and registration is now open.

Please visit or call 250.617.2711 for more information and to register.

Jim Coyle

About Jim Coyle

Jim is a tobacco reduction coordinator with the men’s health program, and has a background in psychiatry and care of the elderly. In former times, Jim was director of care at Simon Fraser Lodge and clinical coordinator at the Brain Injury Group. He came to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland 20 years ago and, when not at work, Jim plays in the band Out of Alba and spends time with his family.


Interview with Ride for Dad’s Charles Brunette

Ride for Dad

Raising funds for the fight against prostate cancer.

The Northern BC Ride for Dad was founded in October 2010 in order to raise awareness, educate and raise funds for prostate cancer research. I recently talked with one of the organizers, Charles Brunette.

Can you tell me a little about the Ride for Dad campaign?

The Ride for Dad campaign is a way of raising awareness and funds for research and treatment of prostate cancer. We have a dedicated group of 11 individuals who plan and organize the events during the course of the year and on ride day, in excess of 50 volunteers come together to support the cause. So join us on ride day and help us raise awareness about prostate cancer. All the money raised stays local.

Can you tell me, Charles, what inspired you to start the Ride for Dad campaign in Prince George?

I lost a close friend to prostate cancer a while ago and decided I would try and do something about it. I contacted Ride for Dad, which has campaigns in 31 cities throughout Canada, and started a chapter here in Prince George for northern B.C. The campaign raises funds through many initiatives but ride day is our major fundraiser with registration, souvenir sales and a poker run.

What’s the poker run?

A poker run is an event where participants, usually using motorcycles, must visit five to seven checkpoints drawing a playing card at each one.

The object is to have the best poker hand at the end of the run.

Where and when is the next event?

Saturday June 15th 2013. Registration is 9a.m. to 10:45a.m. and the ride departs at 11a.m.  sharp. There is also a pre-registration on Friday, June 14 at 7p.m. to 9p.m. All events are centered at the Kinsmen Hall in Prince George.

The parade starts at the Kinsmen Hall and returns for lunch and then we do the poker run which of course raises the money. The turnout is pretty decent with around 150 riders last year and this continues to build yearly.



Charles, I used to have a 50cc Honda – would I have been able to join? People used to shout “hair-dryer!” when I zoomed past them. It was so fast it once threw me over the roof of a car when it refused to brake. Luckily the car wasn’t harmed.

Well Jim you would be welcome but you might have trouble keeping up with my wife – her bike has 1800cc!

Perhaps I could tie a rope onto to her back seat!

Actually we are not just looking for riders – everybody is welcome to participate and help raise money for the cause. You could become a ride champion and raise funds that way. I can’t emphasize enough how important that is.

Charles what is the most important message that you would like to get across in this interview?

The most important message that I have to give is this: Men, get checked. It’s a simple test, takes very little time and early treatment has a good outcome. I know men don’t like going to the doctor. I only went because my wife put some pressure on me but really there is no good reason for us men not to have the test.

For more information about joining the event as a rider or other check out the website and make this year’s event even better. It’s a good cause.

Jim Coyle

About Jim Coyle

Jim is a tobacco reduction coordinator with the men’s health program, and has a background in psychiatry and care of the elderly. In former times, Jim was director of care at Simon Fraser Lodge and clinical coordinator at the Brain Injury Group. He came to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland 20 years ago and, when not at work, Jim plays in the band Out of Alba and spends time with his family.


Tales from the man cave: Don’t get burned

Put on your hard hats

Men – put on your hard hats and be your own home safety inspector.

February is Fire, Burns and Scalds Prevention Month – something that should be very important to all of us.

I have to say that for me, I have a strong feeling that we men need to be our own health and safety inspectors when it come to the family home. Regular inspections are warranted in all areas of the home as well as walkways and paths outside.

Fire in the kitchen

The kitchen is a dangerous place and requires a serious evaluation.

It’s easy to get distracted. I once got carried away playing guitar and set my kitchen on fire. A pan of oil burst into flames, and I had to pull off a dressing gown, throw it in the sink, soak it, wring it out and throw it over the pan. Meanwhile, the flames were running across the ceiling looking for something to ignite. It was ethereal and I never knew that flame could react like it did. It was literally above my head and covering the entire ceiling.

I had a toddler upstairs in a cot and a three-year-old playing on the living room floor. The whole episode took literally less than three minutes before I had closed the door, ran to the electrical box, switched off the power, grabbed the kids and headed out the front door to safety. I also know that somewhere in that madness I also threw on some clothes and shoes. Don’t ask me how.

Luckily for us it was a Scottish kitchen and house which was small and had doors that closed off, robbing the fire of its oxygen. Here in Canada it could have been a different story and different outcome with open-plan living and consequently fewer doors to hold back fire and more space for it to develop.

Emergency services

This episode was about two days before Christmas and, sadly the entire house was black from wall to wall. But we still had a house.

Although I did the correct things such as avoiding pouring water on the fat fire which would have made it explode unpredictably, I bitterly regretted that momentary lapse. When the fire brigade came, they patted my back for a job well done as well as kicked my butt for being so stupid in the first place. Next came the hard part as I had to phone my wife at work and tell her: “Honey I think there might be a little problem having Christmas dinner at our place this year. Oh and in case I forget, love, the kitchen sort of went on fire.”

Note to self: don’t try and learn a new guitar lick and cook with oil at the same time.

Scalds in the Kitchen

I have always been afraid of fire as I had spent a few days in the burns unit in Glasgow, where I had to endure the screams of a three-year-old as her dressing was changed and it has stuck with me all of my life. It was too painful for me with children the same age. She was burned by a falling kettle of boiling water which she pulled over herself and had third degree burns over one third of her body. She was lucky to survive and I sometimes wonder how she is coping with life now.

My own family gets pretty cheesed off at me as I’m paranoid when it comes to anyone being in the kitchen when I’m cooking. I freak when kids come anywhere near me when I am cooking. Admittedly I’m older now and more fretful in this regard, especially when it comes to my grandchildren. Still, it’s better than the alternative.

Put on your hard hat

So, guys, put on your hard hat and get into safety inspector mode – you’ll not regret it. Also don’t be afraid to share your stories, maybe someone else could benefit from your experiences.

More resources for you:

Jim Coyle

About Jim Coyle

Jim is a tobacco reduction coordinator with the men’s health program, and has a background in psychiatry and care of the elderly. In former times, Jim was director of care at Simon Fraser Lodge and clinical coordinator at the Brain Injury Group. He came to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland 20 years ago and, when not at work, Jim plays in the band Out of Alba and spends time with his family.


Tales from the Man Cave: Men are talking

men talking

L-R: Andrew Burton, Jim Coyle, Brandon Grant, George Wiens

As a young man with a young family, I was a nursing nomad and worked freelance for about three years. This saw me working one day on an eye ward and the next in an industrial complex like the steel works in Motherwell (near Glasgow, Scotland). Some of those industrial shifts were scary but the humour of some of the men often helped to lighten the load. I am still a nomad. In fact I have even moved office space right now as I write. All I need is a laptop and a tent.

I was once at a sermon where the pastor spoke about ‘male essence’ and I found myself asking: Is there such a thing as an essence of man? How would we know it and is it important? Does it change with illness?

I am not suggesting dancing round the fire naked (although I am ok with it if you want to) but rather about exploring what is unique about being male. What is our internal understanding of our self as it relates to being male?

Is there a difference between how a male feels and how a female feels or are they essentially the same?

An African friend used to joke with the ladies while we were shooting the breeze during lunch.  Whenever any woman went to speak to us he would say to them, “Men are talking.” I think he got away with it because of his keen sense of humour and his accent. If I had said that, I would have been slapped even though I have an accent too. It did, however, remind me every time he did it that we were different and different in a good way, a complementary way and he was my brother man.

Men should be talking

It’s a long established fact that males need to talk and also that those same males can bottle up much of their experiences inside of themselves. This has consequences in the long term, such as male aggression, illness, depression and suicide or substance abuse. So our song should be “Talk about it.” (See the men’s health website for more info about these consequences.)

With that notion in mind, I am starting my regular blog posts on men’s health – Tales from the Man Cave – by introducing the idea of what it is to be a man in the first place. Do I have the answer? I’m afraid not, but sometimes questions are more interesting than answers and this question is sure to be able to start a good conversation around the fire.

Men need to be talking about health

I had a good friend pass away recently, having succumbed to cancer. He never made a single complaint. I also have a friend that has cancer and says not a negative word about it. They both remind me of my young days, when I worked in all male hospital wards in the old Nightingale style in Glasgow where all the beds were separated by a curtain and each ward contained about 20 beds a piece. Personal space was a rare thing indeed. These were funny places to work and also some of the best places I have ever worked. A great deal of that was down to male camaraderie and putting a humorous slant on a desperate situation. One doctor was called Dr. Angel and the men would call him the “arse angel,” because he did all the anal carcinoma surgery. Very few complained.

Most men I have worked with are like that and it seems to me that the male of the species brings exactly that to the table: the need to be courageous.

I don’t mean the festering silence of suffering alone but the communal sense that we are not alone and we are in this together.

Men are talking and suffering and are courageous

These men are my heroes, my role models and my brothers, and they remind me that sometimes to be a man is difficult but there are other men to share the load and keep up our spirits. So don’t bottle it up but rather talk about it and use your own sense of humour to lighten the load.

Share your joys and your sorrows – let’s start talking

Share your story in the comments below. Keep it short and sweet and even gruff, but tell it like it is and how it’s experienced. We men need to talk and Northern Health wants to provide an outlet for that. So share and make it so that when people visit our site they can do so with a sense of reverence because men are talking.

Jim Coyle

About Jim Coyle

Jim is a tobacco reduction coordinator with the men’s health program, and has a background in psychiatry and care of the elderly. In former times, Jim was director of care at Simon Fraser Lodge and clinical coordinator at the Brain Injury Group. He came to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland 20 years ago and, when not at work, Jim plays in the band Out of Alba and spends time with his family.


Partnership with UNBC Wellness Centre highlights the health of young men

In March 2011, Northern Health and the UNBC Wellness Centre developed a partnership to provide screenings to students to check their blood pressure, sugars and cholesterol as well as a pre-screening for stress and depression. The event was an overwhelming success so we decided to do it again!

Northern Health and UNBC once again came together to offer the same event during November 2012, building off the momentum from the Movember campaign. The event was made possible through the partnership of the Northern Health men’s health team, the UNBC Wellness Center, the Canadian Cancer Society, and the BC Cancer Agency.

men's health screening

A total of 123 men came through the men’s health screening at UNBC. Mustaches were complimentary!

A total of 123 men were screened over the two day event. Many more came by the event for health information, games, and a free photo with complimentary mustaches. We were hoping for a good turnout and the students did not disappoint!

We want to thank UNBC for hosting the event, as well as our partner agencies for all their work in making these great two days possible. Let’s continue to spread the word about men’s health in our communities!

Visit for more information on men’s health and community events to support this initiative.

Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling. (Brandon no longer works with Northern Health, we wish him all the best.)