Established by the World Health Organization (WHO), World Health Day (April 7th) aims to build awareness around a distinct health theme that centres a present area of concern for WHO.
This year’s theme provides us all with the opportunity to discuss and better understand the inequities in our communities, to support ‘building a fairer, healthier world for everyone’.
Hilary Crowley is a physiotherapist who noticed the lack of resources in the rural regions of Northern BC. She addressed these issues by travelling into remote areas and providing services that would have otherwise been unavailable.
“Even basic healthcare is reduced in rural Indigenous communities and many of these communities have no access to physiotherapy. Apart from healthcare, there are disparities in the determinants of health in rural Indigenous communities compared to non-Indigenous communities. This leads to a greater incidence of chronic diseases demonstrating inequities and inequalities in health and a greater need for healthcare.” - Hilary Crowley, PT.
Last year was the inaugural launch of the MPT Northern-Cohort, a Master of Physical Therapy program run through the University of British Columbia (UBC), but taking place at the University of Northern BC (UNBC), in Prince George. This program provides students the opportunity to study and practice in rural communities experiencing these inequities.
“One of the best ways of supporting accessible fair healthcare for all is to encourage those living in northern and rural communities to become healthcare providers. The MPT North program at UNBC will encourage more physiotherapists to live and work in the north to address these inequities. It is essential that we enable Indigenous students to pursue a career in physiotherapy so they can return to their communities to provide safe and equitable services. It is also important that all healthcare providers learn the essentials of safe appropriate healthcare for all diverse communities.” - Hilary Crowley, PT.
While the Northern Cohort is a big step forward, there’s still much to do to ensure all British Columbians have access to equitable healthcare.
Here are some organizations and resources to learn more about how you can support these efforts in BC:
If you’re a PABC member practising in a rural or remote community, consider applying to be on our Rural and Remote (R&R) Committee.