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Annual General Meeting

Interlake-Eastern RHA’s virtual Annual General Meeting on October 4, 2021 saw 80 participants login and dial in to hear a summary of activities over the past year.

Vice chair of the board of directors, Ruth Ann Furgala, was the master of ceremonies. The meeting opened with a prayer from Gwen Traverse, director of health, Pinaymootang First Nation. Board chair, Glen West, then focused on the board’s activities over the past year which included COVID-19 response as directed from the province, highlights from this past fiscal year and the development of the RHA’s new 2021-2026 strategic plan which outlines our path going forward.

“Health-care has changed considerably since the last five-year plan was developed,” West said. “We have a new strategic planning process which is our means of engaging with communities and we look forward to that process.”

This was the first Annual General Meeting for Interlake-Eastern’s CEO, Dr. David Matear, who joined the RHA this past February. He also acknowledged the COVID-19 pandemic year and the momentous effort required by staff. He highlighted a companion document called “Interlake-Eastern RHA Year in Review, 2020-21” that captures staff stories around the pandemic response this past year at www.ierha.ca under “About Us” and Publications and Reports”.

He also spoke about the province’s transformation efforts that will improve access to health care, the health service experience and the sustainability of the health system. He emphasized the RHA’s strategic planning has direct links to provincial priorities as a means of supporting the advancement of the health system as a whole.

“Our new five-year strategic plan that will take us to 2026 is aligned with Manitoba Health and Senior Care objectives, and those of the Provincial Clinical and Preventive Services Plan,” says Dr. Matear. “We have also engaged community partners in our planning process, and established a pathway for continuing that engagement throughout the life of the strategic plan.”

Acknowledging that work must continue to ensure equitable health care for all residents, even with added pressures of a pandemic, board chair Glen West recognized five staff members who were recipients of the Chair’s Award for Excellence in Customer Services: Nurse practitioner Cassandra Hnatishin and receptionist Drew Peacock in Pine Falls, licensed practical nurse Brittany Klassen in Stonewall; FASD co-ordinator Devon Ungurain in Beausejour and Director of Acute Care at Selkirk Regional Health Centre Kate Hodgson. They were all nominated by colleagues who identified them as going above and beyond to reflect the RHA’s values in their daily interactions with staff and clients. An honourable mention went out to paramedics Kim Dubek and Brayden Harder who weren’t nominated but were recognized by the board chair for their quick thinking during a grass fire while on shift.

The CEO’s Award for Community Leadership was awarded to Southeast Resource Development Council (SERDC) and Interlake Tribal Reserves Council (IRTC) for their centralized approach to COVID-19 response that allowed for quick mobilization of resources from different jurisdictions to test and support those who were required to self-isolate. These organizations, which are partnerships of First Nation communities, provide trusted connections to community members and information about the communities they represent. They were significant assets to the region in planning for COVID response.

“SERDC is fortunate to have such a skilled and dynamic health team who truly rose to the occasion in the face of this pandemic,” says Doug Mercer, Executive Director for SERDC. “In being on the front lines something that has become evident is the infrastructure deficiency in our communities. We’ve seen shortcomings not only in our First Nations communities, but in resources for our off-reserve members as well. To address the issues, there will need to be a more focused and collaborative effort between our member Nations, the Province of Manitoba and the Government of Canada.”

Cindy Garson, IRTC health director, accepted the award with her health team present and on-camera with her.

“Much appreciation and gratitude on behalf of IRTC’s health team to accept this award,” Garson said. “It wasn’t an easy task this past two years with COVID but with great partnership with IRTC and Interlake-Eastern RHA, we were able to service our community members during this difficult time and moving forward, we look forward to a stronger partnership with Interlake-Eastern RHA and IRTC health team.”

IRTC is composed of the First Nations communities of Dauphin River, Kinonjeoshtegon, Lake Manitoba, Little Saskatchewan, Peguis and Pinaymootang.

“We look forward to our continued work together with IRTC and SERDC and to furthering actions within the RHA’s strategic priority to improve access and health outcomes and reduce health disparities for Indigenous populations,” Dr. Matear said.

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