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On Friday, May 3, Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority (IERHA) welcomed 23 medical students from the University of Manitoba with a meal at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site. 

Interlake-Eastern RHA based physicians, Dr. Ian Alexander (family physician and IERHA’s Regional Family Medicine Specialty Lead), Dr. Stewart Nadurak (IERHA family medicine resident) and Dr. Jade Young (family physician), spoke with students about their respective practices and answered questions with the intent of sparking interest in family practice in Interlake-Eastern RHA.

The students were part of Rural Interest Group (RIG) – a gathering of first and second year medical students who have a specific interest in learning more about rural medicine and rural lifestyles. RIG is supported by the university and two to three times a year, students travel to IERHA to meet rural physicians and experience rural Manitoba. RIG trips are among Interlake-Eastern’s recruitment initiatives as these encounters promote rural practice options among upcoming doctors.

Following dinner, students checked into the hotel in Selkirk and prepared for an early start on Saturday morning at Selkirk Regional Health Centre. Students were split into groups to rotate through four clinical interactive stations. Dr. Phoebe Thiessen (family physician and the IERHA’s Regional Medical Obstetrics Lead) walked students through the obstetrical and gynecology station; Dr. Nadurak showed students the ultrasound station; Dr. Alexander the intubation/airway station; and Dr. Rita Costa (IERHA family medicine resident), the suturing station. Following the rotations, students joined the physicians for an engaging question and answer period. The day wrapped up with a tour of Selkirk Regional Health Centre hosted by Dr. Ian Alexander.

Students expressed appreciation for the opportunity to interact with experienced physicians and for the learning opportunities. A few indicated they would have liked to have had more time exploring Selkirk. According to Pamela Robertson, IERHA’s physician recruiter, the feedback is heartening for physicians who invest in making RIG a worthwhile venture for students.

“Our sincere thanks to Dr. Costa, Dr. Nadurak and Dr. Alexander and his team for spending time with the students,” says Robertson. “Dr. Young travelled from Eriksdale to have dinner with this group and Dr. Phoebe Thiessen provided support throughout the day. We look forward to next year’s RIG trip!”

Community members who want to get involved in rural physician recruitment and who have suggestions on destinations or events for students or residents, please contact Pamela Robertson, physician recruitment at [email protected]

23 rural interst group medical students posed at Selkirk Regional Health Centre
23 University of Manitoba medical students attended Selkirk Regional Health Centre for the 2024 Rural Interest Group trip.

Student works on a dummy’s airways at Selkirk Regional Health Centre for the University of Manitoba medical students 2024 Rural Interest Group trip.

Student practices suturing on a pig foot at Selkirk Regional Health Centre for the University of Manitoba medical students 2024 Rural Interest Group trip.

Allied health teams support care in every corner of Manitoba and touch the lives of nearly every Manitoba family. The unique skills and diverse roles of allied health professionals cover the full range of preventive, diagnostic, treatment, and technical services, supporting Manitobans at every stage of their care journey.

Audiologist in Beausejour serves Interlake-Eastern communities

Read the full article on

It’s National Nursing Week, which aims to recognize the contributions of nurses to individuals, communities and the future of health care.

This year, National Nursing Week runs from May 6 to 12 with the theme “Changing Lives. Shaping Tomorrow.”

Tayler Nickart

Newly graduated nurse Tayler Nickart looks forward to embarking on a career that will help change lives positively and shape the future.

Tayler graduated in February after completing her bachelor of nursing degree at Red River College Polytechnic. Soon after, she obtained her registered nurse license.

“I have always really been drawn to the medical field and the constant lifelong learning and diverse variety of jobs and paths the career provides. I loved the idea of being able to care for people in times of need to help them achieve good health outcomes and make a difference in their lives,” she said.  

“I also was a very clumsy kid who played many sports that made several visits to the hospital for various fractures, stitches and sprains. I have always admired and appreciated the compassionate and exceptional care of nurses I had that made me want to do the same work.”

Tayler got a jump start on her career journey as a nursing student in the Home for the Summer program at Selkirk Regional Health Centre (SRHC). This program offers summer employment opportunities for post-secondary students pursuing studies in nursing, pharmacy and allied health fields.

“I was very fortunate to be able to travel to several different long-term care facilities throughout the region and experience health-care settings in rural areas,” she said.

“This position provided exceptional knowledge on many aspects of nursing — more than just direct patient care, such as infection control, charting, developing therapeutic relationships with patients, assessing and analyzing patient safety and satisfaction of their care — along with shadowing nursing practice early on in my studies.”

While she was studying, Tayler also held an undergraduate nursing employee position for about a year and a half on the surgical unit at SRHC. Undergraduate nurse employees work under the supervision of registered nurses or registered psychiatric nurses care to gain experience and log working hours.

“I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to put my education to practise and strengthen my nursing skills and judgment prior to graduation,” she said. “Clinical practice in nursing school is often limited with short rotations so you may not get to attempt all nursing skills.”

As an undergraduate nursing employee, Tayler had the chance to hone her skills within an interdisciplinary health-care team, all while being supported by an experienced nurse.

“This employment gave me so much experience with a vast variety of patients — and being able to work alongside the health-care team was extremely rewarding,” she said. “The staff on the SRHC surgery unit were beyond welcoming and supportive, and I am so lucky to have that opportunity prior to becoming a registered nurse.”

In April, Tayler began employment as a registered nurse at SRHC’s emergency department.

“I have really enjoyed the first month of my employment and getting to know the emergency team. I am most looking forward to take on the challenges of becoming an emergency RN and learning from the incredible nurses and staff that work at the SRHC facility. I feel grateful to be able to have grown so much in my nursing practice throughout my time working in IERHA and to now be able to begin my career,” she said.

“I have grown up and lived in the surrounding Selkirk area my entire life and am very much looking forward to being able to give back to the community that helped me to get to where I am today.”

And for others who might be considering a career in nursing, Tayler offers some words of encouragement.

“It is incredibly rewarding to work with people in times of need and support them in any way you can, as well as care for their families and communities,” she said. “Nursing is a career that will teach you so many things and you learn something new each day.”

Smiling nurse in black scrubs with stethoscope around neck
Tayler Nickart, nurse at Selkirk Regional Health Centre

Peguis nurses bring care into community

As health director for Peguis First Nation, Doris Bear manages over 80 staff including 14 nurses. There is one thing that binds them all and that influences their care for their clients.

“The important piece of the team is the communication. Nurses all collaborate and work well together. We are working towards improvement and having a heathy community,” Doris said. “Community members look forward to their visits. Our reserve is so widespread. . .they know the issues with each of the clients that they serve.”

One of the nurses on Doris’ team is Charmaine Raynor, home and community care coordinator in Peguis. Prior to becoming an LPN, she worked as a health care aide alongside nurses in Peguis and Fisher Personal Care Home. The work of her nursing colleagues got her interested in the profession but it was her mother’s cancer diagnosis 20 years ago and the care Charmaine provided to her that propelled her to nursing school in her late 30s.

“I had my aha moment. I give this all to my mother where I am today. She gives me my strength and my push,” Charmaine said.

That push into nursing has put Charmaine on a pathway to leadership and advocacy. She oversees four other LPNs and four health care aides as they deliver services for elders, help people manage chronic disease diagnoses and support palliative care. She has recently completed the management development certificate at Red River College Polytechnic (RRC Polytech) and is the southern co-chair representative at the Southern Tribal Council Independent Home and Community Care Committee. In this role, she works with representatives from the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch and Indigenous Services Canada. It’s an opportunity for her to network, collaborate and advocate.

“Living in a community that has a lot of crisis still to this day, I know firsthand and at a grassroots level what our needs are,” Charmaine said. “The whole goal is taking care of people and the community as a whole-their whole wellbeing in whatever way we can as a group. It’s a rewarding feeling at the end of the day. You know you helped somebody. That’s a very fulfilling feeling and very purposeful.”

Another member of Doris’ nursing team is Denise Bear, nurse in charge in Peguis.

She graduated fromRRC Polytech’s inner city nursing program designed to support students with families as her daughter was young at the time.

“I’ve always felt like I have a caring compassion side. It hurts when I see people hurting. I’ve always been interested in science and learning-how the body works and gaining theory. I found it interesting and challenging,” Denise said.

She returned to Peguis to work at Percy E. Moore hospital for six years and moved into community health when Peguis had an opening. In her role, she works with a team of five LPNs, three community health representatives and one nursing assistant.  Denise is also a part of Manitoba Indigenous Nurses Inc. a professional association of nurses who work to address the nursing issues impacting their communities. They work together to address issues like the impact of nursing/human resources shortages, wage parity and workforce development training initiatives.

She has witnessed advancements in the profession.

“Ten years ago, LPNs were very limited in what they could do. With nursing shortages and with COVID,  we’ve been granted extra duties to perform and training to fulfill more functions,” Denise said. She points to the successful integration of testing into the work of LPNs.

“We’re taking on more programming provided in nursing stations under direction of doctors. In our community, if someone comes into the health centre we’ll treat, test and do contact testing. If results are positive, we have all that information already. It’s really hard to get people in to see the doctor. We weren’t able to catch people and treat them right away. Now we’re capturing more to be treated and they are treated more quickly. That seems to work out better.”

She is in the process of completing the First Nations Community Management Diploma program at Yellowquill University College that is further developing her management skills. The training and her experience have made her grateful for the team that she works with.

“Congratulations to all nurses! I wouldn’t be able to do this job if I didn’t have such a good team to depend on. I know that I can ask them to do something for the community or for our program and they will get it done. I work alongside them, I don’t expect them to do anything I can’t do,” Denise said.

As the population of Peguis grows, Denise is seeing an increase in workload for health care staff. Peguis too is looking to encourage more people to pursue careers in health care and she readily advises people to consider nursing.

“There are lots of career options – hospital, community health, travel there is never a shortage. It’s such a need everywhere. If they have a nice soft heart and they are caring for people, nursing is a good fit for that.”

dark haired female in glasses
Doris Bear, Health Director for Peguis First Nation
Dark hair and earrings smiling female nurse
Charmaine Raynor, nurse in Peguis First Nation
photo of Denise bear smiling in Glasses, earrings and light blue shirt.
Denise Bear, nurse in Peguis First Nation

Amanda Mann

Read about Percy E. Moore nurse Amanda Mann on Shared Health’s website.

September 30 marks National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours children who never returned home and Survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.

To acknowledge this day, Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority is seeking poster submissions designed by a youth resident of the region.

To enter, please visit: Poster Contest (

  • Designs must be original and sized for 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper
  • Designs may be redrawn digitally for print.
  • This contest is open to employees of Interlake-Eastern RHA and their immediate family members/relatives as well as eligible residents of

Interlake-Eastern RHA.

All submissions will become property of Interlake-Eastern RHA.

Winner will receive $100.

More than one award may be granted if multiple winners are selected.  

Interlake-Eastern Health Services is located at 100 Easton Drive

Interlake-Eastern RHA recognized two physicians with physician emeritus awards last night at the region’s annual spring physician dinner at the Selkirk Golf and Country Club.

Physician colleagues and community members had the chance to nominate award recipients, Dr. Eric Stearns and Dr. Greg Pinniger, in recognition of exemplary service and expertise to community.

Dr. Charles Penner, Interlake-Eastern RHA’s regional lead of medical services and chief medical officer, congratulated this year’s recipients for their achievements.

“It brings me great pleasure to recognize my physician colleagues, Dr. Eric Stearns and Dr. Greg Pinniger, for their contributions to health care in the Interlake-Eastern region,” Dr. Penner said. 

“We are privileged to have such dedicated professionals serving our communities.”

Dr. Stearns said receiving the Physician Emeritus Award is the top honour.  He graduated from medical school at the University of Manitoba in 1978 and finished his residency in obstetrics and gynecology five years later. He began practising at the Manitoba Clinic, while also working for the Northern Medical Unit and travelling to northern communities including Churchill, Rankin Inlet, Arviat, Coral Harbour, Baker Lake and Repulse Bay.

Over time, he shifted his focus to offer care in Hodgson and Fisher River. At the same time, he spent more than 25 years in Selkirk performing surgery and providing clinical care. He also ran a private practice in Selkirk for two years. Today, Dr. Stearns continues to do surgical assisting in Selkirk.

He also serves as a physician advisor for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba (CPSM) and is a past-president for CPSM. In addition, he chaired the perinatal maternal health standards committee at the CPSM for many years and worked as a consultant on the Manitoba Physician Achievement Review program. He continues to work with CPSM’s quality improvement program.

Adding to his varied experience, Dr. Stearns was a department head at Seven Oaks General Hospital and served on multiple committees through Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority, as well as holding the position of assistant professor in University of Manitoba’s department of obstetrics and gynecology.

With a global reach, Dr. Stearns taught the ALARM International Program in Guyana, Ethiopia and Tanzania. This program aims to reduce maternal and newborn mortality around the world. In Guyana, Dr. Stearns also reviewed the national obstetrical program for the government.

As he prepares to wrap up a career that spans more than four decades, Dr. Stearns expects that 2024 will be his final year of practice. Looking back, there’s much that he’s enjoyed over the decades.

“You can’t beat delivering babies, and I also love to teach,” he said. “And to go out with this award is awesome. It’s the highlight of my career. It really tops it off. This is amazing to me.” 

Dr. Greg Pinniger also enjoys the variety he has experienced through his career in rural general practice.

Since 1992, Dr. Pinniger has served as a physician in Manitoba with four years in Killarney and 26 years at Stonewall Medical Clinic, along with work in the surgical intensive care unit at Health Sciences Centre. Outside of Manitoba, he did locums in Prince Edward Island and Alberta.

As a general practitioner, Dr. Pinniger said he enjoys “knowing a little bit about a lot of things.” He also appreciates that the duration of his career has allowed him continuity of care with his patients. By working alongside other dedicated and enthusiastic doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and administrators, Dr. Pinniger feels gratitude for individuals who comprise the care teams that health-care requires.

At the same time, Dr. Pinniger has enjoyed serving on Interlake-Eastern RHA’s medical advisory committee over the years. Looking ahead, he hopes other new physicians might pursue a similar path in rural general practice.

“I hope that rural and family medicine can one day recapture the attention of new medical graduates and entice them into a rewarding, challenging career — one where they can grow professionally and personally and one where they can feel truly needed by those that they serve,” said Dr. Pinniger, adding that coming to Stonewall was the highlight of his career.

As for being chosen as a recipient of the Physician Emeritus Award, Dr. Pinniger said it’s an honour — and a surprise.

“I’m just one of many people in the health-care system who try to do their best,” he said. “I appreciate the recognition given to me by my colleagues. It is touching and humbling.”

Interlake-Eastern Health Services is located at 100 Easton Drive

The Selkirk Home Care, Cancer Navigation Services, Palliative Care and Speech Language offices previously located at the Selkirk Community Health Office at 237 Manitoba Ave. have moved to the Interlake-Eastern Health Services building at 100 Easton Drive. The move to Interlake-Eastern Health Services increases the clinic space to serve clients.

Please note, clients receiving care at this location will be by appointment only. No walk-ins accepted.

The phone and fax numbers for these program areas remain the same.

Palliative Care Nurse: 204-785-7536

Selkirk Cancer Navigation Services: 204-785-7400

Selkirk Home Care Offices: 204-785-7537

Speech Language Services: 204-785-7730

Questions? Please contact our Corporate Office Reception at 1-855-347-8500 or email [email protected]

It’s National Immunization Week from April 22 to 30, 2024 — and this year, it is important for Manitobans to check if they are up to date with vaccinations. 

“Vaccinations help your body create an immune response against disease and protect you and your family from getting sick,” says Marcy Timchishen, Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority Immunization Co-ordinator. “Infectious diseases and illnesses such as polio, measles, meningitis and whooping cough are serious concerns for public health due to being highly contagious. However, thanks to the introduction of vaccines to modern medicine, these conditions are now preventable.”

Vaccine recommendations are updated over time as new evidence and findings come forward. This can sometimes make it difficult for people to know which vaccines they need and which vaccines they are eligible for. Some might not realize that they need to get caught up on their vaccines. For example, adults and pregnant people may not know that they need to get immunized against certain diseases.

Some may think that vaccines are just for kids — but, in fact, immunizations are needed throughout the lifespan. Most people aren’t aware that they need a tetanus shot until they visit the emergency room due to sustaining an injury. All adults require a tetanus booster every 10 years. For those who have not had an adult dose of whooping cough, they are eligible for that as well.

Timchishen said that National Immunization Awareness Week is a good time for Manitobans to speak to their health-care provider or public health nurse about updating their children’s or their own vaccinations.

“Public Health encourages all health-care providers to take the opportunity, when presented, to ensure that their client’s or patient’s immunization records are up to date,” she said.

Manitoba Health provides publicly funded vaccines to Manitoba residents who are registered with Manitoba Health, per Manitoba’s routine immunization schedule and vaccine eligibility criteria. Over the last couple months, Public Health has been focusing efforts on ensuring that those who are eligible for measles vaccination are up to date due to a significant rise in measles cases in many parts of the world and with some cases occurring in differing provinces across the country.

Public Health has also been administering more meningitis vaccine due to a recent change in the preschool routine immunization schedule in order to offer better protection against different strains that are circulating in the province.

For example, children over the age of 12 months and born after Jan. 1, 2020, are eligible for a Meningococcal Quadrivalent Vaccine even if they have had their routine Meningococcal C Vaccine.

During National Immunization Awareness Week, Public Health Nurses across the region will be increasing their outreach efforts to raise awareness of immunizations. There are clinics happening throughout the region as well as information boards, posters and community advertising around the importance of getting your vaccines up to date. Anyone with questions regarding their own or their child’s immunization records, who want to schedule an appointment or are unsure if all immunizations are up to date, are encouraged to please contact their local public health nurse

To learn more about recommended vaccination schedules for children and adults, visit:

For more information regarding vaccines and their importance, visit:

Please note, due to unexpected circumstances, the Quick Care Clinic will be closing at 2:30 p.m. today. It will reopen with phones answered (204-482-4399) at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow morning for same-day appointments.

Interlake-Eastern RHA extends thanks to volunteers

This year for National Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 14-20), Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority is acknowledging 343 people from around the region who are donating their time as volunteers in health facilities and programs.

The theme for volunteer appreciation is “Be in the moment, because every moment counts.”

“This theme captures the notion that life is made up of moments and the ones we spend helping others are some of the most meaningful and rewarding,” says Interlake-Eastern RHA CEO, Marion Ellis. “Volunteers are an important part of the region’s work every day of the year. Thank you.”

On behalf of residents of the region, IERHA’s board chair, Michele Polinuk extends her thanks to volunteers.

“The IERHA board of directors thanks and applauds each volunteer for their tireless service throughout the year,” says Michele Polinuk, Interlake-Eastern RHA  board chair, “If you, or someone you know is looking to make a difference in the community and bring a little joy into our staff, patients and residents’ lives, we have opportunities for you.”

Anyone interested in volunteering with the region can choose from several opportunities. Personal care home resident and patient support includes reading, activities and crafts, assisting with meal times and transportation and more. The palliative care program is seeking volunteers for this year’s annual grief camp, held at Camp Arnes, for children that runs May 31-June 2.

To identify interest in volunteering for Camp Stepping Stones please contact Barb Ramsay, Interlake-Eastern RHA’s volunteer coordinator, [email protected], 1-855-494-7369.

The spiritual care program is running another ‘Spirit of Caring’ course in Stonewall Hospital (Multipurpse Room A & B ) to train people who want to volunteer and/or learn more about spiritual health, dying and death, spiritual development and trauma and crisis. The course takes place every Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  from April 26 to June 28. Additional training dates and locations will be identified for the fall as well.

To identify interest in signing up for the ‘Spirit of Caring’ course please contact Ferdinand Funk, Regional Spiritual Health Services Coordinator by phoning 204-461-3414 or emailing [email protected] by April 24, 2024.

Learn more about other volunteer opportunities here:

Be in the moment, because every moment counts

Gerry Grienke, 76, has been volunteering at Kin Place Personal Care Home for 13 years. He started when his father-in-law, Andrew Paterson was a resident and he continued volunteering after Andrew passed 10 years ago. Gerry helps out with the bingo for 15 to 20 residents at Kin Place and one resident calls him the “Bingo Man” when she sees him in the hall.

“Lots of people in personal care homes have great stories and personalities. Sometimes they tell you the same story more than once but you get used to that – I always act like it’s the first time I’m hearing it,” Gerry said.

His favourite parts of volunteering have a lot to do with the connections he makes.

“I like the people and the staff. The staff keep me informed on what’s happening with the residents. I tell people to give volunteering in a personal care home a chance – you may be pleasantly surprised by the people. If you like talking to people and chatting I think you will really enjoy it like I do.”

Due to a water leak found in the crawl space of the dialysis unit of Ashern Lakeshore General Hospital yesterday evening, March 12th 2024, dialysis patients will be receiving treatment at alternate facilities. No other programs in Ashern are affected by this. Resumption of dialysis services in Ashern is still to be determined.

There has been a significant rise in measles cases in many parts of the world, with several cases recently detected in Canada. Immunization is the best way to protect against measles. Protection against measles is especially important for people planning travel. Check your immunization status, especially if you are travelling outside of Canada, to ensure you are protected. Individuals are encouraged to be alert for measles symptoms, especially if you have recently travelled. Read more about measles symptoms and vaccine recommendations.

Julene Sawatzky, regional lead for human resources for Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority (IERHA), said strong connections with education institutes are crucial to stabilize staffing.

“Working in health care has to become more accessible, so expanding the number of ways that people can enter the health workforce is critical,” she said.

“Since many health careers require training by certifying bodies — including registered nurse, licensed practical nurse (LPN) and certified health-care aide —we have cultivated strong working relationships with post-secondary institutions working in the region. Currently we’re working with Assiniboine Community College and Red River College Polytechnic. University of Manitoba is also a major partner for registered nurses, where a key focus is increasing practicum placements in the region.”

In addition, community-based organizations like Fieldstone Ventures education and training centre are working to connect communities to local post-secondary training.

“The partnership between Fieldstone Ventures and the community of Arborg would be a key example that has successfully brought licensed practical nursing and certified health-care aide training to that part of the northwest part of the region,” Sawatzky said.

“Similarly, the community of Beausejour and surrounding municipalities have worked to secure a building and have licensed practical nursing and certified health-care aide training brought to their community through Assiniboine Community College’s rotating LPN training. This IERHA-dedicated training is wrapping up in Arborg after graduating two consecutive classes of LPNs.”

In spite of these programs, Sawatzky said some people in local communities across the region still face barriers to gain employment in health care.

“Travel to a different community may not be an option and taking any time off from paid employment may not be feasible. For this reason, starting in June 2023, we piloted a community-based health-care aide micro-credential on-the-job training opportunity in five communities as a way of removing barriers that many face in joining the health workforce,” she said.

“This pilot project brought training and employment opportunities to the communities of Fisher Branch, MASH (Manigotagan, Agaming, Seymourville, Hollow Water First Nation), Selkirk, Lake Manitoba First Nation and Lac du Bonnet. Among those five communities, 34 individuals gained training and an opportunity to work in their community in a personal care home or in home care.”

For those interested in health-care education, here are a few options close to home provided by some of the training institutions that are currently in collaboration with IERHA.

Fieldstone Ventures

Fieldstone Ventures aims to facilitate skills development and training opportunities for adults in the northwest Interlake region. For more than two decades, Fieldstone Ventures has worked with communities all the way from St. Laurent to Dauphin River.

“We travel to all the communities within our region and the five First Nations when time permits. In the last six years, we have moved over to the Arborg area with the intentions of offering the same services there as what is offered here along Highway 6,” Fieldstone Ventures manager Julie Bergner said.

“The services we provide are not available north of Selkirk, so we felt it a fit to join in with Arborg when approached on the opportunity to bring LPN training to the area.”

Over the past four years, Fieldstone Ventures, ACC, community representatives and IERHA have partnered on the LPN program locally. Since the Central Interlake Training Facility opened in Arborg, one LPN training program has concluded and the second is now underway with graduation expected to occur this spring. Of the 25 graduates from the first course offering, 16 took positions with IERHA.

“We work back and forth on identifying what positions need to be filled and constantly work on bringing training to the region locally. The staff at IERHA have been amazing to work with,” Bergner said.

“We also ran a successful health-care aide program in 2016-17, which saw 16 students graduate and all 16 obtaining work in the area. The training facility is within a 100-kilometre radius of the areas we serve so it can be accessed by people within our catchment area. We currently have seven students in the LPN training in Arborg who reside on the west side, with 15 students in the class in total.”

When it comes to community partnerships, Bergner said they’re all working towards the same goal — to bring training and employed personnel to the area.

“Having a diversified board of directors helps get the message out. Our board of directors is comprised of different organizations, including IERHA and one member from each of the municipal councils, as well as the Lakeshore School Division,” she said.

“We are funded through Manitoba Jobs & Skills Development Centre to provide the employment assistance services to the regions, so we follow their guidelines when it comes to training and employment.”

Fieldstone Ventures is always seeking new board members, and all board meetings are open to the public.

“Most of the members now are from the Ashern area. We would welcome new members from surrounding communities. This we feel would benefit their groups as well. We are not limited to only training in Ashern or Arborg,” she said. “If we can find suitable facilities in other locations, we would entertain bringing training there also.”  

Fieldstone Ventures tries to offer courses that are in demand, including those to train nursing and health-care aides.

“We offered a paramedic training course in 2010 and this is something we are looking at again. In most cases, the training we offer through the colleges and universities must meet the labour market demand,” Bergner said.

“If the jobs are not available at the end of training, we will not bring it forward. We work with IERHA and Manitoba Jobs & Skills Development Centre from Selkirk to determine the needs and go from there.”

Anyone looking for information on training through Fieldstone Ventures can call their office at 204-768-3797. Bergner said they’re always open to training suggestions.

Anyone looking for information on training through Fieldstone Ventures can call their office at 204-768-3797. Bergner said they’re always open to training suggestions.

Assiniboine Community College

Similarly, Assiniboine Community College aims to transform lives and strengthen Manitoba through applied education and research — including opportunities in local communities.

“Assiniboine Community College is very much about bringing education closer to home in all rural Manitoba communities, and, as such, works in partnership with industry to meet labour market demand,” said Suzanne Nicolas, dean of nursing at Assiniboine Community College.

Community partnerships pave the way to determine if education programs meet industry needs and offer evolving opportunities. At the same time, Assiniboine Community College maintains a collaborative relationship with IERHA so it can respond to the region’s needs and bring education closer to home.

Assiniboine Community College has offered a comprehensive health-care aide program and practical nursing program in the Interlake-Eastern region. More courses are coming up in Beausejour for both programs.

“When students can stay in their home communities to study, they typically will stay and work in their community. This certainly builds capacity in the region, is good for economic growth and responds to the labour shortage and demand,” Nicolas said.

“We are always looking for partnerships with communities and regional health authorities. Currently the School of Nursing meets regularly with regional health authorities to connect with communities. We continue to have conversations with IERHA to meet the educational needs of potential students closer to home to meet the labour market demand.”

RRC Polytech

RRC Polytech is committed to a continuous transformation of its learning model to meet emerging needs. Education options are flexible with a blend of virtual and course-based delivery models, including in-community training.

“Virtual and blended learning models allow students to study in the community or from home with hands-on skills assessments either on campus or at a centralized location,” said Darlene Bouvier, regional campus manager.

“Our course-based registration model allows for part-time, full-time, day or evening learning opportunities to meet the needs of learners who may be moving into a new career, underemployed or unemployed and may need alternate dates and times to complete their learning.”

Community partnerships are critical since students can learn directly and complete hands-on practicums locally, she added. From there, they can transition smoothly from practicum into jobs to support local employment needs.

“The college provides flexible wrap-around supports including students services, tutoring, study sessions, counselling, accessibility services and access to mentors and Elders,” Bouvier said.

“For example, in Sagkeeng First Nation, we delivered a health-care aide program where students studied with the support of the community and family. The opportunity for local training removes barriers related to access to childcare, transportation and the challenges and costs of moving outside of the community to receive an education where the learner may not otherwise have this opportunity.”

RRC Polytech provides dual credit opportunities locally throughout Manitoba in partnerships with schools and adult learning centres. Students can achieve their Grade 12 certificate alongside an RRC Polytech health-care aide or health unit clerk certificate, plus many other program options.

Partnerships within industries, such as health authorities, are essential, she added.

“IERHA is one of the region’s largest employers, and our partnership ensures collaboration on employment needs, supports training throughout the region and supports students with work experience that leads directly to job offers — and often times multiple job offers due to the extensive need for health-care professionals throughout the region,” Bouvier said.

“Our partnerships are the core of our success. They enable us to extend our resources, leverage our partners’ strengths, accelerate progress in innovation and research, and expand our reach.”

Looking ahead, RRC Polytech is committed to the continued development and expansion of community partnerships to reach all learners. Part-time virtual and blended options will be available this fall through Interlake and Peguis Fisher River campuses. Evening and weekend options are available through continuing education.

“We deliver multiple programs where learners can participate anywhere in the region with our blended learning model. Students may need to travel for testing and practicum; however, a large portion can be done in community or, if the student prefers, on campus. Students can take this full time, reduced work load or part time to meet individual needs,” Bouvier said.

“With the opportunity for virtual, in-community and flexible blended learning models, this opens the door for expanded learning opportunities throughout rural Manitoba.”

University of Manitoba

The University of Manitoba also creates connections with local communities through the College of Nursing.

Jennifer Dunsford, director of clinical education for the College of Nursing, said many nursing students benefit from clinical placements in rural settings, including those in Interlake-Eastern communities.

“We really value the opportunity to work with Interlake-Eastern RHA. There’s such a rich potential for great experiences for our students that they wouldn’t necessarily get doing a specialty placement in a tertiary care setting. If you’re in a rural setting, you might get orthopedic, burns, trauma, palliative care, labour and delivery,” she said. “If at all possible, we strongly encourage students to consider doing a rural placement at some point within their program.”

At the same time, rural communities benefit from students pursuing clinical placements in their facilities.

“Rural hospitals are having staffing crunches just like everywhere else. We find that the more a student is exposed to a certain environment or facility or area, the more likely they are to request that for their senior practicum — and very often senior practicum students get hired right onto the unit that they did their final placement on,” Dunsford said.

“So we’re hoping that that will help to address some of the staffing shortage across the province as well by expanding the placement opportunities. It’s been quite successful. Our students tend to enjoy their time in rural hospitals and I think they get a great experience.”

To learn more about local health-care education opportunities, visit

Healthy Together Now (HTN) is a community-led grassroots program that helps prevent chronic diseases in Manitoba.  Starting now, community organizations can apply for funding for prevention activities in the areas of physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco prevention and reduction, and mental well-being.

Interlake-Eastern RHA provides funds through Healthy Together Now for community organizations interested in decreasing chronic disease in their communities.  

“The Interlake-Eastern RHA is awarding funding to community groups addressing health and wellness issues in their communities. Applications are currently being accepted and grants will be awarded in late Spring. All programs are encouraged to apply,” says Shannon Montgomery, director health services; public health & wellness.

Applicants must complete an online application outlining the proposed project, the budget, partners involved, and target population. The fund covers activities directly related to the programming offered. Applications will be reviewed by the Interlake-Eastern Healthy Together Now Steering Committee to ensure grant criteria is met.  

Community meetings are being held across Interlake-Eastern region for any groups interested in applying for funds. The meetings are held to review potential projects and for community to review and recommend projects for funding.  Participation in a community meeting is required in order to access funding. Community meeting dates are scheduled from March 13-22nd.

All applicants should discuss projects with their Interlake-Eastern RHA contact.

For more information please visit:

Questions? Call 1-877-979-WELL(9355) or email [email protected]

Healthy Together Now is coordinated by Interlake-Eastern RHA and supported by Manitoba Health, Seniors, and Long-Term Care.

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