A Year of Renewal
This past year proved to be a time of renewal. Funding support from Health Canada through Société Santé en français was significantly increased. This allowed us to do critical work in such key areas as networking, improving access to French-language health services and community engagement.
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Our management team was strengthened with the promotion of Pauline Légaré to the position of Assistant Director. In this expanded capacity, she provided strong support both to senior management and our Network’s five major partners, namely the community, health care professionals, health care facilities, the education sector and government. We have also entered into new partnerships and agreements to conduct research and implement community engagement projects.
We adopted the major directions set out by Société Santé en français in its strategic framework, thereby focusing our efforts on key priorities. In this way, we can help ensure greater cohesiveness with the entire movement and continue to contribute to the development of French-language health services in those areas where we are actively involved.
Here are highlights of a remarkably productive year.
We provided strategic support and guidance to the Calgary community in its efforts to develop French-language primary care services in the area.
Health Navigators As Part of A Volunteer-led Project
Collaborative work with CANAVUA remained an important part of our focus, so that patients with appointments can continue to receive valuable support as they navigate the health care system.
Liaising With Government
Establishing and maintaining strategic links within the health care system continues to be a priority focus. Our representatives met with senior officials of Alberta Health Services to foster greater understanding. Discussions on key issues were also held with officials at Alberta Health.
Ethnocultural communities within the French-speaking population are an important client group in the area of health care. Our networking efforts therefore extend to provincial organizations involved in Francophone immigration.
►Increased Accessibility to French-language Health Services
Intersectoral Committee on Mental Health
This group was formed in 2013 to oversee the implementation of the strategic plan. It regularly meets to take stock of the situation and decide on measures to take depending on available funding and the ability of its members to meet set objectives.
Mental Health First Aid
Thanks to Société santé en français, we provided support for the training of mental health first aid instructors to work with youth and the Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta in holding training workshops.
Intersectoral Committee on Seniors’ Health
This group brings together key stakeholders from various sectors of activity to oversee the implementation of the strategic plan and plan next steps. The strategic plan was developed with the help of community organizations from across the province. Stakeholders who gather throughout the year also share the latest developments and contribute to the enrichment of the collective knowledge base.
Active Offer of Service
In an effort to encourage the active offer of French-language health services, Réseau santé albertain conducted a study on Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and how they operate. These findings will enable us to devise new forms of collaboration with PCNs seeking to increase the provision of primary care to the Francophone population.
We are also developing a media campaign to encourage French-speaking health care professionals working in the primary care sector to signal their ability to provide services in French.
Patient Demand for Service
Encouraging an active demand for service is also key. Indeed, the Francophone population must voice its need for culturally appropriate health care. As a first step in our community engagement strategy, we conducted a community consultation to identify the challenges surrounding the issue of accessibility and to solicit ideas. These findings will enable us to craft a grassroots campaign to be rolled out in synch with the awareness-raising initiative aimed at encouraging practitioners to engage in the active offer of French-language health services.
► Support for Human Resources
Saint-Thomas Community Health Centre
Thanks to funding from Health Canada through Société Santé en français, Réseau santé albertain will provide support to health care providers at the Saint-Thomas Community Health Centre, either through the recruitment of nursing assistants and health care attendants trained in member colleges of the Consortium national de formation en santé, or by strengthening the French-language competencies of staff. This past year, we conducted a preliminary study to identify existing resources and initiatives in Francophone minority communities elsewhere in Canada. The findings will allow us to map out effective support strategies over the next two years.
Development of Medical Resources in a Minority Setting
Our Network also provides support to the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, which received direct funding from Health Canada. Efforts focus on establishing ties between communities and faculties of medicine in an effort to create internships and offer interns new placement opportunities in a Francophone minority setting.
► Engaged Communities
Health Care Promotion
We have delegated this project to the Fédération du sport francophone de l’Alberta. This organization has established close ties with Francophone school boards and Alberta Health Services leading to the creation of Healthy School committees. This is an inclusive model that welcomes the active participation of the surrounding community.