PVN Spotlight: Meet the New O&A Members!

We’re thrilled to introduce you to the newest members of our Oversight and Advisory Committee! The O&A committee helps guide our work to support meaningful partnerships between patients and health care teams, with the focus of improving health care services in BC.

To get to know them a little better, we asked them to share a bit about themselves, what led them to PVN and why they wanted to be a part of the committee. Read more about Maria, Prachi, Luka, Jean and David below!

Maria Klement

1. Why did you join PVN?
I have always volunteered most of my life. What the cause or which organization depended on life situations. At this time in my life, I have retired after working 40 years in different roles in the health care industry. The skills and knowledge that I developed, I still wanted to use and felt that I could be a successful contributor to the Patient Voices Network.

2. What interested you about joining the O&A Committee?
It sounds silly, but I like being involved on boards and on committees. It is a great opportunity to have your voice support others who want to improve the health care system. I enjoy brainstorming and setting strategic direction; this comes from other boards that I have sat on in the past. The Oversight & Advisory Committee gives me an opportunity to use my skills, mixed with my passion for health care and collaborating with like-minded people to work towards improvement.

3. What are your hopes for patients, families, and caregivers’ involvement in improving health care in BC?
It is important to know that health care cannot be a cookie-cutter approach; what works for one patient is not what works for another. There are so many different variables that can influence health outcomes. I hope that patient-centred care can develop, and the resources needed to help individuals can be supported.

4. Tell us one thing about yourself that you’re passionate about, outside of PVN?
I have to say I enjoy travelling. I love to see new sites, experience the culture, the food, the people and educate myself on the history. The travelling can be local, provincial, national, or international.

Prachi Khanna

1. Why did you join PVN?
I have worked with many projects aiming to address gaps in patient care. I hope to add to that through my involvement with PVN and bring insights to the table from my experience as a caregiver.

2. What interested you about joining the O&A Committee?
In most of the projects I have been involved in as a patient partner, I have felt like an outsider at the table. I did not see myself represented. The opportunity to serve as a youth representative allows me to bring my unique perspective to the table.

3. What are your hopes for patients, families, and caregivers’ involvement in improving health care in BC?
I hope to see a better representation of the research and policy table to improve health care in BC.

4. Tell us one thing about yourself that you’re passionate about, outside of PVN?
I enjoy photography! One of my favourite things to do is to go to the beach before dawn and get some awesome photos as the sun rises. The colours and shadows are simply beautiful!

Luka Poljak

1. Why did you join PVN?
I joined PVN around two years ago when my brother was diagnosed with bipolar and OCD. As a result, I wanted to join PVN to better understand the ways in which I can help him and others going through a similar experience like him.

2. What interested you about joining the O&A Committee?
What interests me is the culmination of my experience with PVN. Having participated in so many incredible eye-opening experiences with the organization, I was excited to be given the opportunity to take on a more leading role within PVN. I also felt like youth voices were often underheard in the health care field when compared to older demographic and felt it important to give youth the louder voice it deserves.

3. What are your hopes for patients, families, and caregivers’ involvement in improving health care in BC?
My hopes are that people of all walks of life, from age to gender, to race, to sexuality, are equally heard, supported and adapted to. We need a system for improving health care that is both equally accessible and individually geared towards the varying people it is hoping to serve.

4. Tell us one thing about yourself that you’re passionate about, outside of PVN?
One thing I am passionate about outside of PVN is the promotion of youth voices in Canada. This is not limited to just health care, but also politics, education, environmentalism and many others. Youth have demonstrated that they are not just kids who don’t take things seriously but are a group of people who are willing to sacrifice so much for the greater good of their society and futures.

Jean Shephard

1. Why did you join PVN?
I wanted to advocate for accessibility both in language and disability, particularly deafness. Stats Canada 2012 said that 78% of men and women over the age of 65 have hearing loss to some degree.

2. What interested you about joining the O&A Committee?
I saw this group to achieve advocacy for people with disabilities.

3. What are your hopes for patients, families, and caregivers’ involvement in improving health care in BC?
I hope that the needs of seniors and people with disabilities are met in health care. Hospitals should be accessible to everyone and should be open to public input regarding accessibility. Language in health-produced documents must be carefully produced to accommodate public consumption and free of “health jargon.” Representative pictures aid understanding.

4. Tell us one thing about yourself that you’re passionate about, outside of PVN?
I am internationally known as a source of information about resources for people with mitochondrial dysfunction. I also am concerned about the needs of people who live along our coastline, particularly on the islands above Powell River.

David Watts

1. Why did you join PVN?
I have been a patient in the health care system for many years and have had to advocate for myself and learn what to expect for myself and my disease. I had good relationships with those caring for me and one of my home care nurses at The Meadows (my assisted living facility) told me about PVN and thought I would be a good fit for it. Cathy Almost, Engagement Leader, reached out to me and visited me at The Meadows and told me about what PVN was and what I could bring to the table. We met and discussed what was involved, how opportunities work and how I could be involved. I signed on and started to receive opportunities. PVN also provided an opportunity for me to learn about medical structures and systems that I was tethered to and gave me something I can do and contribute to.

2. What interested you about joining the O&A Committee?
I joined the O&A Committee because it was something I thought I could contribute to and understand. It would allow me to contribute to the system directly by working with health care partners. Being in an assisted living facility, I am surrounded by many people who constantly have conversations about health care and I can advocate for people I live with to make meaningful contributions to improving health care

3. What are your hopes for patients, families, and caregivers’ involvement in improving health care in BC?
One of the biggest obstacles to the provision of health services is the lack of education/understanding of the role family must play in successful health outcomes for their loved ones. I want families and caregivers to be involved in decision making and being involved in care planning and ensure space is created for that.

4. Tell us one thing about yourself that you’re passionate about, outside of PVN?
I am passionate about acquiring knowledge! I was very active outdoors when I was able to so, but now I focus on acquiring knowledge and learning. I take online courses, seminars and workshops in my free time. I listen to podcasts and shows to learn and find ways to keep my brain active and stay in touch with the real world.

Guest-author
the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council team

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