One of our key priorities is to diversify our network to better reflect the population in the province. We recognize that BC’s communities are culturally diverse, and that characteristics such as age, ethnicity, and gender affect our health care experiences and needs.
Our Oversight & Advisory Committee identified populations which are under-represented within our network, including people with disabilities, youth and men, as well as populations of varying social and cultural backgrounds. We are now reaching out to recruit patient partners represented in these populations, as we want to ensure all British Columbians, no matter their background or location, have an opportunity to improve their health care system.
In 2016 we started collecting demographic information to track how our membership reflects BC’s population. The graph below illustrates responses from 225 of over 600 patient partners; we are currently collecting this data from our other patient partners.
What We’ve Been Doing
A key priority for PVN is to diversify our membership to better reflect the population in BC. We recognize that our province’s communities are culturally diverse, and that characteristics such as age, ethnicity and gender affect our health care experiences and needs.
For example, we are excited to be working with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) to include the voice and perspectives of Indigenous people and communities in health system planning. With FNHA, we are exploring the use of their existing pathways for sharing PVN engagement opportunities, including social media channels which will reach over 4,000 Indigenous community members. Further, our engagement leaders have reached out in person at Indigenous celebrations, Regional Caucus meetings, the All Native Basketball Tournament, the Provincial Elders’ Gathering, Friendship Centres, band health centres, and Métis support organizations.
A health care team at Royal Inland Hospital is looking to improve the Mental Health and Substance Use patient experience in the emergency department. We engaged patient partners who have previously accessed services to help us understand the patient perspective. We had the pleasure of having an Indigenous patient representative; having her perspective was truly invaluable, bringing light to some of the challenges she faces as an Indigenous woman living in a small rural community.
Naomi Erickson, Health Care Partner
We’ve also been working on improving the balance of younger patient partners within engagement opportunities, as we recently opened up the network to include patient partners under age 18. Some of our strategies to get in touch with potential younger patient partners include reaching out to universities and colleges and, in some special cases, sending direct invitations when looking for patient partners with specific experience, such as maternity care.
As a youth, volunteering with an incredible organization such as PVN allows me to voice the concerns, hopes, challenges, and successes of our health care system in the eyes of our young people.
Kyle Warkentin, Patient Partner
More information about our membership is available in our 2016 Annual Report. We’re also open to other ideas on how to increase diversity in our community, feel free to get in touch with your suggestions!