Health Advisory Councils give communities a voice in health care planning
Alberta Health Services (AHS) has appointed four volunteer members to its Lakeland Communities Health Advisory Council, which provides input into health care services in the area and across the province.
The new members, who join six incumbents on the council, were chosen as part of a larger recruitment campaign aimed at adding new voices to 12 Health Advisory Councils (HACs), two Provincial Advisory Councils (PACs) and the Indigenous Wisdom Council.
“These councils are important to the future of health care in Alberta,” says AHS Board Chair Linda Hughes. “We looked for people who are passionate about health care and eager to learn what’s working, and where improvements can be made, in how we deliver health care services in their communities. The addition of new members and renewal of experienced members will rejuvenate and refresh these councils while ensuring continuity.”
Council members represent Alberta’s Indigenous, urban, rural and remote communities, and come from all walks of life, including include teachers, seniors, community leaders and former patients. Provincial Advisory Councils also include members with personal or professional experience related to cancer care, addiction and mental health.
“AHS aims to be a person-centred health care system and, as such, we’ll continue to evolve if we listen to Albertans and understand their needs and the needs of their communities,” says Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO of AHS. “Their voices are crucial to helping AHS find creative solutions to address the unique health needs of communities across the province.”
The councils convene four to six times per year at communities across the province. Meetings of all councils include a mix of public members and expert resource personnel.
“We are eager to get actively involved with our new council members and their communities,” says Smoky Lake resident Pat Palechuk, Interim Chair of the Lakeland Communities Health Advisory Council. “Working together, we can share with AHS zone leaders a broader perspective of health in our region.”
Advisory council members engage with Albertans to understand their diverse perspectives and provide input into health care planning and decision-making. They meet with AHS zone and provincial leaders to help further AHS’ ability to provide more targeted, accessible and sustainable patient- and family-centred health care.
“I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer in several capacities in health care over the years,” says Parrish Tung, a new recruit with the Lakeland Communities Health Advisory Council and resident of Elk Point. “As a member of the health advisory council, I look forward to finding ways to maximize resources to provide the best and most efficient health services to all Albertans.”
While recruitment efforts in urban and rural areas succeeded in increasing council memberships, AHS is continuing recruitment efforts until all councils reach full membership. Wildfires in northern Alberta last spring caused AHS to defer recruitment efforts for the Wood Buffalo Health Advisory Council. That work is now underway.
People interested in joining one of AHS’ councils can submit an expression of interest form, which is available online at http://www.ahs.ca/shapehealthcare. For further inquiries, please call 1-877-275-8830, or email [email protected].
*Press Release from Alberta Health Services