Sounder News

Dr. Francois Bosman of Gabriola has been presented with the Above and Beyond recognition from the Rural Coordination Centre of BC.

RCCbc presents the annual BC Rural Health Awards at its BC Rural Health Conference, which was held in person for the first time since 2019 at the Penticton Lakeside Resort this past weekend.

The Above and Beyond recognition is for a rural physician’s exceptional rural BC service and contributions in supporting rural health care.

According to the statement issued by the RCCbc, “Dr. Francois Bosman has been a dedicated physician on Gabriola Island, committed not only to the patients in his practice, but also to any and all patients requiring urgent and emergency care, regardless of the time of day or night.”

Nancy Rowan, Vice President of the Gabriola Health Care Foundation (GHCF), said Dr. Bosman was also instrumental in allowing the Island to recruit more physicians so the community could have consistent care. She said Dr. Bosman recognized that the community could not attract and retain doctors without an adequate facility to work in, and that is why he collaborated with community volunteers in the development of a Community Health Centre.

“This amazing facility opened its doors in 2012 and is owned and managed by the not-for-profit GHCF and its volunteer Board of Directors,” said Ms. Rowan. “It hosts a medical clinic, three-bay urgent treatment complex, Life Labs, dental clinic, and massage therapist. Physician recruitment was not only successful due to the new facility, but also to the strong physician mentorship of Dr. Bosman to the new physicians.

“The demands of rural practice can be daunting to many physicians and Dr. Bosman’s strong emergency management skills and ongoing practice support enabled new physicians in adapting to rural practice.”

Dr. Tracey Thorne, Medical Director at the Gabriola Medical Centre, said that Dr. Bosman worked countless hours to fight for Gabriola Island residents and, although he will never get those hours back, his legacy will be remembered.

“His leadership and dedication led to change, led to improvement, and led to sustainability in his community,” said Dr. Thorne. “He will remember the hard work, but our community will never forget his good work. He made an immeasurable contribution to the health of Gabriola, and his dedication ensured this community would thrive and become a model of care across the province.”

The Rural BC Community Award was presented to Whistler, where, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, health care teams worked with partners across many community organizations to provide ‘social prescriptions’ for food from the food bank, therapy sessions, and much more to meet people’s needs in a holistic way.

The Award of Excellence in Rural Medicine: Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Lauri-Ann Shearer, from Bella Bella. Two additional rural doctors, Dr. Paul Warbeck, from the Nisga’a Valley Health Authority, and Dr. John Soles, from Clearwater/Kimberley, also received recognition for going Above and Beyond.

All recipients received plaques and the community of Whistler and Dr. Shearer each received a cash prize of $2500 to support a celebration in their home communities. RCCbc Executive Director, Dr. Ray Markham, said: “British Columbia has many amazing rural doctors who do so much good work in our communities. Without a doubt, the winners we are recognizing today are exemplary and our province is a richer place because of them and many others.”

Local News