CLOSER TO HOME THAN YOU THINK
The KGH Foundation launches its most ambitious campaign in history.
If you’re driving down Pandosy Street towards downtown, you can’t miss it – the oversized billboard on the side of the Dr. Walter Anderson building at Kelowna General Hospital. The stunning photo of KGH washed in the hues of a glorious Okanagan sunrise provides a backdrop of hope and optimism, paired with the billboard’s bold message – ‘Health care has to change.’
The sign’s installation signals the beginning of a brave commitment to a new era for health care in our community; one that refuses to submit to the narrative that our health system is irrevocably broken and that there’s nothing that we can do about it. A promise of a new era of health care for the people who live in the southern interior of BC that is closer to home than you think.
This is why, on the day after the big billboard was installed, KGH Foundation CEO, Allison (Allie) Young stood shoulder to shoulder with dozens of KGH’s top physicians, administrators, health care clinicians and program providers to share the vision of what this new era of health care could look like and, most importantly, to invite the community to actively participate in building this vision, together.
It’s closer to home than you think. A $40 million commitment to advance health care at Kelowna General Hospital and through vital community health service providers across the Central Okanagan.
“What matters most to all of us is the health care that is being delivered right here, where we live,” says Allie. “So that’s why we’re focusing on investing in solutions that serve the unique needs of our patients and their families, served by our people, our hospital and community. We are not Vancouver or Calgary. It’s time to truly give the people of the interior of BC a voice, to listen, and to act on their behalf.”
The campaign looks remarkably different from recent KGH Foundation campaigns, which have successfully rallied the community to raise funds for specific equipment or program expansion in critical areas such as cardiac or stroke care. The $40 million includes a novel commitment to innovation funding and is allocated across eight areas of priority.
“It’s important that we recognize the current deficits that exist in care – and where we can, make investments that improve wait times and reduce the frustration that people have been experiencing,” explains Allie. “But we can’t stop there. This is a new era in all regards – cutting-edge technology, research and innovation – these are critical components that not only allow us to advance care in our region but are also vital to attracting and retaining top physicians, nurses and health care workers to the Okanagan and KGH.”
“We are grappling with the same, complicated issues that communities across Canada are facing,” says Dr. Devin Harris, Interior Health’s Executive Medical Director of Quality and Patient Safety and an Emergency Physician at KGH. “While the pandemic was acutely disruptive, it also showed us what we can do.”
Dr. Harris, along with a number of physician/ clinician colleagues from a variety of medical specialties and community care, is an active participant in the campaign’s advisory cabinet, helping to inform priorities and re-imagine what is possible in the delivery of care locally.
KGH radiologist, Dr. Michael Partrick and KGH cardiologist, Dr. Frank Halperin also participate in the campaign’s advisory cabinet and are excited about the opportunity to engage the community in the effort to improve health care locally.
“The fact that the campaign is recognizing the need for support across multiple medical specialties and in services in our community is really remarkable,” says Dr. Partrick. “This campaign is so important for those of us who work in health care. Not just for the funding but to know that we have our community’s support.”
“It has been a very collaborative effort,” adds Dr. Halperin. “Health care is changing. In order for the community to have a meaningful impact on health care, we need to find different, more efficient ways to deliver care and embrace technology. We are pleased that this campaign addresses more than the need for better equipment.”
Reflecting further on the potential impact of the campaign, Allie notes, “Success is keeping interior patients close to home for advanced, specialized care. It’s reducing waitlists and enabling access. It’s establishing the conditions that will attract and keep our brilliant physicians and clinicians right here in our community. Success is an investment in innovation that will help build the accessible, inclusive, sustainable system of care that we all deserve.”
“Though we expect it will take us some time to raise $40 million, the response so far has been extremely encouraging,” says Allie. “We are already almost a quarter of the way there.”
“The future of health care is closer to home than you think.”
“Because not only have you told us that health care needs to change, you’ve also told us you want to help. It’s time to bring it home.” Allison Young CEO, KGH Foundation
For more information about the campaign’s goals, please visit kghfoundation.com/closer-to-home