Enhancing Rural Community Resiliency to Climate Change and Ecosystem Disruption: Building on the lessons learned from the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen rural community health and health services.
The COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Impact Grant (Co-RIG) Program: Phase II focuses on innovations and initiatives that prepare family physicians and their interprofessional teams to cope with challenges related to the pandemic and its long-term impact.
This week’s highlighted project Enhancing Rural Community Resiliency to Climate Change and Ecosystem Disruption: Building on the lessons learned from the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen rural community health and health services is led by Dr. Stefan Grzybowski. Dr. Grzybowski and his team, in affiliation with the University of British Columbia (UBC) Centre for Rural Health Research and the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC), are bringing awareness to Canada’s most underserved communities by directly engaging with physician leaders and community members through stories of resilience and strategies of strengthening rural health service delivery.
According to the World Resources Institute, half of the world’s land is occupied by Indigenous peoples and other local communities. Climate Change and Ecosystem Disruption Adaptation Responses in Rural Canada (CCEDARR) study is engaging with rural communities to identify strategies that demonstrated resilience throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic: the research will provide system-wide recommendations to improve health services in these communities. In the next phase of the study, the CCEDARR team will work in consultation with several demonstration communities to support local initiatives enhancing long-term sustainability and resilience to the effects of future ecosystem disruptors.
Key themes identified in the CCEDARR study include the impact of long-term longitudinal relationship building to provide effective, affordable, and accessible health care in rural communities; the importance of engaging youth in decision making at the community level; and strategies to enhance emergency preparedness. The funding provided by Co-RIG Phase II supports the development of recommendations made in collaboration with municipal authorities.
This process has is building trust and strengthening ongoing relationships with participating communities. The CCEDDAR research team has engaged with a broad cross-section of knowledge holders including health care providers, mayors and town councilors, Indigenous Knowledge Keepers, and youth in 22 communities across four Canadian provinces. This study is supported by both a Youth Committee and an Indigenous Advisory Committee to ensure culturally safe approaches to community engagement and respect for Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession (OCAP®) principles.
“We want to emerge from COVID-19 with a new normal, with a new value system that’s going to value equity, justice, and fairness,” said Dr. Grzybowski during an interview with his team that included a rural Ontario family physician.