North Island College and VIHA announce partnership in rural health

North Island College (NIC) and VIHA have signed a Health Education Partnership and Program Funding Agreement.

North Island College (NIC) and the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) are pleased to announce the signing of a Health Education Partnership and Program Funding Agreement, which will see VIHA transfer up to $2.75 million in funding to NIC over a minimum 10-year period to support development and delivery of rural health programming to meet the specific needs of this region.

Specifically, VIHA will transfer $200,000 annually over two consecutive five-year terms for the purpose of assisting NIC to establish a Centre of Excellence for Rural Healthcare Education to serve as a model for British Columbia.  Following the first five-year term a review will take place to evaluate goals, benefits and outcomes, adjust goals as required, and finalize terms of the second five-year funding period.

VIHA will also transfer $250,000 per year for a minimum three years to fund the development and delivery of health education programs targeted to fill positions in rural areas, such as cross-trained medical lab diagnostic imaging technologists and pharmacy technologists.

The Health Education Partnership agreement is distinct from the land sales agreement, which will see the new Comox Valley Hospital built on former NIC lands and which was announced by Premier Christy Clark on April 26th, although the transfer of funds and future health programming is tied to VIHA’s development of expanded health services on the north Island.

NIC’s President Dr. Jan Lindsay notes “The Health Partnership Agreement will support development of expanded health care programming, the sharing of human and infrastructure resources to support the work of both organizations, and joint involvement in applied research projects.  A Steering Committee has been established and will begin preliminary discussions of potential programming and other opportunities in the near future.”

Lindsay adds “In entering into discussions with VIHA, the college took the position that the sale of college land would have to provide educational benefit to the college and future students. The Health Partnership Agreement will be a powerful catalyst for development of leading edge health care programs and expanded opportunities for students.”

“VIHA and North Island College recognize the benefits of locating a hospital and training institution in proximity can realize for developing shared research opportunities and

skilled health human resources,” says Howard Waldner, VIHA President and CEO.  “This partnership will result in more locally-trained health care professionals who are attuned to the unique needs of patients in more rural and remote communities.”