Port McNeill Primary Care/A’ekakila’as health-care team. (Submitted photo)

Port McNeill Primary Care/A’ekakila’as health-care team. (Submitted photo)

Introducing the Port McNeill Primary Care/A’ekakila’as health-care team

Island Health’s primary care clinic (PCC) in Port McNeill was set up last summer

When it comes to health and wellness we each have unique medical needs, so it’s important to have a healthcare provider who can take care of you from head to toe, at every stage of your life. You need access to a provider who knows and understands your health history, wellness goals, and concerns.

Island Health’s primary care clinic (PCC) in Port McNeill was set up last summer to provide integrated, accessible healthcare services by a team of clinicians who are working together to provide primary care for you and your family. We would like to introduce you to some of the health professionals you may meet during your visit.

Jodi Wright, Clinical Coordinator

Jodi moved to the region in 2011 to work at the Port McNeill Hospital as a registered nurse. During her time with Island Health she has worked at the hospital, with public health, and in various leadership roles. She currently supports the coordination of services the clinic provides with family physicians, a registered nurse and social worker, midwives, as well as access to travelling specialists for women’s health, a diabetic educator, pediatrician, mental health staff, home care and a dietician. “I am excited that two additional physicians will be joining the clinic this August,” she said. “We are still adding to our care team, but I want the community to know that we are here at our permanent location on McNeill Rd., and accepting patients, and we look forward to helping you achieve your healthcare goals.”

Audrey Galeazzi, Medical Office Assistant

One of the first people you will see as you enter the clinic is Audrey Galeazzi, a medical office assistant who keeps the clinic running smoothly. Audrey greets patients upon arrival, keeps appointment rooms clean and well-stocked, ensures patient files are up to date, chaperones sensitive appointments, faxes prescriptions to pharmacies, and books future appointments. Audrey has lived in this beautiful region for 48 years and is an outdoor enthusiast who loves camping, hunting, kayaking and golfing. What she loves most about her job are the clients. “My job is really rewarding,” she said. “This is a small community so we get to know our patients and the struggles they are going through. I really care about them and try to make a difference by making them smile or laugh to make a stressful situation better.”

Dr. Anas Toweir, Physician

Dr. Toweir is one of two family physicians working at the Port McNeill Primary Care Clinic, with two more physicians scheduled to arrive at the end of August. Dr. Toweir is new to the community and shared that the north island chose him when he was matched to practice here. “I participated in a program that matches international, licensed physicians who have practiced independently abroad with a rural community in need of physicians,” he said. “I am loving the weather and the community and am looking forward to providing quality care to local residents.”

Dr. Toweir had his own practice in North Africa for 10 years before coming to Canada. He has a passion for helping patients achieve their best potential self and enjoys the broad scope of family medicine, seeing patients of all ages. He is excited to be part of the wonderful care team at the Port McNeill PCC to provide the community members with the best possible care. He is currently accepting patients.

Kirie McMurchy, Social Worker

Kirie grew up in Sointula and has been back in the region working as a social worker for 10 years. Primary Care Social Workers are regulated health professionals with a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in social work. They work collaboratively with the clinic’s physicians, registered nurses, and other professionals to address social determinants of health. “One of the great things about having social workers in the same clinic as physicians is that the doctors are able to connect the patient with the social workers in the moment,” she said. “Maybe a patient is at the doctor because they can no longer work because of their medical condition and they don’t know what their options are. Or perhaps the doctor has referred them to a specialist they have to travel down island to see and they don’t have the financial resources to access that. It’s reassuring for the patient to get some information and support in the moment rather than being directed from office to office and the physicians also get the reassurance of knowing their patient’s needs were addressed.”

Kirie says the team atmosphere makes it fun to go to work. “I really enjoy collaborating across departments and with different agencies to do what is best for the patient’s specific situation. It’s a special role and I feel really privileged to do this work.”

Marijke de Zwager & Isabelle Gelineau, Registered Midwives

Many people may not know that midwifery is available for mothers-to-be in Mount Waddington and this service truly is a hidden gem! Midwives are health professionals that are trained to support and care for people during pregnancy, labour and birth, and after the baby is born. They help mothers stay healthy in pregnancy and, if no complications arise, to give birth where it is most meaningful for them. They follow the family for several weeks after birth to ensure families feel well-supported with their newborn and also offer breastfeeding support and contraception advice. The best part is they take the time to really get to know you and form a close relationship while providing sound clinical care, so appointments can be as long or as short as you need. These two midwives together have more than 25 years of clinical experience and completed the Midwifery Education Program, a four-year Bachelor of Health Science at UBC and Ryerson University.

Marijke started her practice because she saw the need in Mount Waddington to have maternity care providers who could provide a variety of options for birthing. Isabelle joined her practice in August 2020 and they currently offer appointments at the Port McNeill Primary Care Clinic, in Port Hardy at the First Nations Health Authority office and in Alert Bay at the ‘Namgis Health Centre. “During pregnancy mothers discover things about themselves, their bodies and their power,” said Isabelle. “It is such a privilege to witness a mother-to-be blossom throughout her pregnancy and to participate in this journey, making people feel like they can be pregnant and safely cared for close to home.”

Midwifery is fully covered by your Medical Services Plan and you can self-refer by completing an intake form on their website.

These are just a few of the team members working at the Port McNeill/A’ekaḵila’as Primary Care Clinic and together, this health care team is a one-stop shop that provides culturally safe, patient-centred care for community members. The staff are committed to supporting you with your care needs to help you live a healthier life. Please call the clinic at 250-956-6830 to book same-day or next day appointments, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.


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