Michelle Dowker of WellBalance takes a blood sample from Julie Foster

Michelle Dowker of WellBalance takes a blood sample from Julie Foster

Good health draws good crowd

The Mount Waddington Health Network hosted its 2014 health forum last Wednesday at the local Lions Club Hall.

PORT McNEILL—The gamut of health and wellness concerns on the North Island was on display last week as the Mount Waddington Health Network hosted its 2014 health forum last Wednesday at the local Lions Club Hall.

In a departure from previous Health Network forums, providers and health support organizations this year were invited to set up display booths and share information in an exposition format built around the Network’s annual meeting.

Alyson Hagan-Johnson was re-elected by acclimation as the non-aboriginal co-chair of the network and is joined recently installed aboriginal co-chair Jamuga Cook. Barb Park, the newest coordinator, also made a brief presentation before lunch was served and participants gathered in a series of round-table discussions.

The Mount Waddington Health Network is an assemblage of organizations, municipalities, First Nations and citizens interested in a wide range of local health concerns and factors impacting health, including poverty, income inequality, underemployment, inadequate education, poor housing, lack of transportation, discriminatory practices, food supply issues and health care inequality.

Booths included representatives from Island Health (formerly Vancouver Island Health Authority),  North Island College, North Island Employment, ‘Namgis Community Services, North Island Crisis and Counselling Centre Society, North Island Community Services Society, Ministry of Children and Family Development, holistic health provider Michelle Dowker of WellBalance, Port McNeill Seniors, Port McNeill Hospital Auxiliary, Vancouver Island Crisis Society and Responsible and Problem Gambling Program.

Participants were invited to participate in a series of round-table discussions throughout the day. Hagan-Johnson hosted a dialogue on the Health Network steering committee; Alison Mitchell spoke on Island Health; and forums followed hosted by Gail Neely and Pat Horgan (Seniors-Elders better living), Althea Vermaas and Sean Junglas (Housing), Shirley Ackland and Shane Thomas (addictions) and Leslie Dyck (food security/availability and community engagement).