23. The Rural Road Map for Action: Health organizations working together to enhance healthcare close to home and stimulate rural & remote Canada’s economic potential (Panel)

Canadians who live in rural and remote communities have a higher burden of illness, reduced life expectancy, and are often older, poorer, and sicker than urban populations. Poor health impacts quality of life and economic potential. When rural communities are healthy they can fully contribute to Canada’s economy. Rural communities need an effective health care system with a stable health professional workforce. They can achieve this through policy, planning, and practice innovations that demonstrate impact. Innovative strategies and initiatives have demonstrated success in many rural communities; however, there is no national forum to share lessons learned.

Rural communities need rural‐based solutions and to develop regional capacity to innovate, and discover what works. They need a mechanism to share lessons learned and tailor policies that meet their needs. In 2017, a Rural Road Map for Action (RRM) was launched by the CFPC and Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC) providing a pan‐Canadian vision to rural health care planning that articulates jurisdictional and sector roles and inter‐jurisdictional collaboration. Endorsed by national, provincial and regional health organizations, the RRM provides a bold strategy that depends on partnership and on a shared commitment to scale up existing innovations.

Learning objectives:

1.Recognize the value of the RRM as a framework for use across organizations & jurisdictions to support innovative practices that enhance rural and remote healthcare close to home;

2.Gain perspectives from leaders in education, practice, research and government who have used elements of the rural road map that have improved healthcare outcomes, built networks of care and stimulated rural and remote community economies; and

3.Demonstrate the effectiveness of collaborative leadership at a national level that can stimulate system change at micro, meso and macro levels within and across organizations and jurisdictions to impact improvements in rural healthcare access and economic growth.


A panel of experts in practice, research, policy and government will share lived examples of how the RRM has catalyzed rural healthcare improvements within and collaboratively across organizations and jurisdictions. Learned lessons and impact witnessed including economic growth will be highlighted. Using a think‐pair‐share model, participants will have an opportunity to dialog about similar best practices and brainstorm ways to share best practices at a national level. These opportunities will be collated and provided to the CFPC and SRPC for their future deliberations on next steps.


Participants will leave this session with a firm understanding of the interplay and value of collaboration needed between education, practice, policy, research and government to make significant change in delivering rural and remote healthcare at the regional and systematic levels. The RRM aims to provide a pathway to help support a pan‐Canadian and regional coordinated approach to enhancing rural access to health care that will influence local rural economies.


Dr. Ivy Oandasan – College of Family Physicians of Canada

Dr. Sarah-Lynn Newbery – Wilson Memorial General Hospital

Jean Bartkowiak– Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre




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