Sundre shone last Saturday, as healthcare heroes were lauded, and the drive for a new medical facility was launched. About 300 people from Sundre and Mountain View County gathered to honour, Dr. Vesta Michelle Warren, the 2016 RPAP Rural Physician Award of Distinction recipient, at a community celebration sponsored by the Alberta Rural Physician Action Plan (RPAP), and the Sundre Healthcare Professionals Attraction and Retention Committee.
A packed Sundre Community Centre paid tribute to Dr. Warren, saying thank-you to her for her exemplary dedication and service to the community since 1999. Guests were treated to a three-piece musical ensemble, followed by a hearty roast beef supper, featuring Alberta beef and all the trimmings. Representatives from the Town of Sundre, Mountain View County, and Alberta Health Services, made special presentations to Dr. Warren. A silent and live auction were also held to raise funds for a new hospital facility in Sundre.
When it came time to present the 2016 Rural Physician Award of Distinction, RPAP Board representative, Dr. John Gillett, and incoming RPAP Executive Director, Bernard Anderson, did the honours. Dr. Gillett, a practising rural physician from Grande Cache, introduced a tribute video profiling Dr. Warren, and added congratulatory remarks on behalf of the Board, and the committee of rural representatives who recommended Dr. Warren for the 2016 award.
“The committee made special mention of Dr. Warren’s use of nurse practitioners, her willingness to mentor future generations of physicians at the Moose and Squirrel Clinic, and her role as a strong advocate and volunteer within the community, as some of the reasons for her selection,” said Dr. Gillett.
“[Dr. Warren] is a forward thinking physician that Sundre should be proud to have.”
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The community celebration to honour Dr. Warren was also the launchpad for the first-ever Hospital Futures Legacy Gala, a fundraiser supporting the continued recruitment and retention of medical professionals to Sundre, and the work needed to secure a new hospital in the community.
RPAP’s incoming Executive Director, Bernard Anderson, praised the “unsung heroes” of rural healthcare, lauding local healthcare professionals for their commitment to the community, and recognizing the Sundre committee for its tireless work, and vision for the future of healthcare in Sundre.
“The intention of the RPAP Award of Distinction program is to leave a legacy, forever honouring the tireless work and dedication of distinguished physicians, like Dr. Warren, in the places they call home. This Hospital Futures Legacy Gala… promises to leave a legacy that will benefit this area for generations,” said Anderson.
“Great communities make great things happen, and it’s an honour for myself, and RPAP to be a part of this event this evening.”
Dr. Warren was presented with a trophy, made of sandstone and etched glass, that is donated annually by Mr. Larry Samoil, President of GRM Business Services.
The RPAP Rural Physician Award of Distinction was created in 2002 to recognize the contributions of all rural physicians, especially those ‘unsung heroes’ who provide Alberta rural communities with outstanding medical services and who make huge contributions to medical practice and their communities.
Alberta Rural Physician Action Plan is an independent, not-for-profit company funded by the Alberta Ministry of Health. Established in 1991 by the Government of Alberta, RPAP supports the ongoing efforts of Alberta’s rural physicians, their families and communities to improve the quality of rural health care.