Rural Global Health Partnership Initiative

Rural health care providers routinely face challenges accessing resources to deliver care—even in British Columbia (BC). To manage complex patient care, they must often work with their community populations to innovate and integrate solutions that best meet their needs. Continued learning about socioeconomic and cultural sensitivity, innovation, efficient resource use, and environmental stewardship, is therefore crucial, and global health partnership projects provide the opportunity to learn and practice these skills. The Rural Global Health Partnership Initiative (RGHPI) supports projects spearheaded by rural BC physicians or medical trainees and their partners based in underserved communities in BC, other parts of Canada, or internationally.  

Eligible projects are founded on strong, ethical partnerships that contribute to supporting the local capacity of health services in underserved rural communities, promote and enhance rural generalism, and result in sustainable benefits to partner communities. They will create an opportunity for reciprocal learning where the project teams learn from each other in diverse contexts. RGHPI aims to demonstrate how a health partnership can create innovative solutions to address healthcare challenges in rural BC, Canada, and globally, and improve health outcomes, especially for underserved, marginalized, and Indigenous populations. 

Our Achievements

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Awarded more project grants

Two new grants were awarded in 2021/22 and other award recipients continued to use funding from the RGHPI grant. Grant funding has helped with the following projects: 

  • Nepal Reproductive Health project: Funding from the RGHPI was used primarily to gather information about the current state of reproductive health education in rural Nepal and to build out the program to make it more accessible in rural areas.   
  • Nepal Palliative Care Educational Outreach project: This online outreach program for Nepali healthcare providers (physicians, nurses, pharmacists) has a goal of increasing local capacity in the provision of adult palliative care in Nepal. Through the project, lectures, case presentations and discussions were co-presented weekly by palliative care providers in Canada and Nepal. 
  • Bhutan Mental Health project: RGHPI funding has supported the project team in hiring a Bhutanese research coordinator to launch a survey of mental health perspectives in youth attending post-secondary education. Data analysis and summation will occur once all focus group discussions are completed. In addition to the mental health survey, an Art Expression project was launched where Bhutanese youth, school faculty and staff, and community members are invited to post an expression of art relating to mental health on a private Facebook page. The project will be piloted in Bhutan, but there are plans to extend this to rural and Indigenous youth in BC.   
  • Primary Care Partnership for Rural Generalism in the Amechi Uwani Community in Nigeria project: Building on a past malaria project in the community, this project has involved the community-led development, implementation and evaluation of the region’s first full-scope rural generalist model. 
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Connected UBC medical students to RGHPI-funded project in Ghana

A previous award recipient, Dr. Kelly Hadfield, launched the Ghana Medical Help project, which piloted a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) at the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital. The goal was to support healthcare delivery in rural communities and improve health outcomes of patients through well managed health technology infrastructure. Since receiving this award, Dr. Hadfield was connected to UBC Medical students by the RGHPI lead and, as a result, a team of medical students will be working with Dr. Hadfield and her local team on this project. The students will gain experience in analysis of real-time inventory data, identifying quality improvement opportunities, and gain a better understanding of how investing in rural health infrastructure can translate to improved health outcomes and cost savings.

Making a Difference

Rural Global Health Partnership Initiative projects are beneficial to both the project team and the community they partner with.  

And while the work often takes place across the world, the RGHPI team consistently hears feedback that those lessons can be brought back to BC.  

For example, one Bhutan project team member says: “On a personal level, I have gained experience in utilizing digital technologies to provide an opportunity for people to engage in arts and be aware of mental health themes. I look forward to using what I learned in this experience and potentially apply to my future practice in medicine as I engage with my patients on topics surrounding mental health.” 

The students helping with the reproductive health education sessions in Nepal also reported connecting the work to their future practices. UBC medical student,  Alana Chambers, who was part of the project, says: “While the communities we’re working with in Nepal face more barriers and different barriers than the communities here in Canada where we will be practising in our futures, there are still a lot of similarities and parallels…We have lots of rural places here in BC and Canada, in general, that face those same barriers just in a different context. And I think that this problem solving process and just trying to generate creative strategies to address those and create more equitable access to care, that’s going to translate anywhere in practice.”  

Team Members

Dr. Videsh Kapoor
Dr. Videsh Kapoor
Adrienne Peltonen

Adrienne Peltonen

Project Manager