Rural Health Learning Collaborative 

The Rural Health Learning Collaborative supports structures that build social accountability into health system improvement through the development of relationships between partner groups within the system. Generously supported by a grant from Michael Smith Health Research BC, the Collaborative, through the Rural Coordination Centre of BC (RCCbc), engages less connected or marginalized groups of rural citizens, rural providers, and linked sectors to support the more 

robust development of the Partnership Pentagram Plus model in British Columbia (BC). An important component of this work is assisting rural physicians and their teams in developing research knowledge and process. RCCbc’s Scientific Directors, Dr. Nelly Oelke and Dr. Dee Taylor, work to build capacity and strengthen BC’s rural research network. 

Our Achievements

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Enhanced the voice of marginalized perspectives within health care

In 20212022, the Rural Health Learning Collaborative continued to support the work of collective perspective groups for rural citizens, rural providers, and linked sectors. These groups, each convened by a partnership between a rural and a provincial organization, provide a venue for discussion of key and emergent issues among peers. The conversations at these groups inform healthcare system transformation work being done at partnership tables and committees, and provide a safe and creative space that generates ideas on existing priorities, as well as surfacing new priority areas for work.

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Supported rural research capacity development

In 20212022, the RCCbc Scientific Directors engaged with research partners through the health care system to support the rural lens and build rural research capacity. Dr. Taylor and Dr. Oelke bring their expertise to projects, advisory groups, and partnership tables, acting as a sounding board to provide a robust research and evaluation footing underlying these initiatives. They also work with individual physicians and researchers to develop and support rural research on specific topics of interest.

Making a Difference

“The rural collective perspective groups are safe and creative spaces that generate ideas beyond the norm,” says Dr. Ray Markham, Medical Director for the Rural Health Learning Collaborative. “The very nature of these groups, composed of perspectives different from the usual voices at the table, changes the discussion. Approaching a topic from a different perspective gives a different approach to a solution, and is a reminder that the priorities of those served by a system are different from those presumed by the system.”  

 In the coming year, the Collaborative will be taking a strategic approach to broadening, supporting, and integrating its Learning Health Systems approach. “The work of the RCCbc Scientific Directors is foundational to success of countless initiatives across rural BC,” says Dr. Markham. “Their efforts continue to have impact far beyond RCCbc, building capacity that supports improvement throughout the healthcare system. As we turn an eye to the future of the Collaborative, this capacity building work gives a model for how to enhance the rural voice throughout the health care system at large.”   

Team Members

Dr. Ray Markham
Dr. Ray Markham
Dr. Nelly Oelke
Dr. Nelly Oelke
Dr. Dee Taylor
Dr. Dee Taylor
Kim Williams

Kim Williams

Networks Director

Paul Kendal

Paul Kendal

Networks Coordinator