In Alberta, a Canadian province known for its beef, nothing says “thank you” like barbecue.
On 6 September 2014, physicians and family members from Kneehill County, northeast of Calgary, were treated to grilled meat and all the fixings, courtesy of the Kneehill County Recruitment and Retention Taskforce.
The Physician Appreciation barbecue is an annual event undertaken by the Kneehill taskforce —composed of the towns of Acme, Carbon, Linden, Three Hills, Trochu and the rural municipality of Kneehill County— to show appreciation for the hard work and dedication of local physicians
Al Campbell, a municipal councillor from Three Hills, says the event began four years as a way to thank local physicians for the extra hours spent working away from their families during a community physician shortage.
“We started a committee to try and recruit some new doctors, and this barbecue is one of the ways we thought to get them together and just say ‘we appreciate you being in Three Hills and area and helping us out when we were in dire need at one time’.”
Municipalities pay a per capita fee into the Kneehill taskforce, recipients of the 2011 RPAP Alberta Rural Community Attraction and Retention Award, which funds the barbecue and other events geared towards physician attraction and retention.
In addition to maintaining the health and well-being of the communities they serve, the new physicians who have come to Kneehill have begun supplementing the ongoing recruitment efforts. Their contributions include working with the taskforce to tour and accommodate visiting resident physicians.
“It’s the young doctors and their wives that are doing a lot of the work to get these people to come here, and it’s really appreciated by the committee.”
According to Campbell, turnout has varied from year to year, but the Physician Appreciation barbecue has worked well.
“Every time you meet one of the doctors on the street or their wives, they thank you for hosting it, even six months from now.”
“This is a fun event to be a part of—I love it”