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RhPAP’s Rural Voice Information Panel 

Melissa Myers-Connors

October 19, 2020

“Every day, I see multiple acts of kindness and reaching out from birthday parades, grocery and goods deliveries to those isolating, window scavenger hunts, [and] sharing of ideas or online resources. It continues to grow!” - Rural Alberta community member

“What does RhPAP do with the results?”

RhPAP provides a summary report to all panel members on the results of each survey. Through this report, respondents can see how their experiences compare to those of other rural communities.

RhPAP uses the results to inform our work with the attraction and retention committees with whom we are engaged across rural Alberta, as well as to support RhPAP’s internal planning, programs, and services. We also share the panel’s feedback, ideas, and concerns with relevant provincial decision-makers, Alberta Health in particular, as well as the public through our website, and our Board of Directors, who are encouraged to share this information with the organizations they represent:

– Alberta Health Services
– Alberta Medical Association
– Rural Municipalities of Alberta
– College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta
– College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta

Depending on the survey topic, RhPAP shares the results with other partners and stakeholders in health care, community development, and education who are interested in the panel’s experiences and input.


“We pull together in a crisis. We have a caring community where people are willing to work together and look after each other.” - Rural Alberta community member

Key findings and outcomes

Rural community members have provided valuable feedback on themes such as health-care access and service delivery in rural communities, COVID-19 and community building, and awareness, perceptions, and understanding of health-related topics.

In the December 2019 survey, RhPAP asked the Rural VIP about their awareness and perceptions of three health professions in Alberta that had experienced recent changes in their scopes of practice: midwives, licensed practical nurses, and nurse practitioners. Based on the survey responses, RhPAP developed educational materials about nurse practitioners and other health professions to answer common questions about these providers.

In the August survey, we asked about members’ connections and experiences with a range of RhPAP initiatives. We learned that 92 per cent of survey respondents who had supported, volunteered, or participated in RhPAP’s initiatives rated them as extremely valuable or very valuable.

In January, RhPAP asked the Rural VIP about mental health in their communities. Respondents identified insufficient resources, including access to services and specialists, appointment wait times, treatment options, and having to travel for care as challenges their communities face with respect to mental health and addictions. RhPAP continues to discuss the themes and suggestions arising from this survey with our partners and stakeholders in mental health.

When COVID-19 reached Alberta, RhPAP wanted to get a sense of how rural Alberta communities were dealing with the pandemic and supporting each other as well as how RhPAP could support rural communities through this stressful time. The results suggested that sharing information and resources, representing rural Alberta in our communications, sharing rural stories about COVID-19, and continuing to connect with rural communities were the best opportunities to provide support.

In another survey related to COVID-19, respondents shared their own experiences and reflections on how their neighbours and communities responded to the pandemic. Responses reflected how rural Alberta communities are coming together in the face of pandemic challenges and risks:

All the summaries and infographics of previous Rural VIP survey results can be accessed at www.rhpap.ca/ruralVIP


“Our small community [Nanton] is always ready to jump in to help others if there is an emergency. Individuals and agencies started programs to ensure seniors and others were not left without the ability to grocery shop, obtain necessities, … " - Rural Alberta community member

Questions about RhPAP’s Rural Voice Information Panel?

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