Fairview, Peace River, and Vulcan are home to 2022 RhPAP Rhapsody Award recipients
A community icon, a pillar of the medical community, and a committee that made their home a place to live long and prosper are the recipients of the 2022 RhPAP Rhapsody Awards.
2022 Rhapsody Award Recipients (Click the links to read award recipient profiles below)
- Rhapsody Community Award – Vulcan and County Health Care Workers Attraction and Retention Committee
- Rhapsody Health-care Heroes Award – Kim Ruether, X-Ray & DI Tech, Fairview
- Rhapsody Physician Award – Dr. Karen Lundgard, Peace River
About the Rhapsody Awards:
The RhPAP Rhapsody Awards continue a long tradition of celebrating rural Alberta’s health-care heroes and rural communities. A play on our name, the Rhapsody Awards are designed to recognize the individuals, teams, and communities that make significant civic and health-care contributions within rural Alberta. Nominations are evaluated by an Awards Selection Committee composed of a practising rural Alberta-based physician, a member of an active rural community health workforce attraction and retention committee, and one rural Alberta health professional, all from different zones.
RhPAP celebrates Rhapsody Award recipients with a recognition event in their home community. Celebrations include a Rhapsody Award presentation. RhPAP also produces and airs a video profiling the recipient, or recipients, and their contributions to the health and well-being of their community. Details on recognition events will be released as they become available
2022 Rhapsody Award Recipients
Rhapsody Community Award: Vulcan and County Health Care Workers Attraction and Retention Committee
Rhapsody Community Award recognizes a rural Alberta community that has developed innovative and collaborative approaches to successfully attract and retain health-care professionals in its area.
Vulcan and County Health Care Workers Attraction and Retention Committee was able to work with partners to successfully complete multiple complicated projects to support local health professionals. A prime example of their commitment to collaboration is the establishment of a new clinic that offers a more attractive and convenient working environment for local physicians and, because of its location, facilitates communications between the area’s health service providers. In addition to this work, the committee has facilitated several attraction and retention initiatives including the following:
- free housing for new doctors and place to stay overnight when health professionals who commute need it
- development and maintenance of a recruitment website and participation in multiple transition-to-practice events for rural-trained resident physicians
- delivery of community packages to locum physicians to introduce them to the area
- promotion of rural health careers at the local high school through for-credit, medically-related courses and mentorship experiences with local health professionals
- facilitation of integration activities for new health professionals in the community
- celebration of local health professionals during their recognition weeks, through appreciation events and the creation of a gratitude wall in the hospital foyer
Rhapsody Health-care Heroes Award: Kim Ruether, Medical Radiation Technologist and Basic Life Support Instructor, Fairview
The Rhapsody Health-care Heroes Award recognizes rural Alberta health professionals or teams that demonstrate superior commitment to their patients, health-care team, and community.
Kim Ruether is a pillar in her community and “an icon in proving the difference one individual can make.” She has used her family’s experience to teach and advocate around agonal respirations and the critical need for AEDs in all schools in Alberta. In addition to increasing the number of AEDs and those trained to use them in schools, Project Brock and her advocacy efforts were key in making changes to the dispatch protocols of the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch so that emergency medical dispatchers ensure that 911 callers use available AEDs when necessary. This change in protocols related to “Brock’s Law” affected not just Alberta, but over 29,000 dispatchers worldwide. Her community told us that Kim is “a huge inspiration,” “a kind, compassionate X-Ray technologist,” “a devoted mother,” “a pretty terrific artist,” and “a fervent advocate for harm reduction, enhanced mental health supports, and patient- and family-centred care.”
Rhapsody Physician Award: Dr. Karen Lundgard, Peace River
The Rhapsody Physician Award recognizes the contributions of rural physicians, especially those unsung heroes, who provide Alberta rural communities with outstanding patient care and make notable contributions to medical practice and to their communities.
Dr. Karen Lundgard has done amazing work for Peace River in terms of medicine, teaching, leadership, advocacy, health workforce attraction and retention, and community building. In the words of one committee member, “there is no part of health care in Peace River that she hasn’t touched.” On top of being an excellent rural generalist, she has been an important voice for community physical, mental, and social health, especially women’s health. She has served as an educator, a mentor, an ambassador, a team player, an advocate, and a medical leader at the community and zone level as well on medical committees and boards that are too numerous to list. Her involvement was integral to the building of the new Sunrise Medical Clinic and the Peace River Shell Rotary House, where visiting medical staff can stay close to the hospital. Throughout her career, she has continually worked to help patients overcome barriers to accessing care and supported students and colleagues to continually learn, to teach, and to share their passion for rural medicine.
Outside of medicine, she is committed to creating community. She generously shares her passions: she establishes opportunities for her clinic staff to enjoy activities outside of work that allow them to be creative and to laugh. As a fabulous cook and avid hiker, her colleagues appreciate her willingness to share her recipes, trail maps, and cautionary tales. Her love of travel is evident in her involvement with the women’s travel group that organizes excursions and helps build friendships among members of the community. She has also volunteered for the Girl Guides, the Local Canadian Parents for French, the women’s choir, and she was a founding member of the Peace River Book Club of which she has been a member for the last forty years. In the generous way she has shared her warmth, humour, and passion, she has helped sew the social fabric of Peace River. Indeed, her nominators insisted that she is “not just a pillar of the medical community, but of Peace River as a whole. She invests in people, not just knowledge… and that has always been what makes her special.”