Elaine Finseth loves animals. To her, there’s nothing better than saddling up her horse Jazz and heading out for an afternoon ride, alongside her husband Keith on his horse Scooter.
Finseth is the Alberta Health Services representative on the Alberta Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP) Board of Directors.
Finseth is no stranger to living and working in rural Alberta. For the past 30 years, she’s lived on a farm about five minutes outside Kingman, Alberta (population 103). Kingman is about 25 minutes north of Camrose.
“Well, I love living in the country, because I love the fresh air, the scenery,” says Finseth. “I love animals, so it’s an easy fit. I can go out and ride my horse. I can go and throw a ball to my dog.”
Besides Keith, Elaine’s best friend is her energetic schnauzer named Peyton. Elaine used to raise miniature schnauzers and compete in shows across Canada and the United States.
“They have a personality like a larger working dog,” adds Finseth. “They’re just great companions. She [Peyton] forgives me no matter what I do. She’s so great to come home to.”
And what would a farm be without a cat to keep mice out of the barn? That’s Pekoe’s job. Finseth jokes that her cat runs the place.
Finseth volunteers at the Annual Lutefisk supper. Proceeds from that event went towards the building of a new heated changing room and concession for the Kingman rink.
On New Year’s Eve, she took advantage of that cozy warm changing room after playing a community broomball game at the Kingman rink.
“It was a lot of fun,” says Finseth, who, along with her husband, often socializes in Kingman.
“We go skating with friends. We go to church. They have community events that we can participate in. Most people know each other, so it’s a really nice environment to be in.”
I really think it’s great that I have this opportunity to contribute – to continue to grow the understanding and awareness of allied health professionals and how we might better support and work together with physicians and nurs[es], – Elaine Finseth
Finseth is the Alberta Health Services representative on the RhPAP Board of Directors. In her role as Associate Chief Allied Health Officer with AHS, she oversees ten of the allied health professional groups. She is responsible for leading Allied Health Rehabilitation provincial strategic planning, workforce planning, service model design and standardization, practise leadership, and education for both urban and rural providers.
“I always… want[ed] to change the system, so that it would be a better place for clinicians to work and, ultimately, … have better outcomes for Albertans,” says Finseth.
Eleven years ago, she created the clinic team at the Children’s Rehabilitation Services clinic in Camrose when she was the Rehab Director for East Central Health. At the clinic, children with developmental delays are assessed and then matched with the appropriate therapy. Elaine is thrilled to see the clinic grow and thrive in meeting the needs of many Central Alberta children and their families.
“What that did was provide opportunity for children and their families to be seen closer to home,” explains Finseth. “It reduced the wait time and it built skill for clinicians [by offering the opportunity for them] to work together with a pediatrician.”
Elaine’s passion for rural health and her deep understanding of allied health providers are valuable assets to the RhPAP Board.
“I really think it’s great that I have this opportunity to contribute – to continue to grow the understanding and awareness of allied health professionals and how we might better support and work together with physicians and nurs[es],” says Finseth.
Is she an Edmonton Oilers fan or a Calgary Flames fan?
“I just happen to have this little container on my counter,” says Finseth as she lifts up a dark blue water bottle with an orange Edmonton Oilers logo. “I guess I am an Oilers fan,” she says with a laugh.