John Grogan Individual member

{Wikipedia} Valemount is a village municipality of 1,018 people in east central British Columbia, Canada, located 320 kilometres (200 mi) from Kamloops, British Columbia. It is situated between the RockyMonashee, and Cariboo Mountains. It is the nearest community to the west of Jasper National Park, and is also the nearest community to Mount Robson Provincial Park, which features Mount Robson, the tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies. Outdoor recreation is popular in summer and winter—hikingskiingsnowmobiling, cross country skiing, mountain biking and horseback riding are common activities. Valemount is one of 14 designated Resort Municipalities in British Columbia.


Being a patient partner at Northern Health: John Grogan’s story

A man smiles into the camera.

Daniel Ramcharran  October 16, 2020

Patient partners provide their unique perspective to health organizations and play a crucial role in today’s health care.

We’ve all had experience interacting with the health care system. Patient partners take those experiences and provide suggestions to help improve the care that people receive.

Patient Voices Network ensures the voices of patients are heard

In the North and throughout the province, patient partners are recruited through the Patient Voices Network (PVN). The PVN links partners with a variety of opportunities to work with health agencies and offer the patient perspective. 

John Grogan of Valemount has been a Northern Health patient partner through the PVN since 2014.

“A friend invited me to an orientation meeting and I’ve never looked back,” says John. “I was looking for meaningful volunteer opportunities, and I found it.”

The network posted an opportunity to participate in Northern Health’s Telehealth Strategic Planning Workshop in 2016, which took place over a weekend in Prince George. Telehealth is a service that connects patients with specialists and other medical professionals virtually (e.g., using phone or video), reducing the need for travel. It’s an especially important service for the vast geographic region of Northern BC.

Patient input is valuable and brings thinkers together

John immediately jumped on the opportunity to help. He attended the workshop and a number of presentations addressing all aspects of the potential future of telehealth in the North. They explored how the use of this service impacts not only the health authority, but also the patients themselves.

He enjoyed taking part in the breakout groups, directing questions to presenters and discussing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to using these technologies. John also found ample time to engage face-to-face with some great thinkers.

“I enjoyed it so much, that after arriving home I spent a few hours drafting a post-mortem reflection for the conference organizers,” says John. 
Today, telehealth is playing an essential role in the continued health and safety of health providers and patients alike, reducing disease transmission associated with waiting rooms and travel.

Preparing for a virtual future

Northern Health, the Specialist Services CommitteePhysician Quality Improvement, and the Patient Voices Network have also partnered to offer a workshop for volunteers in ZOOM videoconferencing in anticipation of virtual patient/practitioner visits. John hopes they can expand beyond just PVN volunteers and create a mentorship program to help community members become more familiar with the technology.

In addition, John has had the opportunity to be a part of the following projects:


Learn more about how you can become a patient partner today!


[Excerpts] To read the full article click on the bold text 

Robson Valley opioid clinic needed: local doctors

An opioid agonist treatment clinic could serve the 3,225 people (2016 Census) living in the communities of Dome Creek, Urling, Crescent Spur, Goat River, McBride, Dunster, Tête Jaune Cache, and Valemount within the the 15,220 square km McBride/Valemount Community Health Service Area. Map courtesy Provincial Health Services Authority.

By Fran Yanor / Legislative Reporter
Published on: Novermber 14, 2020

[Excerpts] The Robson Valley has a community need for a dedicated opioid treatment clinic for people dealing with substance use addictions and mental health issues, say two Valemount physicians.

“We have been looking at trying to start up an opioid agonist therapy clinic,” said Dr. Ray Markham, chief of staff at the Valemount Health Centre. “I certainly don’t think a formal clinic is the panacea, but it may offer a couple layers of depth to the way that we can support members of our community.”

“It’s not just about prescribing,” said Markham. “There is a whole bunch of crossover with complex chronic pain and mental health.”

One-stop clinic
“It is super helpful to have a one-stop shop clinic,” said Maureen Davis, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association operations in Prince George. “Having a doctor, a nurse practitioner, a social worker, an addiction counselor, having access to all those different kinds of support means you’ve just broadened options for the clients.”

Barriers to access
“If one area of the province has access within minutes, and the other has access in hours, that’s not equitable,” said Ed Staples, president of BC Rural Health Network, which advocates for improved health care in rural communities.

Another obstacle for rural residents is the lack of anonymity.

“Stigma is a real problem,” said Staples.

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