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How are we communicating to create a community of leaders?
Practical strategies for building respect and mutual support through a regional forum.

"We set the tone for a respectful and thoughtful exchange. We’re all conduits for wellness, anxiety and hope."- Dr Harsh Hundal

Dr Mike Ertel, Vice President, Medicine & Quality, Interior Health

Dr Harsh Hundal, Executive Medical Director, Physician Engagement and Resource Planning,Interior Health

Interior Health is working to build a strong and resilient physician community. Its regional forum is intentionally structured to create an open, effective environment that fosters trusting relationships, and supports physician leaders to act together for meaningful change:

  • Enables faster responses and problem solving
  • Creates a proactive, pre-emptive environment
  • Shifts, elevates, and broadens the conversation
  • Increases physicians’ understanding of the health authority, its operations, and the health care system

TAKEAWAYS: How are we doing it?

Three practical strategies

Creating a space where people can connect and communicate openly and where relationships thrive:

  • Able to express vulnerability, anxiety
  • Open to courageous, frank dialogue, while respectful
  • Removes silos; no group is dominant
  • Inclusive for people who wouldn’t normally speak up
  • Elevates positive action and hope
  • Makes wellness a priority

 Holding regular, robust virtual meetings with MSA and division physician leaders and health authority medical and operational leaders.

  • Shared agendas among all groups
  • Bold, relevant topics
  • All views: insights from the ground, region and province
  • Useful facts and details to fill the void
  • Agenda space for mindful cross-pollination and problem solving
  • Round table to solicit ideas, concerns

Present, consistent and responsive leaders.

  • Commitment to the work: regular attendance, listening, follow-up
  • Gratitude for the value of medical staff to the health authority & system

Transparency about health authority limitations and challenges.

  • Care when making and delivering on promises
  • Escalation and support for challenges

On gratitude and servitude: We’re here to serve. Not to teach or discipline or tell them the bad things they’re doing. Physicians and medical staff need to hear that they’re valued; what they’re doing is making a difference and how important it is to the health authority.

On transparency: We listen and tell.
If we don’t know, we’ll say we don’t know.
If there’s a rock that we can’t move, we’ll admit it.
We’re very honest with about our struggles.

On being consistent, committed and present:
It’s hard work, but we show up, and we’re available.
We’ve been around for a while, and they trust us.