The South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC) and Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health have signed a collaboration agreement to strengthen the development of rural health research initiatives.
The signing took place at the Walkerton Hospital on Friday with political dignitaries and board members looking on.
The Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health is a non-profit group which is the first community-driven research centre in Canada, with head office in Seaforth.
The results of any research into rural health issues will be available to the public and to other health officials including provincial representatives with an eye to receiving more funding for rural facilities.
SBGHC President and CEO Paul Rosebush says his organization will look for opportunities to utilize the network to develop knowledge and meet the future interests of the communities it serves.
Rosebush says there is a lack of knowledge about what the needs are of rural health and with it, a lack of information that could lead to good policy development within the medical community.
He says joining with Gateway means they have access to research experts who can look at the important questions facing the future of rural health.
Gateway President Gwen Devereaux says by combining forces to collaborate in doing research and problem solve serious rural healthcare issues, it will end up benefiting all people in the communities served by SBGHC.
Devereaux says by creating research centres in the hospitals, it becomes another way to attract qualified doctors and specialists to the area as well.
Devereaux is well-versed in this area.
She served as the lead physician recruiter in the region for many years prior to taking on her current position.
She says at the Centre's home base in Seaforth, they have attracted two physicians to the rural area and a psychiatrist to the Goderich area.
Several research projects have already begun in the area served by SBGHC and more are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.