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4 Minute Read
Community & Culture
It is now recognized nationally, marked by the colour orange. But Orange Shirt Day has deep-seated meaning for Kukpi7 (Chief) Willie Sellars of the Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) – because its roots are entwined with the horrific history of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) and Canada’s dark legacy of residential schools. Many children from WLFN, along with children from Ulkatcho First Nation, Mt. Currie First Nation and other First Nations communities were forced to attend St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School. Their stories, and the stories of children who attended residential schools across Canada, are now being told – and remembered every year on Sept. 30, now known as Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Chief Sellars recently discussed the Sept. 30 days of recognition on Interior Health’s Interior Voices podcast. "Intergenerational trauma is a real thing," he says. "What are we doing to address the intergenerational piece, break the cycle and start seeing healthier families and communities?"
2 Minute Read
Community & Culture
Name: Madison Waddington (she/her/hers) Job Title: Ultrasound Technologist Years of Service: 10 Worksite: Royal Inland Hospital Community: Kamloops Ancestral Territory: Secwepemc / Shuswap Interior Salish Advice to live by: Live your life to the fullest; we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Madison Waddington is an outgoing, energetic ultrasound technologist. She works at Royal Inland Hospital (RIH) in Kamloops, the city where she was born and raised. “I first got into the medical field because I was following in my dad’s footsteps to become an X-ray technician.”
2 Minute Read
Community & Culture
The other day, Jered Dennis heard something alarming – in one South Okanagan secondary school, it was estimated that at least half of the students vaped. “Now, this was an anecdotal story,” says Jered, one of Interior Health’s tobacco and vaping reduction coordinators. “But behind the story is likely some kernel of truth, and that’s concerning. It reinforces to me the importance of talking directly with young people about smoking, tobacco use and vaping.” But how can a group of adults working in health care do that effectively? The teen audience typically doesn’t travel the same social media circles as people in their parents’ age group. This prompted Jered and his Tobacco and Vapour Reduction teammates to think of new ways they could spark conversation with youth. The result was a new poster contest called Take A Breath: Teen Voices on Tobacco & Vaping. Starting Oct. 1, youth living in the Interior Health region in Grades 8-12 will be invited to submit original artwork that shares a message about the impact of youth smoking/tobacco use and vaping, inspired by one of the following themes: The importance of ceremonial tobacco for Indigenous traditions, and how it differs from everyday (commercial) tobacco use Important facts about smoking/tobacco and vaping products Tobacco and vaping companies’ strategies to promote use Impact of smoking/tobacco and vaping on my life Environmental impact of smoking/tobacco and vaping The contest judges will be teens from the McCreary Centre Society Youth Council, which means the entries will bear the acid test of whether people in the teen age group can relate to the poster messages. A winning poster will be chosen for each of the five themes, professionally printed, and offered to schools for display throughout the Interior Health region as well as in IH hospitals and health-care centres. More importantly, by virtue of coming from youth artists, their messages will hopefully resonate more with people in that age group. “Youth know better than adults about youth smoking, tobacco use and vaping,” say Priscila Nabuco, who works with Jered on the IH Tobacco and Vapour Reduction team. “It’s important to hear youth voices and views on how smoking and vaping impacts them and their friends, and also their families, schools and communities.” Adds Jered: “Through this poster contest, we want to create opportunities for conversation between teens and their peers, and also with their parents and teachers, about smoking, vaping and tobacco use. And that, ultimately, young people will educate themselves, so they can make informed choices about nicotine use.”
2 Minute Read
Health & Wellness
A whole new language has been introduced to our daily conversations, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Words and phrases like variants, mRNA vaccines, and rapid antigen testing have become commonplace as we have learned about coronavirus and how to keep ourselves safe and healthy from the disease. And now a new set of words has entered the local lingo – monovalent and bivalent vaccines. So what exactly do those words mean? We asked Kristiina Smith, an immunization specialist with Interior Health, to help us better understand these terms, which most people will start hearing more about as invitations for COVID-19 booster shots begin going out this fall. “Simply put, a monovalent COVID-19 vaccine targets a single strain of the virus, while a bivalent vaccine targets two strains,” Kristiina says. “The booster shots you’ve had previously have been monovalent – targeting the original COVID-19 virus. This fall, the booster is a bivalent vaccine, formulated to attack both the original virus and the Omicron BA.1 virus which we’re seeing more of in our communities.” For this fall’s boosters, Health Canada has approved the Moderna Spikevax Bivalent COVID-19 vaccine for use as a booster dose for people 18 years of age and older. This is the first COVID-19 vaccine with two strains available in Canada, and is expected to provide better protection against the Omicron variant that is making people sick in the community. Kristiina says vaccines that target more than one variant of virus are not new. In fact, your annual flu shot is usually a trivalent or quadrivalent vaccination – targeting the three or four strains of influenza that scientists predict will be most prevalent in our communities during respiratory illness season. “Because viruses change over time, it’s important that we continue to get our booster shots for COVID-19 and for the flu when they become available,” she says. “That’s how we’ve been able to resume our day-to-day lives, like attending sporting events, school events like graduation and music concerts. It’s all about establishing immunity for your community.” Learn more: For information about COVID-19 vaccinations for those over age 11, visit our COVID-19 Immunization Clinics page. For vaccination information for children, visit the COVID-19 Children Under 12 Vaccines page. Register for vaccinations in the provincial Get Vaccinated system.
3 Minute Read
Community & Culture
Name: Chris Foley (he/him/his) Job Title: Workplace Health & Safety Advisor Years of Service: 20 Worksite: Commerce Court Community: Penticton Ancestral Territory: Syilx Favourite Quote: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a ride!’” — Hunter S. Thompson Workplace Health & Safety advisor Chris Foley is originally from Howell, Michigan. After marrying his Canadian wife, Jacquie, he moved to B.C. in 1993. They’ve lived in Summerland for the past 28 years, where they raised four amazing children. Chris has a fun-loving nature, and he’s always looking forward to the next adventure. When it comes to his job, Chris is hard-working and serious about helping others. “I started 20 years ago as a home support worker and care aide. Then, I worked as a rehab assistant because of the desire to help patients. Since I got the opportunity to join the Workplace Health & Safety (WHS) team, I’ve kept sight of the patient care piece, but focus more so on staff safety and well-being nowadays.”
4 Minute Read
Health & Wellness
Immunization and vaccines are important throughout your life. Vaccines are products that produce immunity to a specific disease. Immunization (or vaccination) protects people from disease by introducing a vaccine into the body that triggers an immune response. Read on to find out five important things you should know about immunizations and vaccines, and visit our Immunization and vaccines page for more information.
2 Minute Read
Health & Wellness
Talking about suicide - starting the conversation, listening, providing support, and connecting people with help – can be difficult and even scary, but it’s important to help prevent suicide and end the stigma surrounding it.  If you’re worried about someone, don’t be afraid to tell them; talking about suicide doesn’t make them more likely to do it, and they may be relieved to have someone who cares to talk to.  If the individual tells you they have a plan to end their life, stay with them until you connect them with supports.
6 Minute Read
Health & Wellness
There’s little I love more than cruising down a sweet single track on my mountain bike. Add my dog and some pals into the mix and you have a recipe for my perfect day! Even though I’m a confident rider and have the skills and experience to tackle most of what the trails throw at me, things can still go sideways, and unfortunately brain injury is a real risk of the sport I love. Earlier this spring, my season was off to a great start. I was feeling fit and confident, and even tackled a bike everyday challenge where I mountain biked for 24 days straight before a knee injury from a running accident put me out for a few days. But I recovered quickly and was back on the bike in a matter of days. However, in mid-May I had a crash that showed me first hand the possible consequences of the sport I am so passionate about. It was a lovely spring evening on Knox Mountain in Kelowna, on a trail I’ve done many times with a group of supportive pals, where I took a crash that caused me to experience my first concussion and started me on a new journey of recovery, learning, and rebuilding my confidence to get back on my bike. Here’s my story of brain injury and recovery, and the lessons I learned from the experience.
3 Minute Read
Community & Culture
Name: Brandy Martin (she/her/hers) Job Title: Central Functions Rehabilitation Assistant Years of Service: 25 Worksite: Vernon Jubilee Hospital Community: Vernon Ancestral Territory: Syilx Advice to live by: You have to have a work-life balance. Brandy Martin, a central functions rehabilitation assistant, was born in Medicine Hat, Alta. She moved to Vernon, B.C., in 1987 and has been working at Interior Health for more than two decades. “As a health-care worker for the past 25 years, and a JOHSC [Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee] co-chair for the past year, I have come to really appreciate working with others that have a good work ethic and are willing to work collaboratively together to achieve the same goals.”

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