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Local Community Visits

Portage Express Local Community Visits

Rendez-Vous 2012 Portage Express Program

Many representatives of organizations in the community of Thunder Bay came together to offer a wide array of sites (poses) for Rendez-Vous 2012 delegates. Ranging from Aboriginal and Francophone culture, interactive historical displays and treks in the wilderness to health education, research and technology, northern search and rescue, and on through hospital-centred care, these journeys introduced delegates to Thunder Bay, to Northern Ontario, to Canada, and to life in the North.

Throughout the Portage Express active learning experience, delegates incorporated the concepts of the Rendez-Vous 2012 theme–community participation in education, service, health and research–in interactive discussions. By the end of their experience delegates:

  1. Explored the various approaches in which community agencies and organizations develop relationships, provide service, and interact collaboratively work with health professional education programs;
  2. Distinguished how organizations work with community partners in providing services for the underserved marginalized populations;
  3. Identified cultural practices unique to specific populations and how these are integrated with learning and service; and,
  4. Discovered similarities and differences of global health issues with health professional education curricula developments and collaborative research.

Why did we refer to this as the Portage Express?

The English word “portage” is derived from the French noun “portage” and verb “porter”; to carry. Early French explorers ventured in New France around many rapids and cascades, and Aboriginal people carried their canoes over land to avoid river obstacles. The French coureurs des bois, voyageurs, and trappers used the French word “portage“.

The Portage Express experience extended the Rendez-Vous 2012 voyageur theme with the Trading Post option of exchanging portage tickets with fellow delegates. A trading post was a place or establishment where the trading of goods took place; the term is generally used, in modern parlance, in reference to such establishments in historic Northern America, although the practice long
predates that continent’s colonization by Europeans. The preferred travel route to a trading post or between trading posts was known as a trade route.

Why did we refer to each site as a pose?

A “pose” was a rest stop along the portage trail, usually about ½ mile apart. Voyageurs would often be allowed a pipe at each pose. As a result, portages were often described by the number of poses or
pipes allowed. Grand Portage was a 16 pipe or 16 pose portage since it was just over 8 miles long.

How did we transport delegates to a pose?

Each participating delegate received a coupon for each pose destination upon registration. The coupon featured the day, time, name and address of the pose and any other important information. It also had the silhouette of an animal native to Canada. The animal correlated to the vehicle that delegates needed to embark upon to be transported to the pose.

Were there any other sight-seeing opportunities offered through the Community Journey – Portage Express?

Along the routes to and from the pose sites, delegates were provided with factoids about the city of Thunder Bay and surrounding region. Extra sight-seeing opportunities were offered on route to and from the pose.

The following organizations participated in the Community Journey – Portage Express:

  • Alpha Court
  • Belluz Farms
  • Brain Injury Services of Northern Ontario (BISNO)
  • Canadian Cancer Society
  • Canadian Diabetes Association
  • Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)
  • City of Thunder Bay, Bare Point
  • City of Thunder Bay, Recreation Services, 55 Plus Centre
  • Confederation College, Education and Technology, Simulation Learning
  • Dr. P. DeGiacomo, Dentist
  • Fort William Historical Park
  • George Jeffrey Children’s Centre ICR Discoveries – Institute of CancerResearch, RegenMed, Mitomics, and TBRRI – (Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute)
  • Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park
  • Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic & New Directions Speaker’s School
  • Lakehead Nurse Practitioner – Led Clinic
  • Lakehead Search and Rescue and Thunder Bay Police Services K-9 Unit
  • North West Local Integrated Health Network
  • NorWest Community Health Centres
  • Ontario Telemedicine Network
  • OPTIONS northwest
  • The Salvation Army Community & Residential Services
  • St. Joseph’s Care Group – Long Term Care, Hogarth Riverview Manor
  • St. Joseph’s Care Group – Manor House
  • St. Joseph’s Care Group and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
  • Mental Health and Addictions Services – Sr. Margaret Smith Centre
  • Superior North Emergency Medical Services
  • Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
  • True North Community Co-operative
  • Waabi-ma’iingan (Grey Wolf) Traditional Teaching Lodge

On the Rendez-Vous registration form, conference registrants chose their top five of the following 15 themes:

Aboriginal Healthcare and Services: These are community-based organizations, programs and services administered and staffed by and for Aboriginal people in Northern Ontario. Many of the Aboriginal local community site visits will include teachings about Traditional and cultural aspects of care, current strategies and innovative community health care approaches and practices.

Children’s Health: These are community-based organizations, programs and services devoted to acute and chronic, short and long term, physical and mental health of children up to the age of 18.

Chronic Disease Management: Under this local community site visit theme, conference registrants will visit organizations, innovative programs and services addressing the needs of the Northwestern population living with long term and chronic health conditions. Registrants will have ample opportunity to explore and discuss programming addressing population health needs both from a geographical and a cultural perspective.

Community and Population Health: Addressing the needs of the people of Northwestern Ontario and Thunder Bay, Local Community Site Visits to organizations, programs, institutions and services addressing community and population health issues will allow for interactive discussion on the health and quality of life concerns for population groups and/or communities. Portage Express Pose, Community and Population Health option: “An Evening at the Theatre” on Friday from 5 pm – 7 pm, hosted by the Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre, Operating Room. A maximum of 8 guests may attend. NOTE: this option would replace a Pose from Friday morning, early afternoon or Saturday morning.

Culture and Heritage: Unique to any community are the organizations, programs and services that create the interwoven cultural and societal fabric in promoting, preserving or educating others about local cultures and practices. These Community Site Visits will allow conference registrants to interact with agencies and organizations that have impacted the recognition of our community of Thunder Bay.

Disability Advocacy and Services: Community-based organizations, programs and services are abundant in Thunder Bay. These organizations’ mandate in advocating for people with disabilities supports a broad spectrum of health care issues across the ages. This Local Community Site Visit will allow for interactions and sharing of information in the creation of services that meet population health needs.

Economic Justice and the Law: Unique to any community are the organizations, programs and services that promote fair and equitable distribution of economic benefits and access to legal representation. The Community Site Visits are examples of the unique service provision that reflects the geography, the cultural needs and the population issues for Northern Ontario.

Emergency Health/Search and Rescue in Northern context: These Community-based organizations, programs and services will provide conference registrants with discussions and dialogue regarding the innovative approaches in providing critical actions toward sustaining the health and safety of people in urban, suburban, rural and remote communities in Northwestern Ontario.

Health Planning, Administration and Policy: Essential to community driven health care and services, there are a number of organizations, programs, services and institutions delivering and assisting in the planning and delivery of health care in and for Northern Ontario. Learn about creating policies and health programs, developing Networks and services that meet health population and cultural needs through this dynamic Local Community Site Visit.

Mental Health and Addictions: Conference registrants with an interest in community-based programming for rural and small community mental health, will enjoy any of the numerous Mental Health Community Site Visits. These organizations, programs and services will provide stimulating discussions that focus on the health challenges, care, treatment and support of a population with mental health and/or addictions, combined with living in small communities and/or supporting a transient population that moves from community to community.

Older Adult Services: These community-based and hospital-based organizations, programs and services provide multiple levels of care and support for people above the age of 50. Explore innovative programming meeting the needs of the older adult living in northern and rural communities.

Women’s Health: The Local Community Site Visit organizations, programs and services addressing health concerns of women over the age of 18 will provide conference registrants with creative and innovative programming meeting the population and cultural needs of Northern women’s’ health issues.

Education and Technology: These Community Site Visits offer a look at leading edge technologies such as simulation, research, bioelectronics and tissue harvesting. They will attract conference registrants wanting to learn about how organizations are supporting health care and/or providing health professional education in Thunder Bay through the development and use of various forms of technology.

Videoconferencing: For health care to be effective in a large distributed region, technology plays an integral role in connecting organizations, institutions, programs and services. This Local Community Site Visit consists of 2 parts:

1. Videoconferencing and Webcasting: Case studies of successful distance Continuing Health Education (CHE) will be used as a springboard to explore and discuss potential uses by participants. Participants will identify, discuss and critique CHE opportunities in their own settings using the identified best practices.

2. Choosing the Right Tool: Webconferencing, Learning Management Systems, Webcasting, Room based Videoconferencing and Mobile Learning – the confusing and overlapping technology choices are simplified by examining the educational strengths and weaknesses of each. Participants will apply a conceptual framework that allows teaching and learning needs to drive the right combination of applications for their own distance educational contexts.



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