GATEWAY LECTURE SERIES CELEBRATES FIRST ANNIVERSARY
Dr. Craig Hudson M.D. (Submitted photo)
Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health (Gateway) provides a free one-hour health lecture at noon on the first Tuesday of each month. These lectures are presented by one of the Gateway Rural Research Chairs, who are, for the most part, University Professors or Practicing Health Professionals or both.
Gateway is proud to announce that the lecture series is now celebrating its one-year anniversary! They are also proud to have been able to mount this lecture series with the wholehearted support of, and participation by, the Rural Research Chairs at Gateway. People attend these lectures from around the world and Gateway is pleased that its message is resonating everywhere.
Gateway is appreciative of the sponsorship support by businesses, individuals and granting organizations in the community.
Each lecture is comprised of a 30 to 40-minute lecture followed by a panel discussion of the topic under discussion.
Promoting healthy communities and healthy individuals therein have been the overriding theme of these lectures. Perfect attendance at each semester is rewarded with a diploma. Participants can ask questions online during the lecture and the panel will try to address those directly.
Gateway Vice President and Research Chair, Jay McFarlane provides the tech ability that makes these “ broadcasts” work.
Gateway is cognizant of the fact that the Pandemic has been a significant burden in many ways for the entire community. Gateway’s mission is to improve the health and quality of life of rural residents through research, education and communication. Through this lecture series, they attempt to support their rural community and others with an interesting, topical and open discussion of health issues each month.
On Feb. 1st, Gateway’s Chair of Rural Mental Health, Dr. Craig Hudson M.D., spoke about insomnia, the value of sleep to mental health, and some of his research on pumpkin seeds grown in Southwestern Ontario. These pumpkin seeds have very high levels of tryptophan which is beneficial to sleep and helps the brain and body get to a relaxed and sleep receptive state.
Dr. Hudson is a psychiatrist, medical researcher and entrepreneur. With Dr. Hudson were panellists Lynne Harris, retired social worker and Patricia Robinson, nurse practitioner from the Maitland Valley Family Health Team. Gwen Devereaux, Gateway president, acted as moderator.
Insomnia and sleep issues are common throughout society. Much research and counselling continues into helping those who are afflicted with this problem to find solutions and to getting to sleep and having a restful night leaving them fully functional during the day. Poor sleep quality or complete lack of sleep can lead to serious health issues. Creating a good sleep habit is the goal of all health practitioners who are faced with patients who suffer from insomnia.
Patients who suffer from insomnia have troubled nights trying to get to sleep or staying asleep. Lynne Harris discussed the anxiety that these patients can have during the day; the mental connection to their bed and bedroom can lead to anxiety because they associate it with “this place of discomfort”. Patricia Robinson reviewed her experience with patients who suffer from insomnia.
Questions from participants asked about the benefits or harm that can come from using cannabis products to help with sleep and about the effects of aging on sleep quality.
Gateway takes pride in delivering knowledge, studies and informational segments within their rural community to promote healthy living and lifestyles. For more information about this ongoing monthly lecture series, visit www.gatewayruralhealth.ca
HURON PERTH OMICRON UPDATE
As the Province continues its cautious approach to Reopening Ontario, Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) thanks residents for their continued kindness towards others during this Omicron wave.
“Indicators such as hospitalizations and ICU admissions are improving across Ontario,” said Medical Officer of Health for Huron Perth, Dr. Miriam Klassen. “Public health measures in place during this Omicron wave are working, but virus transmission is still high. This has been an incredibly challenging time for many, and we would all like the pandemic to be over. I appreciate all of the efforts that residents have made and continue to make, to support one another. By continuing to follow public health measures, we can protect our healthcare system, protect our most vulnerable citizens and continue the successful reopening of public settings.”
On Jan. 20, the Province announced its plan to gradually lift public health restrictions, while maintaining protective measures, over the next few months. Some measures were eased Jan. 31, and others are set to follow Feb. 17 and March 1.
In-school learning resumed Jan. 17. In Huron Perth, absenteeism monitoring in schools and childcare has not shown any concerning trends to date. In addition, the reopening of schools to in-person learning has not had a significant impact on community transmission or hospitalizations. The number of active outbreaks in highest-risk settings, including long-term care homes and hospitals, has declined. On Jan. 19, HPPH reported 17 active outbreaks; as of Feb. 9, there were six active outbreaks.
At the same time, during the Omicron wave, there has been a steady number of hospitalizations. Sadly, 16 Huron Perth residents have died due to COVID since Jan. 1st of this year. HPPH sends condolences out to the families and friends of those individuals.
During these difficult times, HPPH thanks residents for continuing to follow public health measures to protect themselves and the community. Vaccination remains the best defence against COVID-19. Individuals who are not vaccinated remain at much higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. Currently in Ontario, the rate of COVID-19 patients in hospitals is six times higher among unvaccinated individuals compared to those with at least two doses of vaccine. The rate of COVID-19 patients in ICU is almost eleven times higher. HPPH urges everyone eligible to get vaccinated as soon as they are able.
As of Feb. 6, HPPH and partners have administered 288,980 vaccine doses in Huron Perth. Eighty-four percent of Huron Perth residents aged five and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 80 percent are fully vaccinated with two doses. In addition, nearly 60 percent of residents aged 18 and older have received three doses of vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccination clinics are returning to smaller communities in Huron and Perth throughout the month of February, in addition to the Goderich and Stratford clinic locations.
All clinics are family friendly and welcome eligible individuals ages five and up. If families are having trouble getting to a vaccination due to lack of transportation or childcare, they can call HPPH at 1-833-753-2098 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about the vaccine itself, parents and guardians can call their child’s primary care provider. In addition, parents can contact the SickKids COVID-19 Vaccine Consult Service to book a confidential phone appointment with a SickKids paediatric Registered Nurse through www.sickkids.ca/vaccineconsult or by calling 1-888-304-6558.
Due to a more stable supply of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario, HPPH mass vaccination clinics can once again provide either mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) to adults aged 30 and older.
Appointments are no longer required to attend HPPH vaccination clinics; eligible individuals can walk-in to any clinic for a first, second or third/booster dose. Booked appointments are still available for those who wish to schedule an appointment in advance, and will continue to take priority at clinics.
To see the latest vaccination opportunities and upcoming clinic dates and locations, visit www.hpph.ca/GetVaccinated.
Those eligible can book an appointment through:
• the provincial booking system online at covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/
• the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900 (open seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
• the HPPH booking line at 1-833-753-2098 (open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)
CONSERVATION DINNER AUCTION MOVING ONLINE FOR YEAR TWO
The Conservation Dinner Committee is bringing back the online auction for the second year in a row. The charitable fundraiser went virtual for the first time in 2021 and it was a success in raising $40,000 for conservation projects in local communities. The Committee has decided to return to the online format for 2022.
The 2022 #VirtualConservationDinner online auction is to begin on Thursday, March 31 and will end on Thursday, Apr. 7 at 9 p.m. People may find out more by visiting abca.ca and conservationdinner.com or by calling 519 235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.
Dave Frayne is Chair of the Conservation Dinner Committee. He said the committee had hoped to hold the dinner and auction in person this year but there is uncertainty during the current pandemic about whether a large in-person event could take place in April. He said the committee decided unanimously that it is prudent to return to the online auction format for 2022.
“We were so pleased by the community’s support of our first online auction last year and we hope donors and bidders will be just as generous in 2022,” he said. “We did look forward to meeting in person but since we don’t know what things will look like in April it’s safer to join together virtually this year in support of projects in our local communities.”
The Conservation Dinner is a partnership of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) and Exeter Lions Club. This dinner and auction charitable fundraising event started in 1990. Net profits are split evenly between community conservation projects of the Foundation and community conservation projects of the Exeter Lions Club. The event has raised more than $1.255 million for the community over more than 30 years.
Even when large in-person events are not possible the need to raise funds remains, according to the Dinner Committee Chair. The Conservation Dinner fundraiser supports needed projects, by Exeter Lions Club and ABCF, in local communities.
The Exeter Lions Club has been a partner for more than three decades in the Conservation Dinner. The Exeter Lions Club, chartered in 1937, is part of the world’s largest and most active service organization. It is a group of service-minded men and women banded together to do things which cannot be done by individuals working alone. The club has actively fundraised for projects including development and maintenance of South Huron Trail, MacNaughton Park, and other nature and conservation projects. These are just some of the examples of their service in action.
Projects supported by the Dinner include community work by the Lions Club and community work by the ABCF. These projects, supported by auction sponsors and donors and bidders and volunteers, are many. They include parks and conservation areas; accessible nature trails in Bayfield, Clinton, Parkhill, Lucan, Arkona, Exeter, and Varna; outdoor nature education; a $1,000 student environmental bursary for students in local communities; a summer job at Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority for a senior secondary school student; turtle monitoring in Port Franks and Ailsa Craig; aquatic habitat studies in Old Ausable Channel at Grand Bend; and others.
The Exeter Lions Club plans to bring back the popular 50-50 draw in 2022 for the fourth year. When tickets are available for this fundraising activity, the website link to purchase tickets online will be posted here: conservationdinner.com/50-50/ The draw had a record prize of $6,300 in 2021.
Last year, the Dinner Committee partnered with participating local restaurants, for the first time, in a “Dining for Your Community” effort. Families could purchase their own ‘conservation dinners’ from participating restaurants during the week of the auction. This allowed them to support community projects, and their local businesses, in the process. Organizers hope to bring back this dining venture for 2022. The committee invites local restaurants to take part. To learn about Dining for Your Community and to watch for 2022 restaurant partners visit this web page: conservationdinner.com/restaurants/
Last year, for the first time, the Dinner Committee hosted two live TV broadcasts to kick off and cap off the auction week. The Committee plans to bring back these popular livestream broadcasts in 2022. People may watch for details on this web page: conservationdinner.com/livestream/ The broadcasts will be scheduled for March 31 and Apr. 7, both at 7 p.m.
To learn more about the online auction visit this web page: conservationdinner.com/online-auctions/ A link to the online auction will be posted on this page when the online auction begins on March 31.