When, despite best efforts, a successful social worker in practice program in the East Kootenay region proved to be unsustainable, relationships between the East Kootenay Division and some of its partners suffered. Reliance on a single partner for funding had put the program at risk. However, strong physician leadership and the Division’s success leveraging existing relationships enabled partners to weather the challenges and to continue moving forward together. 

The experience highlighted the importance of:

  • Co-designing projects with partners from the start and having all members of the team contribute.
  • Involving the community across all sectors to enable collective impact and major change. 

This kind of engagement and work requires strong leadership. Physicians and their health authority and other partner representatives might consider developing their leadership abilities together.

“Part of any project going forward is making sure our communities and our patients are involved at the start with driving that change. It is also very important to co-design the project from the beginning with your partners so that you're both measuring the same things and then expecting the same—or measuring the same—outcomes and hopefully achieving the goals desired, and then that might lead to a successful long-term plan.” 

“[If] we take this leadership learning journey together with our health authority partners and do some of this training together —and not just the health authority but the other partners in the project or at the CSE table —we might develop this leadership ability together and be a little more successful as we go forward.”
— Dr Todd Loewen, East Kootenay Division of Family Practice