Congratulations Bowen Island. We did it!

On April 29, 2024, after years of work, fund-raising evangelizing and hope, the new Bowen Island Community Health Centre will open its doors to patients, delivered on the Health Centre Foundation’s promise to increase access to primary health care and related services on Bowen Island.

And all of us on Bowen, the community, are the reason why it happened. We are the reason we can now celebrate a brand new, purpose-built health centre that will be a central source for health care delivery on the island for generations to come.

Led by a group of volunteers that is the board of the Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation — nobody was paid, nobody had a job title, nobody kept track of the countless hours spent — the community raised more than $8 million from more than 550 families to construct the facility, delivering on the vision to bring health care close to home. In the process, we also secured a multi-year operating agreement with the Ministry of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health when groups in other B.C. communities have struggled.

That same group of volunteers found and attracted a group of primary care professionals and support staff who saw themselves as part of our vision, exponentially increasing on-island access to health care — again, at a time when communities throughout B.C. and Canada find themselves unable to attract family physicians and nurse practitioners to serve them.

We found in Suzanne Saatchi an Executive Director and leader who through commitment, compassion and a tireless work ethic, has put in place the team and systems the Health Centre needs to succeed. Dr. Susanne Schloegl and Dr. Matt Blackwood have generously given their time and experience to help guide our way through how best to practice family medicine and primary care on Bowen true to the community.

Our opening is an incredible accomplishment. It’s also merely the end of the beginning. In the years ahead, donors, care providers, patients and supporters will have the responsibility and privilege of keeping the Health Centre dream alive, by attracting health care professionals, fundraising for special projects and needs, investing in the building, and delivering programming and education to bolster the community health outcomes on Bowen for generations to come.

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