Being healthy and staying healthy – it takes a community

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Health Matters

Janet Knox, president and CEO, Annapolis Valley Health and South Shore Health.

By Janet Knox

One of the main things I’ve learned in my many years working in the health system – is that the system is ever changing and evolving because the needs of our community continue to change. To be relevant, change is necessary.  

The other thing I’ve learned to be true, day-in and day-out is that people need to be our focus. When we work together with individuals, families and communities, great things will happen. This work starts from birth and continues to end-of-life care, and includes all the stages in between. This means being innovative in our service delivery, assessing community needs, caring for you when you are sick, and working to develop the supports and partnerships that will help remove barriers to healthy living.

For our employees, physicians and volunteers, it means paying attention to our environment, being supportive and encouraging innovation and leadership. I am continually inspired and impressed by the professionals who work at Annapolis Valley Health (AVH) – everyone plays an important role in the work we do.

Identifying and meeting the needs of our people and communities has been a top priority for AVH. Our programs and services are designed with people in mind, considering factors related to those who need to access the program or service, such as community resources, and location.

We must work together to maximize every opportunity to respond to community needs. This is not easy, this takes all of us working together to meet the increasing and diverse needs of our population, while staying within our resources.  This is why we need to continue to work with you and our community, to identify areas of opportunity to improve and grow. It is through this collaborative work that we can create and sustain positive change. It is very important for us to have feedback from our community, this is how we know where we need to make change.

Over the coming months, you’ll hear from me and my colleagues through this column about what’s happening in the district – from community programs to community partnerships, emergency rooms to primary care, professional recruitment to interdisciplinary teams. We’ll highlight areas of challenge and areas of success.  Our goal is to create a conversation about health and our collective work together to support our community’s health.

We have a busy nine months ahead as we support the transition of our district into one provincial authority. It’s important to remember that change can also bring opportunity and we know that we’ll put our strengths and successes forward to contribute to the health of our people. The government is committed to putting people first – a wonderful complement, I believe, to the work that is carried out daily throughout our district and our province by our dedicated health care teams. Being innovative, grounded, and committed will serve us well in the years to come.

Our health system is complex but in our district, and across this province, the reason we are here is simple – and that’s to help our people and communities be healthy and stay healthy. For each of us, as individuals, families, communities and organizations, we each have responsibility when it comes to our health. I look forward to sharing with you – and hearing from you – in the months ahead.

Yours in health, Janet

Janet Knox is president and CEO, Annapolis Valley Health and South Shore Health. Go to or call the AVH Feedback Line: 1-800-886-9757.

Organizations: Annapolis Valley Health

Geographic location: Annapolis Valley

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