Erica Benson, the new coordinator for the Strathcona Community Health Network, will help communities work toward common goals. Photo supplied by Erica Benson

Strathcona Community Health Network welcomes new coordinator

Coordinator has goals reaching beyond COVID-19 pandemic

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made for an interesting first few days on the job for the new Health Coordinator for the Strathcona Community Health Network.

Erica Benson started in her new role on March 30. While her initial plans have been changed somewhat because of the virus, she does plan on building relationships with the different communities in the region with the goal of finding solutions to problems that affect people across the region.

“The goals that I walked into the position with have been realigned due to the response to COVID-19. That being said, stepping into a network that already has trust and relationships built has really positioned us to react and respond to COVID-19,” Benson said.

“Right now, the priorities are ensuring the vulnerable populations have essential services provided for them, which are things like housing, access to handwashing stations and bathrooms, and checking in with our regionally-remote communities and making sure that their needs are being met as well. Those are the most immediate goals,” she added.

Benson is not new to the Campbell River area. She grew up in the Saratoga Beach area, but moved away to attend university. After some time working as a public health and community home care nurse on the west coast of Vancouver Island, she is happy to be back in the Strathcona area to contribute to the community.

Her experience as a community health nurse helped expose her to how the networks function, as well as some of the needs felt by people in the communities.

“Especially with home care, you’re in people’s homes, you’re building these relationships and you see how these unmet needs related to the social determinants of health affect individual health,” she explained. “I’ve always been really community minded and drawn to how communities can work together to support one another. It’s been a passion of mine.”

Community health networks work to build collaboration between different sectors on shared goals within the region. Generally, these goals are to strengthen and promote intitatives that focus on the social determinants of health. Things like housing, food security and transportation all fall within this category.

“It’s so we don’t have a duplication of efforts and so we can really share resources and eventually hopefully use that to influence policy and leverage funds for things like supportive housing. It’s the idea that collectively, we are stronger and can achieve more,” Benson explained. “It’s about bringing people together into the conversation to ensure that there’s open communication, transparency and that we can move towards these targets together.”

Though the response to the virus and pandemic are at the front of her mind, Benson’s more long term goals are to help restart conversations around the Urban Indigenous Housing Project and to help the communities within the Strathcona Community Health Network shift to a world post-COVID-19.

“I think it’ll be interesting to see the kinds of shifts in systems that come up and how those relate to how communities would like to work together and whether those priorities will change. I think it’ll be interesting to check in with communities to see if different themes emerge about what we’d like to focus on.”

RELATED: Strathcona Regional District spending up 20 per cent

Collaboratively addressing Indigenous housing needs in Campbell River region

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Campbell RiverCommunityHealth

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Woman injured during rollover on Hwy. 28

Incident took place Saturday evening near Strathcona Lodge

Demonstators voice displeasure over mask-use in Campbell River

Sunday afternoon event has held by Hugs Over Masks Nation

Tidemark Theatre and Chamber of Commerce join forces to launch two new TV shows

Show will explore the arts, community, culture and local industry through conversation

Campbell River Storm set to face Comox Valley in season opener

Fan attendance remains a question mark, but broadcast gets boost

VIDEO: Save Wild Salmon demonstrators march in Campbell River

March to put pressure on federal government to fulfill Cohen report recommendations

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Most Read