Dr. Tracey Thorne: serving the Gabriola Island community with her time, energy and passion

Photo: 2022 Community Award recipient, Dr. Tracey Thorne

Thanks in large part to Dr. Tracey Thorne, Gabriola Island is supported by: 

  • A community-organized Gabriola Health & Wellness Collaborative;
  • A mental health and substance use nurse and a social worker; and 
  • Access to palliative care programs along with counselling programs for new mothers 

Tracey is an advocate for her community’s health and well-being whose medical practice demonstrates excellence in patient care, while identifying critical needs and seeking concrete solutions. Her outstanding contributions to healthcare on Gabriola Island were recognized with a 2022 BC Achievement Community Award. 

Working in a ferry-dependent community and providing healthcare is of utmost importance to Tracey. Faced with a growing number of patients struggling with mental illness, Tracey has been instrumental in creating a position for a specialized nurse and a social worker – both of whom are now embedded in the community. She started a community organization – the Gabriola Health and Wellness Collaborative and created a palliative care program on the island as well.  

A refuge for many during the pandemic, Tracey has been a strident advocate for the most vulnerable. She led the development of a patient-centered model of healthcare on the island where services are exceptionally well integrated. Her work includes the Youth Wellness Clinic and the Adult Mental Health and Substance Use Spread Network in Nanaimo. Tracey was awarded a grant to develop the Mama Mood program, a facilitated counselling and support group for mothers on Gabriola Island.  

In this last year she has continued her involvement with the Rural and Remote Division of Family Practice as the Co-Chair of the Board, and the Regional Physician Lead for Vancouver Island – supporting rural doctors and health care initiatives in communities across BC. She has also become the Co-Chair of the Interdivisional Strategic Council for Vancouver Island, a collaborative initiative between Divisions of Family Practice, Island Health and the First Nations Health Authority. The work of that collective, over this period, has been focused on mental health and cultural safety. Being this busy, Tracey and Gabriola Health & Wellness Collaborative is looking for another community-minded family physician or general practitioner to join their team to serve the residents of Gabriola. 

Tracey believes that being recognized as the recipient of the Community Award has given her the opportunity to reflect.  

“I have realized that making a difference locally, in a way that is tangible for the people in my community and the patients that I serve, is the most rewarding use of my time, energy and passion. As we all roll into this phase of the pandemic, I am now looking at ways to be more community focused again. I enjoy my work on a provincial and regional level but seeing change in my own community really makes me happy.” 

Dr. Tracey Thorne is one of twenty recipients who received the Community Award in 2022 for extraordinary dedication and community service from throughout the province. Nominations are open for the 2023 award program – so if you know someone who makes a positive difference in your community, a person who works to make your community strong, compassionate, and vibrant, nominate them!  

Nominations are being accepted at bcachievement.com until January 31, 2023 for the 20th annual Community Award program. #nominatenowbc 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

Creating the foundation for reconciliation to thrive – Nominate for a BC Reconciliation Award today! 

Photo: 2021 BC Reconciliation Award Recipient, Kwuntiltunaat Kim Baird
Blog updated: Jan 17, 2023

With two days left to nominate for the 2023 BC Reconciliation Award, it’s valuable to look at program alumni and the groundwork created for others to follow. We challenge you to consider those whose efforts on the journey of reconciliation need to be told and nominate them for the 2023 award program! Alumna Kwuntiltunaat Kim Baird’s life work has provided a foundation that will create the opportunity for the process of reconciliation to thrive.  

In partnership with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, BC Achievement is privileged to honour Kim, share her story, and inspire others to nominate those on the reconciliation journey through the BC Reconciliation Award program. Recognized with her fellow 2021 and 2022 award alumni last week at Government House, Kim, the proud mother of three girls, has been leading her community for close to three decades. At the age of 28, Kim was elected Chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN). She held this important position for six terms, from 1999-2012. In that role Kim’s early achievements towards reconciliation took place. On behalf of TFN she negotiated BC’s first urban modern treaty, which came into effect on April 3, 2009. The treaty provided unprecedented benefits and opportunities, and her leadership contributed to TFN being one of the most progressive First Nations in Canada. She says, “true reconciliation” means “no longer being tethered to the Indian Act, and gaining access to financial resources and economic opportunities, and to services and programs for TFN members.”   

Kim is a graduate of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, receiving the Distinguished Alumni award in 2012 and currently serves as the University’s Chancellor. Kim graduated in 1992 with an Arts Diploma and she credits her studies at Kwantlen with awakening her political consciousness: ‘I was working on papers on my community of Tsawwassen. I learned about colonization, land claims process and why there are such poor economic conditions for Aboriginal peoples’. She graduated with a determination to improve the lives of her people and started working for her community in 1990. She hopes that her roles as chancellor will contribute to KPU’s evolving role with Indigenous reconciliation in Canada.   

In the spirit of the BC Reconciliation Award, Kim believes that respect must go beyond Aboriginal rights and title. It needs to be reflected in laws, policies and in the operations of government and the courts. To support this ongoing quest, Kim now runs her own consulting firm and continues to share her expertise on many public and private boards, working tirelessly to serve her community in both official and unofficial capacities. She advises First Nations, governments, businesses and other organizations on Indigenous matters and served two terms as a jury member of the BC Achievement Indigenous Business Award program. 

Nominate a deserving individual, group or organization for the 2023 BC Reconciliation Award at bcachievement.com TODAY! Nomination forms are online and BC Achievement staff is available to answer your questions. Deadline to nominate is January 20, 2023. Help tell the stories like that of Kim Baird and highlight  those working on the path to reconciliation #nominatenowbc. 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.    

The inaugural award ceremony for those leading reconciliation efforts in BC 

Photo: Crystal Behn, 2022 BC Reconciliation Award Paddle

Next week the recipients of the British Columbia Reconciliation Award will gather at Government House in Victoria for a formal award presentation ceremony. The BC Reconciliation Award, one of the first of its kind in Canada, was launched in November 2020 to recognize individuals, groups and organizations who are advancing conversations and action on reconciliation in BC. Over the past two years, the award has attracted province-wide attention with nominations reflecting a range of unique efforts, size, scale and level of impact. 

The awardees from the inaugural offering of the program – the 2021 recipients – as well as the 2022 award recipients were recognized for their accomplishments through a social media campaign upon initial awardee announcements. However, they have not had the chance to meet each other, exchange ideas, share congratulations for their achievements, or be presented their award, until now! 

On January 12, these awardees will be presented with a print of a canoe paddle designed by the Emerging Artist recipient of the First Nations Art Award program. The 2021 paddle was created by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Cole Speck, and the 2022 paddle was created by Dene and Carrier beader Crystal Behn. The ongoing series of BC Reconciliation Award paddles will be displayed in Government House. 

The commitment of these recipients to working toward reconciliation is inspiring and provides hope for stronger relationships and communities. With the mission to elevate excellence, share success and inspire change, BC Achievement, through its continued partnership with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, is honoured to present the third year of the BC Reconciliation Award program. By highlighting those who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity, respect, and commitment to furthering reconciliation or inspired others to continue reconciliation efforts, we will all benefit. 

Nominate a deserving individual, group or organization for the 2023 BC Reconciliation Award at bcachievement.com. Nomination forms are online and BC Achievement staff are available to answer your questions. Deadline to nominate is January 20, 2023. 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.    

Outstanding dedication builds stronger communities 

Photo: 2022 Community Award recipient, David He

The 20th anniversary of BC Achievement’s Community Award program gives reason to consider the many people in this province who lift up their communities through commitment and service. For two decades, BC Achievement has been honoured to showcase the accomplishments of over six hundred British Columbians for their skill, strength and courage and tell the story of the province’s community engagement. 

The annual Community Award celebrates the spirit, dedication and outstanding contributions of British Columbians. We encourage everyone to join in us in telling the remarkable stories of the people who inspire others through their actions.  

Take for example David He of Burnaby. As a high school student David founded The Global Spotlight Foundation, an international student initiative that transforms youth into changemakers through stories and mentorship. Since then, David has led numerous community projects, including human libraries, conferences, and town halls.  

Last year, David was appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to provide policy advice to the Government of Canada through his Youth Council. As one of its leaders, David successfully advocated for the national conversion therapy ban and for increased funding for marginalized communities in the federal budget. His contributions and his leadership are helping communities throughout the country and are the reason he was nominated and awarded the Community Award in 2022. 

Photo: 2022 Community Award recipient, Charissa Tonnesen

Charissa Tonnesen, also a 2022 Community Award recipient, was recognized for her extensive commitment to her Tumbler Ridge community. As a practicing pharmacist in a rural community, she has shared the challenges and rewards of working in a non-urban setting through her volunteer work as a preceptor for UBC Pharmacy students. Charissa has served on numerous boards, inspired youth as a karate champion, and is involved with the local Arts Council. In addition, she now runs the Flatbed Loops for the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society. Community activism and youth engagement are two of the numerous reasons Charissa’s nomination stood out to the independent jury who selected her for the award. 

Stories of individuals who work hard and are committed to the betterment of their communities help steward the strength of our province. While these individuals do not seek recognition, it’s important to highlight that the work they do matters, and, in doing so, inspire others to follow their lead. 

You can nominate such a deserving individual for the Community Award at bcachievement.com. Nomination forms are online and BC Achievement staff are available to answer your questions. Deadline to nominate is January 31, 2023. 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.