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 

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