2007 Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting and Awards Luncheon of the Lung Association of Saskatchewan were held in Regina on April 13, 2007. His Honour, Lieutenant Governor Dr. Gordon L. Barnhart, honorary patron of the Lung Association of Saskatchewan, addressed the meeting.
His Honour, Lieutenant Governor Dr. Gordon L. Barnhart [left]
accepts a token of appreciation from LAS
Board Chairperson Marilyn Reddy [right]
appreciation from LAS Board Chairperson Marilyn
The Honourable Len Taylor, Minister of Health, gave a talk to the meeting on respiratory health in Saskatchewan.
Life Membership in the Lung Association of Saskatchewan was conferred upon Dr. Ram Abdulla of Regina.
The Lung Association of Saskatchewan Award of Merit was presented to SGI and Canada Safeway Limited.
The Lung Association of Saskatchewan Certificate of Appreciation was presented to Scott Gordon of Prairie Oxygen and Jennifer Miller, Marianne Penner and Lynn Koehler, Health Canada.
The Annual Report for 2006 was presented.
Five people were elected for two-year terms on the Lung Association of Saskatchewan Board of Directors: Karen Davis of Saskatoon, Jo-Ann Episkenew of Regina, Lorne Procyshen of Yorkton, Frank Scott of Saskatoon and Pat Smith of Regina.
The results of the election of officers for 2007 are:
Board Chairperson: Marilyn Reddy of Regina
Past Chairperson: Jim Burnett of Regina
Vice Chairperson: Frank Scott of Saskatoon
Treasurer: Helen Cotton of Saskatoon
Marianne Penner [left] and Jennifer Miller [right] accept the Lung Association Certificate of Appreciation from LAS Board Member Pat Smith [centre]. Lynn Koehler was not available.
Tobacco use remains in this province and country our greatest cause of preventable illness. For lung health this is especially important as we are all aware of the inherent difficulty experienced by lung tissue following exposure to smoke of any kind.
Many persons are involved in efforts to reduce tobacco use and preserve the health of both those who initially use the product plus those who are exposed to the damaging cocktail produced when tobacco is burned. It is with gratitude that we recognize today Lynn Koehler, Jennifer Miller, and Marianne Penner, three Health Canada employees who are instrumental in driving forward initiatives to address these concerns.
There are unsung believers in tobacco control who rarely receive recognition, but who, daily, make progress in the fight against tobacco use. They compel, promote, adapt, and administer paths devoted to changing attitudes about smoking.
It has not been easy to alter society’s perceptions concerning smoking. Many approaches are needed. Education and prevention are important. Assistance with quitting is essential. Regulations are mandatory to stress the importance and seriousness of this public health problem.
Health Canada’s enforcement team have been diligent in reducing cigarette access and sales to youth and no where in Canada do we see more dedication to this issue than right here in Saskatchewan. Some laws are somewhat self-enforcing and changed social norms can lead to higher compliance rates. Unfortunately, there remain still, retailers who are content to sell cigarettes to youth. But the mild mannered team, from Health Canada, under Lynn’s guidance, have been quite successful in educating and cajoling the majority of retailers that this is not a desirable practice. This is not an easy task nor are the enforcers often thanked for their efforts. Thus today we do thank you for being out there and continuing to monitor this omni-present and intricate problem.
Jennifer and Marianne are the conduits by which projects are supported by Health Canada. It would be a simplistic view if one was to think that these individuals are simply the processors of applications made to their office. Yes they do the initial processing but they also noticeably assist to make the process as painless as possible. They have an attitude that is supportive and instructive. They want projects to succeed and work to achieve this goal. They are part of the tobacco control team in Saskatchewan and we are fortunate to live in an area that has such unique access to, and support from, this federal office. They are idea generators and advisers. Yes we may thank the federal department for the support, especially when it is monetary in nature, but too seldom do we thank the individuals who can and often do make the difference between concept and reality. So please accept our thanks and appreciation.
Diverse practices are necessary if we are to continue to win this battle. These Health Canada employees have been and remain a large part of the implementation needed to make many of these practices a reality. Again we, the Lung Association here in this province, thank you for your work and interest in preserving respiratory health.
Scott Gordon [left] accepts the Lung Association Certificate of Appreciation from LAS Board Member Pat Smith [right]
Scott Gordon of Prairie Oxygen has supported the Lung Association in many ways over the past several years. Scott is always willing to participate in the Sleep Apnea Support Group meetings and has brought in out of province speakers for Saskatoon and Regina Support Group meetings. He volunteered to speak if the speakers were unable to attend at the last minute. He is always smiling, pleasant and very helpful to those who need extra time. He helps those in need find creative ways to fund equipment. Scott goes the extra mile and does it cheerfully. For clients who come to see him, Scott is in contact when necessary with the Lung Association, Sleep Specialists and the Nurse Educator for the Sleep Disorder Centre in the interest of good patient care.
Jon Schubert, President and CEO of SGI [left] accepts the Lung Association Award of Merit on behalf of SGI from LAS Board Member Al Hattie [right]
I am very pleased to have the opportunity to present this next award as it touches two important areas of my own life. I have sleep apnea and know first-hand how this disease can affect people. I have also worked many years in the insurance industry and I know how important it is to prevent accidents from happening.
We are here today to recognise the contribution of SGI to the improvement of Lung Health in Saskatchewan. Last year, SGI provided the Saskatoon Sleep Disorders Centre with $188,000 to fund extra testing for sleep apnea.
We understand that a similar donation is in the works for the Regina Sleep Disorders Centre.
In case anyone in this room doesn’t know, sleep apnea is a respiratory disorder that causes people to stop breathing when they fall into deep sleep. This causes the person to wake up and start breathing again, but they don’t wake up completely and are not aware of what has happened. They quickly fall back to sleep and the cycle repeats itself all night long.
About 36,000 people in Saskatchewan have moderate to severe sleep apnea and about 30,000 of them are undiagnosed.
There are about 3000 people on the waiting list for testing for sleep apnea in Saskatchewan and over 750 have been on the list for more than three years.
The support provided by SGI will help to reduce the waiting list by making more testing times available. The SGI support is a welcome boost to testing capacity but much more will have to be done to adequately address the problem.
One of the consequences of untreated sleep apnea is excessive day-time sleepiness. If someone is operating a motor vehicle when they are drowsy or sleepy, they are at much higher risk of having a crash. The Lung Association commends SGI for being proactive and assisting in the treatment of the underlying cause of many vehicle crashes.
We hope that this is the start of a long and mutually beneficial relationship between the Lung Association of Saskatchewan and SGI to promote awareness of sleep apnea and prevention of drowsy driving not only in Saskatchewan but potentially across Canada.
Stacy Johnson [left] accepts the Lung Association Award of Merit on behalf of Safeway Canada from LAS Board Member Karen Davis [right]
Safeway Pharmacy has for many years, valued patient education as a priority; not only for their clients but for the pharmacists who are employed by their company.
In 1997 Safeway contributed financially to the development, of what was to become, the most successful Asthma Training and Educator course in the country – AsthmaTrec. AsthmaTrec is a training program to help health care professionals increase their knowledge and skills in order to more effectively educate their patients on how to manage this chronic lung condition.
In the year 2000, Safeway led the way in facilitating asthma education in the community, by supporting five Safeway pharmacists to attend AsthmaTrec. The pharmacists included Pat Smith from Regina, Audrey McLelland from Saskatoon and three pharmacists from Winnipeg.
After Pat received her certification as an asthma educator, Safeway allowed Pat to pursue her passion for education and she was given one day a week to devote entirely to her clients with asthma. These eight hours were spent conducting a number of initiatives including: asthma clinics in physician offices, asthma awareness meetings once a month at the public library, one-on-one in-store consultations, setting up displays to increase asthma awareness in various Safeway stores and teaching and working with pharmacy students.
As the need and demand for asthma education increased, Safeway extended the hours dedicated for lung health activities to 24 hours per week in 2003 and then in 2006 a further increase to 40 hours per week. In addition Safeway purchased a spirometer, a device used to monitor clients’ lung volumes and assist physicians in making an appropriate diagnosis.
Currently Pat Smith and her co-worker, Shona Elder, are working with the Lung Association on an asthma/COPD education project. They work in family physician offices assessing and educating patients who have asthma and COPD.
Safeway currently funds professional development allowing additional pharmacists to attend Asthma and COPDTrec, as well as conferences.
Dr. Ram Abdulla [left] accepts the Lung Association Award of Merit and Life Membership from LAS Board Member Dr. Frank Scott [right]
Dr. Abdulla is a lung specialist who came to Regina in 1981 after completing his subspecialty training in internal medicine and respiratory medicine in Winnipeg. He was one of the first respirologists in Saskatchewan to have Royal College certification in respiratory medicine.
Dr. Abdulla was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya and obtained his medical degree in Uganda.
The Lung Association supported Dr. Abdulla in coming to Regina and developing the Intensive Care Unit at the Regina General Hospital with funding of $12,500 per year for 5 years. In today’s dollars that is equivalent to more than $30,000 per year. Dr. Abdulla was the director of the Intensive Care Unit until 1987.
This support turned out to be an excellent investment in Respiratory Health as Dr. Abdulla became the leader for respiratory health care in Regina and Southern Saskatchewan. For many years, he was the main force in shaping respiratory care in Regina. He provided countless hours of continuing medical education and continues to be an active teaching member of the Regina General.
In 1984 he chaired the Lung Association Committee on home respiratory therapy which set guidelines for such thing as home oxygen therapy. He served as President of the Saskatchewan Thoracic Society in 1991 and with that came a two-year term on the Saskatchewan Lung Association Medical Advisory Committee.
Dr. Abdulla has also served in several other important roles including as an examiner and advisor for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
In 2005 Dr. Abdulla became the President of the Regina and District Medical Society which is an excellent indicator of the esteem with which he is regarded by his peers.
Dr. Abdulla continues to keep abreast with the latest developments in respiratory medicine through participation in national and international respiratory conferences.