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Caring for the community
New health rep giving position her all

Sarah Ferguson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, May 26, 2011

TSIIGEHTCHIC/ARCTIC RED RIVER - Ruthie Goose said caring for the health of her community is a labour of love.

NNSL photo/graphic

Community Health Representative (CHR) Ruthie Goose stands in front of the Tsiigehtchic Health Station where she works. - photo courtesy of Jason Watt.

"I think you need to enjoy what you do in life, and I really love what I do," she said.

As Tsiigehtchic's appointed community health representative, Goose literally has her fingers on the pulse of the people's health in her community, and thanks to her efforts, the more than 100 residents who live there are healthier than ever.

"Ruthie is known as the medical 'go to girl' around these parts and she's amazing. Everyone loves her," said colleague Jason Watt, a registered nurse for the Tsiigehtchic Health Centre.

"She truly does it all."

Goose moved to Tsiigehtchic from Inuvik in January to take on her new role.

"For nine months of the year, we don't have a nurse to take care of things, so my job has many parts and I'm always on the move," she said.

"I really love it when people come in to have a chat and a coffee."

Goose's demeanour is relaxed, but her devotion to the people of Tsiigehtchic is anything but casual. The health representative's commitment to her job is evident when she talks about the health of the Tsiigehtchic community. Since she arrived in the area, Goose has taken a proactive approach to resolving the region's health-related concerns.

Goose has received a high amount of praise for the implementation of an elders fitness program she recently created in Tsiigehtchic. The program is aimed at elderly members of the community who range from ages 50 to 75.

"The program runs twice a week and aims at working on the range of movement and helps people feel good. We usually have anywhere from two to eight people show up to take part in the program," said Goose.

"We hope to start up some Nordic walking in the program over the next two weeks as the weather gets warmer," she said.

Goose has also been working to promote nutrition in the community over the past few months.

"We've been teaching the children in the community about diabetes and have talked about what happens when they eat too much sugar," Goose said.

"We want to promote healthy nutrition in the schools, with the idea that they can share the concept of healthy eating with their families," she said.

Goose also works hard to promote dental health in Tsiigehtchic and makes routine school visits to perform fluoride treatments and nurture children's healthy smiles.

"I applied (fluoride) treatment to 17 children today. We sometimes have more or less (children) depending on classroom attendance," she said.

Goose adds that Tsiigehtchic is currently home to a number of new mothers who are in need of support. In response, she is planning to create a child drop-in play group this spring.

"The idea is that new mothers can come together to support one another, and so far we have a good response to the play group idea. We are anticipating that six mothers and their babies will come out to take part in the group," she said.

"My job involves a bit of everything. I do clerical work, telephone counselling, and deal with health related concerns too," Goose said.

She adds that one of her favourite parts of her work in Tsiigehtchic has been getting to know the people in the community.

"Part of my job means that you need to be out and about. You get to know everybody and I love to talk to people. I could never sit behind a desk all day," she said with a laugh.

"I wouldn't be who I am without the support of the people. I owe it all to them."

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