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    December 2017

    RBC donates $500K for northern youth mental health

    Northern medical services director Dr. Veronica McKinney.

    For the first time in Canada, robotic technology will be deployed specifically for youth mental health as a result of a $500,000 donation to the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation from RBC, according to a news release issued Tuesday.

    The new RPTs will bridge the gap in the delivery of mental health services to children living in remote northern communities, allowing pediatric specialists to perform diagnostics, assessment, and patient management from Saskatoon or Regina. The new units will be deployed in the coming months to communities with the greatest need.

    Deployment of remote presence technology, specifically to deliver mental health services, is an important step in addressing the mental health crisis afflicting northern Saskatchewan youth. While the need is apparent, the missing link has been appropriate funding and support.

    “To bear witness to the horrific tragedies and pain, to see how deep these traumas run within our youth and most vulnerable, pushes us to strive for equity in access to services at the very least, to build on the strengths and beauty of our peoples, combining the best of both worlds to begin to address the roots of this crisis. Our youth deserve more, yet receive less,” said Dr. Veronica McKinney, northern medical services director.


    “Limited resources and personnel combined with distance and remoteness translate to a paucity of mental health services in our northern communities. Remote presence connects various mental health experts with our youth, families and communities, providing a mechanism for collaboration that can have life changing effects.”

    First piloted in Saskatchewan in 2013, the RP-Vita Robot was introduced to the province by Dr. Ivar Mendez, unified head of surgery and Fred H. Wigmore professor of surgery, who pioneered the technology in Atlantic Canada. The service for acutely ill children using this technology was spear-headed by McKinney and pediatric intensive care specialist Dr. Tanya Holt.

    “More than ever before, our young people matter. Their success in today’s changing world depends on having the support where and when they need it, to help them build confidence and resilience to thrive,” said Kim Ulmer, regional president for RBC. 

    “This technology is aimed at eliminating barriers of distance and time for health care access by rural and remote communities where the need is the greatest,” Dr. Mendez noted. “Saskatchewan is a leader in the utilization of remote presence medical robotic technology aimed at improving access and outcomes.”


    Published on: October 10th, 2017


    • Posted By: Richard Marjan - Starphoenix
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