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Dauphin HERO Club celebrates three decades of program support

PMH CEO Treena Slate congratulates the Dauphin HERO Club for 30 inspiring years while community representative and former mental health worker Jim Price,  looks on.
PMH CEO Treena Slate congratulates the Dauphin HERO Club for 30 inspiring years while community representative and former mental health worker Jim Price,  looks on.

The Dauphin HERO Club held its 30th year recognition event on May 8. The HERO Club, which started back in 1994 when the Brandon Mental Health Centre downsized and eventually closed, provides a welcoming , supportive and safe space for people recovering from mental health challenges through the PMH Mental Health program.

Hero Club members and staff develop strategies to support recovery by providing opportunities for recreation, education, employment, and friendship.

“Thirty years for the “Helping Everyone Reach Out Club” in Dauphin is quite an accomplishment!” stated PMH CEO Treena Slate. “We know that there are many success stories and a few challenges which have occurred over the last three decades. We know the Club helps members live fruitful and enriched lives with the support of people who understand the struggle. Congratulations on 30 inspiring years and continued success with the program well into the future!”

Prairie Mountain Health provides coordination and other program assistance to the HERO Club through its mental health program. Dauphin was the first of four HERO Club sites established within the health region.  Roblin, Russell and Swan River are the other sites within the region.

HERO Club members and supporters gather to celebrate their recognition event May 8.
HERO Club members and supporters gather to celebrate their recognition event May 8.

The Hero Club model has become a ‘community within a community’, allowing members and the community to provide information to the general public on mental illness, and set the tone that recovery is possible.  Its motto is “A place to go, a place to be, a place to grow, a guarantee!”

The Dauphin HERO Club will always be known for its high-profile and very successful hot dog cart, among many other initiatives. The Hot Dog Cart returns to action twice a week this year. On Fridays, the Cart will be at the Obsolete Brewing Company location from 10:30-1:30. On Tuesdays, the Cart will be in front of the Dauphin Neighborhood Renewal Office (formerly Under One Roof) from 10:30 to 1:30.

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Asparagus is on the Menu

If you’re lucky, you’ve got asparagus perennially popping up in your yard. Asparagus is a perennial plant, meaning it will come back year after year without needing to replant it! It is also one of the first vegetables to start growing in the spring. The most common variety is green asparagus, however there are also purple and white varieties, with each variety having a slightly different flavour. Asparagus is rich in nutrients such as antioxidants, folate, fiber, and vitamins A, B6, C, and K.

Asparagus is available at the grocery store as fresh, frozen, or canned. When buying fresh asparagus, look for odorless asparagus stalks with dry, tight tips while avoiding limp or wilted stalks. Refrigerate fresh asparagus for up to four days by wrapping the ends of the stalks in wet paper towel and storing in a plastic bag. When choosing asparagus for recipes, look for the right size of stalk for the dish. Thicker, larger stalks are good for grilling, steaming, and roasting, while smaller, thinner stalks are better for being mixed into recipes like pasta and risotto dishes.

Asparagus is incredibly versatile and pairs well with fish, beef, shrimp, chicken, and pasta. It is also very tasty added to frittatas, in appetizers, soups, salads, wraps and more!

Here are 10 ways to enjoy asparagus:

  1. Egg-cellent Asparagus. Add steamed pieces of asparagus to an egg white and feta cheese omelet. Finish with halved cherry tomatoes.
  2. Grilled. Place asparagus spears on a medium-high heat grill coated with olive oil spray and cook for about 5-8 minutes until tender, turning occasionally.
  3. Cheese, Crackers & Asparagus. Spread a soft cheese (goat cheese, brie, etc.) on whole wheat crackers and top with a crisp asparagus head. Serve as an appetizer or an afternoon snack.
  4. Hearty Soup. Purée cooked leeks, onions, russet potatoes, asparagus, low-sodium chicken broth, lemon juice, and sour cream until smooth. Garnish soup with asparagus tips.
  5. Drizzle a Little Dressing. Dress up your traditional steamed or boiled asparagus with a mustard vinaigrette dressing.
  6. Steamed. Place fresh or frozen asparagus in a microwave-safe container or in a sauté pan with a small amount of water, low-sodium seasonings, and garlic. Enjoy as a side dish or snack.
  7. Stock Up. Save the woody ends of asparagus for making asparagus soup later. Simply place in a zip lock bag and freeze until ready to use.
  8. Easy Appetizer. Serve asparagus spears with a vibrant dipping sauce for an easy appetizer. Using Greek yogurt as a base, add in lemon juice, minced garlic, roasted red bell pepper … be creative and get dipping!
  9. Veggie Fettuccine. Toss cooked asparagus and bell pepper with cooked fettuccine. Finish with lemon juice and cheese. Recipe Fettuccine with Fresh Vegetables
  10. Shake & Bake! Place fresh asparagus in a plastic zip lock bag, drizzle with olive oil, and add salt, pepper and other seasonings. Shake until asparagus is coated, then bake in oven at 400°F until crisp!
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7th Street Health Access Center Celebrates 20 Years

June 17, 2004 – – 20 years ago, 7th Street Health Access Center officially opened its doors, offering medical care and social service support to anyone in the downtown area of Brandon, with a specific focus on anyone living with persistent and severe mental health issues, newcomers to Canada, and under-served seniors.

7th Street Health Access Centre Building

Services available within the Centre at that time included medical care from a family doctor or advanced practice nurse; child and family services staff; public health staff offering travel health; healthy baby and STI/HIV/Hep C services; addictions counsellors; mental health counsellor; and service navigation to connect to services and programs in the building or the community or elsewhere in the health care services. Reception staff were also core services helping people access the free amenity services such as public use of telephone and computers, shower and laundry services, photocopying or faxing, or scheduling appointments. Community Volunteer Income tax provided free tax filing for those on limited income. On weekends, it had a core staff of a service navigator, reception and a housing resource worker, which was a slim staff for a large building.

Although many of these services existed elsewhere in the community of Brandon at the time, bringing them all together in one building and making services available during evenings and weekends was seen as innovative and unique at the time. Located downtown, 7th Street Health Access Centre aimed to offer timely services with a motto of “right provider, right time, right place,” and for those needing multiple services, the aim was to reduce the number of times the client “had to tell their story” with each staff they worked with.

Over the next 20 years, services evolved, client volume increased, hours changed, staff changed, services were added, and core services with weekend staffing remained. Fast forward to June 17, 2024, and 7th Street Health Access Centre is bursting with staff and services.    Hours of operation have changed from noon to 8 pm, to 11 am to 7 pm for many years, to 10 am -6 pm for a couple of years to today’s hours of 9 am to 5 pm, still seven days a week. Except for Child and Family Services and the public health services of Healthy Baby and Travel Health, the initial services we started with remain. Added services include: Community Nurse; Cultural Facilitators to respond to the language and cultural needs of our newcomer population; Dietitian; Homecare Wound Care staff; HIV Clinic; Hep C treatment; Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinic; Financial Facilitator; EIA partner staff; Community Social Workers; Outreach worker; harm reduction initiatives and itinerant support groups over the years.   Amenity services such as laundry and shower facilities, public use of phones and computers, photocopying, and faxing have steadily increased in usage seven days a week.

7th Street Health Access Centre aims to be responsive to the needs in the community, especially the most vulnerable or least resourced and adjusts services and staff accordingly to address the ever-growing or changing needs. Staff also partner with many other agencies and services within Brandon and around the province to meet the needs of those we work with and offer services to. When one first learns of all that is available at 7th Street Health Access Centre, it has often been commented that 7th Street Health Access Center is “the hidden gem.” Although we have been around and growing and serving for 20 years, many still do not know what services and supports are available at 7th Street Health Access Center, and many do not realize we are a part of Prairie Mountain Health.

Welcome to our “20 years of service” celebration on June 17, 2024. Come and see for yourself what our Centre has to offer.  

For more information or to find out how to connect with a service provider, please call 204 578-4800.

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May 7th is International Harm Reduction Day!  

Harm Reduction can be defined as “policies, programs and practices that seek to reduce the adverse health, social and economic consequences of the use of legal and illegal psychoactive substances. Harm reduction is pragmatic and focuses on keeping people safe and minimizing death, disease and injury associated with higher risk behavior while recognizing that the behavior may continue despite the risks.” Government of Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living

Some everyday examples of harm reduction are needle exchange programs, wearing sunscreen, access to barrier-free, safer substance use supplies (smoking and injection supplies), safer sex supplies, wearing a seat belt, wearing a helmet while riding a bike and carrying naloxone. 

Kris Lelond, Brandon PMH Peer

This year, for National Harm Reduction Day 2024, we are highlighting our Brandon PMH peer, Kris Lelond.  Kris has been a peer volunteer with PMH for several months and the Manitoba Harm Reduction Network (MHRN), Brandon chapter for 3.5 years. In both roles, Kris advocates and educates for and about harm reduction programming and services in Brandon.  He participates in the 24-hour harm reduction lock box program at 7th Street Health Access Centre. He also partners with 7th Street outreach workers to offer harm reduction outreach services and assist with peer-informed programming.  In addition to his work at 7th Street, he supports our Regional Harm Reduction Coordinator by co-facilitating harm reduction workshops and assisting with community outreach events.  Kris’s expertise has influenced our programs for the betterment of our community and the populations we serve by pushing and advocating for systemic change.   

Our chat with Kris

Can you please tell me about yourself? 

I am a well-rounded and educated person.  I have had the fortunate opportunity to experience a very diverse life, going from having lots of money to being absolutely broke and on the streets.  I have had diverse jobs and have worked in everything from construction to culinary, oil rigs, ski hill, carpentry, farm hand, harm reduction within the health field, to opening businesses in the city.  My father passed away from suicide when I was four years old.  I had to learn how to be a dad without a dad and not have that consistent role model in my life.  But I think how much my dad loved me in the time I spent with him has helped shape my morals and values regarding how to be a dad and husband.  My ultimate goal in life is to clear up my debt and build my credit so that I can eventually own my own home again.  Also, to get set up in the career that I love and, get married one last time to the right person and have a few more kids.   

What does harm reduction mean to you?  

Harm reduction means anything you do that ultimately improves your opportunity to have a safe and healthy life regardless of drug use or not.   

Why did you get into this line of work?   

Because I have lived this life for over half of my life, and I have always wanted the opportunity to give back.  What I learned through my living situation is that I can make society better and make a difference.   

What are some of the successes you have seen in the work you do for PMH or MHRN? 

In my past careers, I have worked in some of the best kitchens and restaurants; in fact, a few of them hold record awards for perfection in the products being put out.  Any project that I have been part of, I think has been somewhat successful.  I have seen people start to practice my teachings of safer utilization of substance use equipment.  I have heard feedback that the trial projects I have been a part of have also been successful, such as the lockbox project at 7th Street. The harm reduction projects I have helped with have become a staple and a resource in our community.   

What are some of the challenges you face when doing this work?   

The limitations of the work we are able to do: we could be doing more to be more progressive.  There should be full-time harm reduction jobs for us to do this kind of work to sustain ourselves and contribute to our economy.   

If there is one message you would like to get out to the people reading this article, what would it be?   

It only takes one person and person alone to incorporate change that can impact the world.  Change definitely impacts the people around us.  It can extend to other places and possibly throughout the world.   


In recognition of National Harm Reduction Day, the following events will be taking place: 

  • Brandon, May 7th, 1 pm – 2 pm, Princess Park with food and supply distribution  
  • Dauphin, May 7th from 1-3, Parkview Lodge – testing/wellness event including Soup and Bannock  
  • Swan River, May 15th, WSFN Community Hall – Syphilis & Congenital Syphilis Education, STBBI Testing, Naloxone Training.

      Visit our harm reduction webpage for more information on services available within our region.

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      Palliative Care Is For You!

      The first full week of May marks National Hospice Palliative Care Week in Canada (May 5-11, 2024).  The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) is the national leader in pursuing quality hospice palliative care in Canada through supporting public policy initiatives, education, knowledge translation awareness and collaboration. The Prairie Mountain Health Palliative Care Team is joining the annual awareness campaign to celebrate this year’s theme, “Palliative Care Is For You!”

      advertising image. palliative care is for you. National hospice palliative care week, May 5th to 11th.

      We all deserve to know how palliative care can help when a life-limiting illness touches our lives. Like a lighthouse in a storm, the Prairie Mountain Health Palliative Care Program guides clients and their families through the uncertainties of a life-limiting illness with warmth, support and stability. The Palliative Care Program coordinates the resources needed to support physical care, emotional needs, pain and symptom management, spiritual care, cultural needs, end-of-life planning and bereavement.  A palliative care approach illuminates the path forward to help clients live their lives fully through every stage of a life-limiting illness, including death.

      Every client and family deserves the best quality of care and support we can offer. The Palliative Care team works closely with many members of the interdisciplinary team, including the client, their family, healthcare facility staff, home care, pharmacists, physicians, other allied health professionals, community organizations and specially trained palliative care volunteers.  By working together, Palliative Care helps to approach the end of life with dignity, comfort, care and support. To learn more about the program, visit https://prairiemountainhealth.ca/programs-and-services/palliative-care/

      At some point, in some way, end of life touches us all. Palliative Care helps make the transition through the stages of a life-limiting illness both manageable and meaningful for the person facing death and their family members and friends. Join us this National Hospice Palliative Care Week to raise awareness and foster communities that value the incredible support palliative care can offer. 

      Picture of Palliative Care Nurse Melissa Peters

      Melissa Peters, Palliative Care Coordinator
       204-578-2340
       [email protected]

      Brandon Coverage


      Picture of Palliative Care Nurse Charla Murray

      Charla Murray, Clinical Resource Nurse
       204-764-4237
       [email protected]

      West Coverage
      Birtle, Boissevain, Deloraine, Elkhorn, Hamiota, Hartney, Melita, Reston, Rossburn, Russell, Shoal Lake, Souris, Virden


      Picture of Palliative Care Nurse Amanda Matheson

      Amanda Matheson, Clinical Resource Nurse
       204-578-2338
       [email protected]

      East Coverage
      Baldur, Carberry, Cartwright, Erickson, Glenboro Killarney, Minnedosa, Neepawa, Rivers, Sandy Lake, Treherne, Wawanesa


      Picture of Palliative Care Nurse Jenna Zurba

      Jenna Zurba, Clinical Resource Nurse
       204-629-3006
       [email protected]

      North Coverage
      Alonsa, Benito, Camperville, Crane River, Dauphin, Duck Bay, Gilbert Plains, Grandview, Mafeking, McCreary, Roblin, Ste. Rose Du Lac, Swan River, Winnipegosis, Waterhen


      Picture of volunteer and bereavement coordinator Carla Mitchell

      Carla Mitchell
       204-578-2310
       [email protected]

      Volunteer & Bereavement Coordinator
      All areas

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      Rhubarb

      Rhubarb season is coming. If you are unfamiliar with rhubarb, it is a tart plant that is often made into jams, sauces, pies and crisps. Rhubarb is a perineal plant; it keeps growing in the same place year after year. You can buy rhubarb at the local grocery store or, many people have a rhubarb patch in their yard or garden. Ask a neighbour or a friend. Many people are willing to share. If you plant your own, be sure to give it lots of sun, water and compost and it will be ready to harvest in about 2-3 years. Rhubarb comes in many colours including red, speckled pink and green.

      The best time to harvest or pick rhubarb is late May to Early June when it is the most tender and flavourful. To harvest, cut or twist it off the stalks at the soil line. Choose young stalks for best taste. Only the stalks are edible. Do not eat the leaves, they are toxic.  

      Once picked, refrigerate rhubarb in a reusable produce bag for up to 3 weeks. To freeze, cut stalks into pieces and spread on a baking sheet. Freeze until firm, then put into airtight containers labeled with the date and amount.

      As mentioned above, rhubarb is quite tart; to sweeten, try mixing with berries such a strawberries, blueberries or blackberries. Make a rhubarb sauce with orange or apple juice. It is great with spices like cinnamon or ginger.

      Rhubarb is more than jam and pie. Make a rhubarb smoothie – use cooked rhubarb and blend with apple sauce, berries and/or a banana.

      Try these rhubarb muffins Rhubarb Muffins | Food Hero | Recipe, and this versatile rhubarb sauce Rhubarb Sauce, Smoothies and Shakes – Unlock Food. Looking to freshen up your water or drink? Experiment with this rhubarb juice How to Make Rhubarb Juice – Unsweetened Concentrate (gettystewart.com).

      For more great rhubarb recipes and tips check out www.gettystewart.com

      References – www.foodhero.org, www.unlockfood.ca, Rhubarb, Rheum rhabarbarum – Wisconsin Horticulture, www.gettystewart.com

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      Spinning Babies

      Maternity Unit nurses from Dauphin Regional Health Centre (DRHC) and elsewhere in the province benefitted from a recent ‘Spinning Babies’ workshop that was held in Dauphin on April 16 and 17.

      Spinning Babies techniques have been shown to reduce the incidence of unnecessary medical interventions, including assisted vaginal deliveries and cesarean sections when used in the right circumstances.  In turn, the length of hospital stays is often also reduced.

      “Spinning Babies” is a physiological approach to preparing for and caring for birth.  The specialized training prepares care providers to help patients navigate birth by teaching them labor activities that have been shown to ease birth by optimizing fetal positioning. The learned activities are designed to help the staff assist the mother in birthing, promoting the best position for the baby to fit through the pelvis, and offering solutions when labor is long, not progressing, painful or stalling.

      The DRHC staff that participated in the workshop (18 staff and two physicians) received funding to attend from the Delha Cort Educational Fund, which the Dauphin Hospital Foundation administers. More information on the Delha Cort Education fund can be found on the Dauphin Hospital Foundation website, under the about us section, at Delha Cort Fund (dghf.ca)

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      Mental Health Week May 6-12, 2024

      Canadian Mental Health Association recognizes May 6 to 12th, 2024, as Mental Health Week. We all can be compassionate and know that doing so can make an enormous difference. This year’s Mental Health Week is centred on the healing power of compassion. In a world plagued by suffering, we emphasize that kindness is equally intrinsic to our humanity. Compassion goes beyond acknowledging pain; it’s about embracing our shared humanity and actively caring for ourselves and those around us. Unlike empathy, compassion is more than understanding – it’s rooted in action, a resounding call to practice kindness.

      The Mental Wellness and Suicide Prevention Committee will be promoting amazing Mental Health Week activities planned by partner organizations in several ways:

      • A regional campaign to schools was created and shared broadly with the invitation to participate in Mindful Moments. These brief messages and information with option exercises or quotes can be shared in a classroom setting, general assembly, or morning announcements. Though they only take a few minutes, they can foster a greater understanding of personal mental health and compassion.  
      • Creative Reflections, a Mental Wellness Suicide Prevention project, was created to work on reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and illness by creating an invitation for individuals to share their stories. We put forward an expression of interest form in 2023 and are now beginning to work with interested artisans to gather their pieces. This project was open to all: artwork, sculptures, photography, poetry, music, and short stories, all eligible to be part of the Creative Expressions Exhibit in the Fall. Stay tuned for more details to come!
        • As part of this project, we offer two in-person creation workshops during Mental Health Week. One will take place in Dauphin on May 6 and the other in Ste. Rose on May 8. Individuals will be introduced to the idea of expressing themselves via art and invited to engage in creating their self-portraits in a creative way. Engaging in art activities has been shown to reduce stress, lower anxiety levels, and improve mood.
      • The Dauphin HERO club will be celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year! A celebration event is planned during Mental Health Week on Wednesday, May 8, from
        11 am to 2 pm. Born out of a desire for a healthy community for people recovering from mental health struggles, the HERO club – which stands for Helping Everyone Reach Out – has demonstrated how empathy and compassion can create a healthy and safe space where people can flourish.
      • Keep an eye out for posters from The Canadian Mental Health Association. Titled “A Call to be Kind,” these posters present the challenge to connect with others through compassion and will direct you to CMHA Manitoba’s website for further resources and information. CMHA will also hold a free online presentation on “Radical Acceptance and Self-Compassion” at noon on Friday, May 10. E-mail [email protected] to receive the Zoom link for this presentation.

      Whether it’s lending a listening ear, offering a helping hand, or simply being there for someone in need, every act of kindness matters. In a world where kindness sometimes takes a backseat to busyness, it’s important to remember the impact that even small acts of kindness can have. By spreading kindness, we make a positive difference in the lives of others and also nourish our souls.

      As we celebrate Mental Health Week, honour the HERO club’s legacy, and anticipate the Creative Reflections exhibit, let’s recommit ourselves to spreading kindness wherever we go. Together, let’s create a world where compassion and creativity flourish and everyone feels valued and supported on their journey toward healing and wholeness.

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      Russell and area supporters gather to recognize fundraising efforts for cancer care project

      Cancer Care Nursing Station

      With Elvis in the building, Russell and area residents relished the chance to gather, recognize and celebrate the exceptional decade-long fundraising efforts aimed at expanding space at the  Russell Health Centre for the cancer care/chemotherapy program. The Russell Expanding Community Cancer Committee (ECCC) held a “Celebration Time Gala” on April 13th, with Corny Rempel impersonating Johnny Cash and Elvis. Another $31 thousand was raised for the overall project.

      The Expanding Community Cancer Care Committee raised $2.9 million to fund the 3300 sq. ft building, which will become the Community Cancer Care Centre. This is roughly four times the size of the current space and will include:

      • replacement of the existing nursing station, Doctors exam/clinic space and medication storage area;
      • creation of a dedicated patient washroom, nourishment area, and a small waiting area;
      • improved patient privacy.
      Photo courtesy of the Russell Banner

      There are 15 communities represented on the committee. Committee members (back l-r) include: Darlene Lichkowski, Cheryl Robinson, Joyce Bork, Leslie Sawchuk, Donna Auger, Andrea Glasman. (Front row l-r): Cheryl Collins, Eunice Cook, Zelma Salyn, Judy Forsyth, Pam Demchynski, Betty Beischer, Marsha Trinder, Brenda Simard, Colleen Jones and Gloria Tibbatts. (missing from the event picture were Terrie Welwood, Barb Cameron, Keith Popp and Laurie Burgess). Committee members also include Joanne Hickman, Connie Popp, Cheryl Rubeniuk and Terry Jackson.

      The anticipated completion of the building expansion is sometime later this spring or early summer.

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      What is Population Health & Wellness?

      Population Health and Wellness involves working to improve the health of a population, which includes identifying and taking action to reduce health inequities arising within the determinants of health between and among groups within the population.

      Did you know Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) has a Population Health and Wellness Committee?

      Neil Ives, Nancy McPherson & Ashley Vandepoele at the Human Rights Museum during Health Care Excellence Canada’s Joint Programs Workshop

      As Population Health and Wellness is so broad in scope, the committee sought a specific population area to work toward effecting change. With Manitoba having one of the highest rates of kidney disease in Canada, our team’s specific focus and priority area is kidney health.

      In recent years, this committee has explored the services being provided along a person’s kidney health journey, from testing to, in some cases, dialysis. Thanks to the assistance of some Brandon University nursing students, an interview was conducted with all people on dialysis residing in PMH in 2022. Chronic Disease Education Program and Dialysis staff were also surveyed, and a common theme arose among staff – a wish that they would have seen people sooner along their care continuum. With this in mind, and knowing that kidney disease can be hard to detect in that it often starts slowly and can develop without any symptoms, the team looked at various ways to screen people in various settings and how that could be operationalized. Our initial efforts did not come to fruition, but they planted the seeds for our next steps. Most recently, we applied for grant funding through Health Care Excellence Canada’s Strengthening Primary Care in Northern, Rural, and Remote Communities program and were successful! Funding will be used to purchase point-of-care testing equipment to support diabetes and renal screening, meaning clients will receive their results and begin developing a renal health plan on the spot. We partnered with the Chronic Disease Innovation Centre at Seven Oaks General Hospital in Winnipeg to help us guide the development and implementation of this project.

      We want to empower community members to protect their kidneys and inform them of the importance of early detection!

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