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Emergency Department

Have You ‘Bean’ Checked for Kidney Disease

PMH wants to take additional steps to encourage community members to protect their kidneys. March is kidney awareness month, and PMH encourages everyone to learn more about protecting their ‘beans.’  The PMH Population Health and Wellness Committee has been developing a public awareness campaign to inform PMH residents about the importance of early detection and screening. You may have noticed posters around your community encouraging everyone to self-screen for kidney disease.

Here are a few facts to share:

  • The province of Manitoba has the highest incidence and prevalence of kidney failure in Canada
  • As many as 1 in 10 adults in Manitoba are living with kidney disease, and most don’t even know it
  • Kidneys can lose 80% of their function before any symptoms are felt

What is kidney disease, and why is early testing so important? Chronic kidney disease means your kidneys are damaged and lose their ability to keep you healthy by filtering your blood. People living with kidney disease progressively lose kidney function, often not knowing they have the disease until advancing to the later stages. As kidney disease worsens, wastes can build up in your blood and make you feel sick. You may develop other problems like high blood pressure, anemia, weak bones, poor nutritional health, or nerve damage.

Kidney disease is classified into five stages; stage 1 indicates normal kidney function up to stage 5, which is kidney failure. Because symptoms don’t always show in the early stages, identifying and managing patients with early kidney disease may slow or prevent the progression to end-stage kidney disease. Often, noninvasive treatments, such as drug therapy and lifestyle changes, may be all that’s needed if caught early.  

Anyone can get kidney disease, but some people have a higher probability because they have one or more risk factors. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common reasons for kidney disease among adults. Other risk factors include obesity, smoking, having heart disease, frequent use of kidney-damaging drugs, or a family history of kidney disease. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get kidney disease, but it increases your chance and makes early screening more important. A simple blood or urine test is all that is needed to learn if your kidneys are healthy.

Talk to your healthcare provider about kidney disease. To learn more about kidney disease and to take a self-screen test to see if you are at risk, visit Don’t underestimate the importance of early testing for kidney disease. Ask yourself, have you ‘bean’ checked? 

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Ten years and counting for the PMH Mobile Clinic

Prairie Mountain Health’s (PMH) Mobile Clinic has passed a very notable milestone; February 2024 marked ten years since the primary care bus first hit the road! The Mobile Clinic was the first of its kind in the Province, and although some of the faces and places have changed over the years, there’s one constant: providing access to services where some barriers remain.

On average, the PMH Mobile Clinic (primary care bus) travels 44,000 kilometres annually. This is roughly equivalent to touring across Canada (east to west) nearly seven times annually. Over the past decade, approximately 440,000 total kilometres have been travelled by the Mobile Clinic. That’s certainly a lot of distance covered and patients seen since its implementation.

The Mobile Clinic is staffed by a Registered Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, and Driver who provides administrative support. This team works closely with the staff at the health centres in each community to ensure that individuals’ needs are met.

Currently, the Indigenous communities of Birdtail Sioux First Nation, Ebb and Flow First Nation, O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation and Keeseekoowenin First Nation receive regular visits. The communities of Canupawakpa Dakota First Nation, Skownan First Nation, and Waterhen also receive regular Nurse Practitioner services from Mobile Clinic providers.

“A Nurse Practitioner can do some of the same things as a family doctor. They can do physical exams, diagnose and treat diseases and other health conditions, and prescribe medication,” says Glenda Short, PMH Regional Lead of Community and Continuing Care. “This allows the Mobile Clinic to provide many services, including regular sexually transmitted blood-borne infection testing, which offers clients a private and confidential environment for testing and treatment.” 

Client, community and staff feedback have shaped changes over the past decade. The Mobile Clinic saw greater success by visiting the same communities consistently rather than more communities on a less frequent basis. Therefore, visits currently occur to the same four communities on a consistent schedule. 

“Accessing primary health care services close to home is important for all Manitobans,” said Manitoba Health, Seniors and Healthy Living Minister Uzoma Asagwara. “I would like to thank the staff who operate the Mobile Clinic for the great work that they do and their dedication to providing quality and timely health care for residents of Prairie Mountain Health Region.”

Appointment at the Mobile Bus in Birdtail Sioux

Operating a fully functioning primary care clinic on wheels is challenging. 

“Adverse weather conditions, staffing shortages, and internet disruptions are a few that can play a role in the clinic’s day-to-day functions,” stated Ashley Vandepoele, PMH Health Services Manager whose team oversees the initiative.

During the heightened stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare systems had to adapt rapidly, and the Mobile Clinic was no exception. 

“The Mobile Clinic shifted to involve providing vaccines, doing testing, redeploying staff, as well as physically attending pop-up vaccine locations in campsites and mall parking lots for visibility,” Short said. 

Added Vandepeole: “The pandemic also provided space for innovation. One learning was that virtual care could be utilized to meet client needs. This has altered and shaped how the Mobile Clinic functions on days when cancellations are inevitable due to adverse weather and road conditions. Rather than not providing service at all due to the Clinic’s inability to get to the community, we now offer services by telephone on many of those days.”

The Mobile Clinic strives to be an inclusive, safe environment for all to access. PMH regularly welcomes nursing students and physician assistants to participate in their learning journey. 

A recent grant approval through Health Care Excellence Canada’s Strengthening Primary Care in Northern Rural and Remote Communities will pave the way for an innovation on the Mobile Clinic. Point-of-care testing equipment is being purchased to support diabetes and renal screening in a number of the communities that the Mobile Clinic serves.

PMH remains proud of the continued success of the Clinic and, with its health partners and stakeholders, collectively strives to enhance services within the large geographic region continually. 

We’ll see what the next ten years bring!

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We are Dietitians!

Highlighting Dietitian work in Prairie Mountain Health for Nutrition Month in March

In Primary Care

Feeling confused with what you are reading about nutrition online? Primary care dietitians are master myth-busters and trustworthy sources of nutrition information personalized to you. From chronic disease prevention to management, dietitians in primary care are here to help! Meeting with a Registered Dietitian can help you manage irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, nutrient deficiencies, malnutrition, diabetes, heart disease, disordered eating, pediatric picky eating and more. You can request an appointment by calling 1-877-509-7852 or talking to your primary care provider about a referral at your next visit.

In the Community

Prairie Mountain Health Community Dietitians believe that healthy does not have to be fancy. We promote healthy eating that is enjoyable, nutritious, accessible, and culturally appropriate. This could include food from local grocery stores, farmers’ markets, your backyard (or farm), or from the wild.

Community Dietitians work with communities, organizations, and groups rather than individual clients. They promote healthy eating, focusing on nutrition and food skills education, food security initiatives, and healthy food environments. You might see Community Dietitians working in schools, health fairs, daycares, seniors’ centers, healthy baby programs, cooking classes, community centers, and more!

What does this look like in PMH? Dietitians are part of Neepawa Eats Healthy, a group of dedicated partners representing local organizations and community members working together to improve healthy eating outcomes in the community. The partnership includes the Salvation Army, the Town of Neepawa, HyLife, Prairie Mountain Health, and community members. The committee works together on many food-related projects in the community. Currently, we are partnering with local grocery stores to promote a monthly quick, easy and healthy recipe, with classrooms competing to win a catered lunch featuring the Meal in 30 recipes. To see what else Neepawa Eats Healthy is up to, follow them on social media @neepawa.eats.healthy. A Community Dietitian is also involved with the BAG (Better Access to Groceries) program in Camperville and Sapotaweyak Cree Nation, where people order a bag of fresh produce at a reasonable cost to pick up in their community. Some Community Dietitians also facilitate community programs such as Craving Change, Strive to Thrive, and Get Better Together.  

Contact the Community Dietitians by sending an email to [email protected]

In Long Term Care and Acute Care

Every healthcare facility in Prairie Mountain Health has a Registered Dietitian who attends the facility and sees the clients. Registered Dietitians work as part of the healthcare team to ensure clients receive the best care. Clients are seen for various reasons in these settings, including malnutrition, inadequate oral intake, enteral feeding (tube feeds), bowel care, diabetes management and texture-modified diets, to name a few. Registered Dietitians are part of the Menu committee for the facilities and work with the Nutrition Services team to make a menu that meets everyone’s nutritional needs.

Dietitians are here to help ensure our clients are nourished. If you have a loved one in a personal care home or acute care setting, you can request that they see a Registered Dietitian.

Please contact Lisa Fugleberg [email protected] for more information regarding acute and long-term care dietitian services.

Looking for nutrition information? Check out these great sites for some great tips and recipe ideas!

Home – Unlock Food

Home & Family (


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PMH Regional Ethics Committee Looking for New Members

Prairie Mountain Health recognizes that ethical issues and dilemmas will arise in the provision of care and service within the healthcare sector. PMH is committed to deliver quality health services to meet the needs of the population we serve, with integrity, accountability, equity, respect, responsiveness and engagement. Ethical principles and values are incorporated into how decisions are made and care is delivered every day.

The PMH Regional Ethics Committee provides support, resources and education for staff who may encounter ethical issues or dilemmas in their daily work. 

The Regional Ethics committee is currently seeking new members from both inside and outside the organization to serve a three-year term.

Are you someone who enjoys discussing ethical issues with others? Are you interested in learning more about how to address ethical issues and support ethics educational opportunities? Are you a patient or family partner, current or retired healthcare professional, spiritual care leader or a post-secondary school teacher/professor? Are you able to meet via Microsoft Teams four times a year for two hours?  If so, please reach out to Chairperson Nancy Tregunna at [email protected] for an application or for more information.

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January 2024 Donations for PMH

125 Teddy Bears donated to Pediatric Ward at Brandon Regional Health Centre

L-R: Sydney Nault (peds), Carole Schell, Glenda Klemick, Cheryl Gagnon (peds)

Glenda Klemick & Carol Schepp from the Calendar Club seasonal store in Brandon Shoppers Mall had a promotion that you could buy a teddy bear for $5.99 if you spent $15 before tax. You could choose to take it home or donate it to the pediatric ward. Many who donated had a personal connection to the pediatric ward.

Russell Expanding Community Cancer Care

Picture and files courtesy of Russell Banner

Judy Snitynsky, Mayor of the Municipality of Russell-Binscarth and Andrea Glasman from the Expanding Community Cancer Care Committee with a cheque representing the $200,000 in funding the municipality has given to the Russell building addition project over the last two years.

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‘Mental Health on the Prairies’ conference looking to build hope and renew connections

Talking about mental health is important every day of the year, and the entire community is invited to come together this spring to join a conversation about building hope and renewing connection to support good mental health.

The Mental Health on the Prairies Hybrid Conference and Community Conversation will be held April 24th, 25th, and 26th, and is hosted by Brandon University. The meeting will bring together researchers, professionals working in health and social care, educators, community groups, and lived experience experts to have critical conversations about mental health research, services, and experiences.

The conference includes three keynote presentations designed for the whole community. Chris Beaudry – Former Humboldt Broncos Coach—will talk about the “heroes and dragons of mental health” sharing his experience of working with trauma. Dr. Jan DeFehr from University of Winnipeg will share extensive research and community practice in a presentation about breaking down psychiatric divisions. Finally, Sera Davidow—a filmmaker, author, activist and Director of a peer-to-peer support and training organization—will talk about mental health through a harm reduction lens. Each of the keynote presenters offer different perspectives on mental health that are critical to building hope and renewing connections. Please register to participate.

The conference and community conversation will help share important information about mental health and support services with a wider audience.

“Connection is so important. We know that people who feel more connected report better mental health and they can cope better with mental health problems,” said Dr. Catherine Baxter conference co-chair and Professor in the Faculty of Health Studies.

The event planning team also includes community co-chair, Maria Kent, as well as mental health advocates, educators and researchers from the faculty of nursing, arts, and science at Brandon University.

Ultimately, the event aims to draw together a broad range of individuals from academic experts across the country to share knowledge and engage in critical conversations about community-based mental health research and solutions, to engaged community members who want to share their thoughts and experiences around mental health.

“This conference and conversation is an ongoing priority for us, and an important objective of our Centre for the Critical Studies of Rural Mental Health,” said Dr. Linda Ross, Acting Dean of Health Studies at BU. “I look forward to hearing the conversations and actions it generates.”

Mental Health on the Prairies is open to everyone. Anyone interested in participating in the Mental Health on the Prairies Conference and Community Conversation should go to the conference website for more information.

Success is built at Brandon University. Our growing, progressive campus welcomes a diverse and inclusive community that combines proud tradition with shared ambition. Through our excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship, we educate students to make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders. Join us at


Rob Henderson

Marketing Communications Officer
[email protected]

Grant Hamilton
Director, Marketing and Communications
[email protected]

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It stinks so good! I’ve noticed a trend in Westman – more locally grown garlic at farmers markets and grocery stores. Garlic is planted in late fall and harvested in the summer and early fall. Why are we talking about garlic in February then?  Well that garlic that is nicely tucked underground for the winter can be stored for a long time after it is harvested and cured. Some varieties will store for over 12 months with the right temperature and humidity controls. Humans have been enjoying garlic for thousands of years. When cooking we generally eat the bulb, raw, cooked or powdered. Garlic’s strong flavour mellows and sweetens with cooking. Garlic is key in many cuisines from around the world and to some considered the world’s number one spice.

Buy garlic with firm cloves and dry skins. Store in a cool dry place, but not in the fridge (otherwise it might start to sprout). Crushed or diced garlic is also available in jars that need to be refrigerated after opening. Don’t have a garlic press? No worries, mince by making lengthwise cuts down one side of a clove of garlic, then flip the garlic over and cut it, then chop into fine pieces. To roast garlic, slice off the top if the bulb and place on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap it up in the foil and bake at 350F for approximately 40 minutes. Allow to cool then squeeze the bottom of the bulb and the cloves will come right out. Roasted garlic is great in many dishes including mashed potatoes, meat, sandwiches, and pasta. Make delicious garlic bread by mixing roasted garlic with butter or margarine, spread on bread, then grill or broil or try this roasted garlic hummus recipe.  Don’t have any fresh garlic on hand – don’t worry you can use 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder in place of 1 glove of garlic.

Here are some other garlicy recipes to try

 5-Ingredient Creamy Lemon Garlic Skillet Turkey | Canadian Turkey

Asian Sesame and Garlic Noodles – Granny’s (

Submitted by: Chantal Morais RD, MPH


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16th Annual Camp Bridges Weekend Set for Circle Square Ranch, Austin MB

“Love builds bridges where there are none”

Prairie Mountain Health is organizing the16th annual Camp Bridges, a weekend camp for bereaved children and teens. Camp Bridges will be held at Circle Square Ranch, Austin MB on May 24, 25 and 26, 2024. The goal of Camp Bridges is to support children and teens with their grief and bereavement. This is achieved through activities designed to help share grief and honour memories in a caring community environment.

Camp Bridges provides a safe, supportive and fun environment where grieving children and teens learn that they are not alone in their grief and are free to share their thoughts and feelings with peers who are going through a similar experience. The camp is intended to complement existing bereavement services for children and teens by providing a weekend of “caring, sharing and memories”.

Camp Bridges accepts up to 40 applicants each year.  Children and youth between the ages of 7-15 years of age, who reside in Manitoba, are welcome to apply.  If you have any questions please contact a member of the Camp Bridges Planning Committee.  The application deadline is May 1, 2024.

Volunteers are needed for Camp Bridges 2024.  Volunteering is a rewarding experience that makes a difference in the lives of children and youth.  Please contact Carla Mitchell (204-578-2310) for more information.  The application deadline for volunteers is March 20th, 2024.

Donations are being accepted to cover the cost of camp rental, meals and activities, so that campers may attend at no cost. If you wish to donate to Camp Bridges please contact Melissa Peters at 204-578-2340 or [email protected].

More information, including camper and volunteer applications are available on our website or contacting a member of the planning committee.  Thank you.

Camp Bridges Planning Committee:

Fax: 204-629-3499

Melissa Peters, RN BN
Regional Palliative Care Coordinator
Phone: 204-578-2340
Email: [email protected]

Carla Mitchell, MSW/RSW
Volunteer and Bereavement Coordinator
Phone: 204-578-2310
Email: [email protected]

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Sexual Health Week | February 12-16, 2024

What is Sexual Health Week?

Sexual Health Week is Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights’ signature public health campaign. For over 20 years, this time has been dedicated to raising awareness on key issues in sexual health, education, and health care.

This week is a celebration of people’s amazing work to improve sexual health access and services across Canada and worldwide! Together, we’re highlighting essential resources and programs, all building towards improving sexual health outcomes for everyone. 

Sexual Health is for Everyone

Sexual health is an important part of our overall well-being, just like physical and mental health. Sexual health is connected to more than just pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections – sexual health includes things like how we feel about our bodies, consent, social relationships, pleasure, our identities, who we’re attracted to, and more!

Since sexual health is connected to so many aspects of our lives, there are many different sexual health support services in our communities! Sexual Health Week is a chance for all of us to celebrate the amazing services, resources, and organizations working to improve sexual health outcomes so we can all live fuller, healthier, and happier lives.

From February 12-16, 2024, we invite everyone to talk about how sexual health is important in our lives. You can participate by getting STBBI tested and learning about a new sexual health topic, for example, a new birth control method. You can learn how to communicate about your feelings, explore your sexuality, or maybe you want to learn more about how to give consent and listen for consent. Perhaps you are a parent or guardian who wants to start having conversations with your teen about sexuality. Whether you are 17 years old and learning about sex for the first time or 67 years old and entering the dating world again, there is something for all of us to learn! This week is a chance to tell people about the tools and groups that help us better understand sexual health and help us envision a healthier, inclusive, sex-positive future for everyone – because sexual health is for everyone!

If you are interested in STBBI testing, please check out the following locations or contact your local public health nurse or primary care provider:  

  • Brandon: Helping Hands – 111 7th Street, Feb. 14 from 1:00 pm-4:00 pm
  • Swan River: Legion Room 119 6th Ave. North (located at the back of the building) Feb. 14, 1:00 pm-4:00 pm 
  • Dauphin: Dauphin Friendship Centre – 210 1 Ave. NE, Feb. 16, 1:00 pm-3:00  

You can find your local public health nurse or primary care provider by visiting our website.

Adapted from

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Medical students visit PMH as part of rural interest group

In partnership with Health Careers Manitoba and the Max Rady College of Medicine, Faculty of Sciences, Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) hosted the University of Manitoba medical student Rural Interest Group in Brandon and Souris on January 26-27, 2024. The Rural Interest Group (RIG) weekend promotes the benefits of practicing medicine in rural communities and available lifestyle opportunities. A record 55 first and second-year medical students participated in the region this year with groups split into clinical workstations at each site.

Student RIG President Vienna Peters says participants were very pleased with the event.

“On behalf of both the Rural Interest Group and the University of Manitoba Medical Classes of 2026 and 2027, I would like to extend a huge thank you to PMH for hosting us again this year. These events are so important for our education as they expose students to what it is like to work in rural medicine, provide opportunities for students to network with doctors and residents, and give us an idea of what it is like to work within the health region.”

PMH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Adrian Fung says the RIG workshop provides the health region with additional opportunities to engage medical students early in their training. 

“We continue to have success with this proactive and student-led initiative,” Dr. Fung stated. “Brandon Regional Health Centre (BRHC) has been a mainstay for this workshop and the community of Souris has also been a proud host in past years. The region participates in, and explores, many avenues of health-care provider recruitment. This event, and the Rural Week event in May are two that create a lot of interest and excitement every year!”

Manitoba Health, Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister Uzoma Asagwara supports and appreciated the workshop’s objectives.

 “I started out my career in rural Manitoba as a psychiatric nurse, it was the best training ground for me to develop my skills and pursue my passion for healthcare. Working in rural Manitoba affords you the ability to really connect with folks in the community, and for me that was most important.”

Health Careers Manitoba and PMH sincerely appreciated the support of regional physicians, staff and volunteers who helped make the RIG weekend a success.

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