author: taylor balfour | news writer
shes the one they call Dr. Feelgood / Jeremy Davis
Emily Barber is accepted as the volunteer-run group’s new leader
Student Energy in Action in Regina for Community Health [SEARCH] is noted on their website as having the goal of trying to “provide equitable access to social and clinical programs within a culturally safe clinical setting to bridge the gaps in service for diverse populations.”
Now, the organization is being run by a new executive director, Emily Barber.
“I applied for the position of SEARCH Executive Director because I believe in the work they do, and this position is an incredible learning opportunity for me as I continue to skill-build in the nonprofit sector,” Barber explained.
“Like many recent graduates, I spent a lot of time trying to find a position that fit my personal goals while challenging me to grow as a person as well as a professional. SEARCH checked every box on my list, and two months in I am excited every day to work in a challenging and rewarding environment like SEARCH.”
SEARCH offers both a social and clinical team to offer social programming and medical services to those in need, and all members of SEARCH are student volunteers wanting to make a difference.
Their internal vision states that “students and mentors are leaders and champions of collaborative interdisciplinary and culturally competent approaches to professional practice.”
“SEARCH is a student-run primary health care clinic operating in the North Central community of Regina,” Barber explains. “We provide medical services and social programming to residents in the area.”
“Our mission is two-fold,” she continues. “SEARCH exists in community to serve community – we follow the lead of the community to tackle the social determinants of health and fill gaps in service; and SEARCH seeks to provide post-secondary students in the Regina area with opportunities to be mentored by a multidisciplinary team of professionals.”
The North Central community in Regina has been in the limelight for years. In 2007, Maclean’s journalist Jonathon Gatehouse wrote a piece entitled, “In 2007, Canada’s worst neighbourhood was in Regina,” in which Gatehouse writes on the physical state of the area, as well as the higher police presence and poverty rates.
In 2017, Gatehouse wrote an update to the article entitled, “Ten years later, we ask again: What’s wrong in Regina?” taglining the article with “A decade ago, Maclean’s labelled North Central ‘Canada’s worst neighbourhood’. It remains a source of controversy and neglect.”
The article still highlights the remaining issues in North Central, almost untouched since his visit in 2007, and explained as to why the article was as “mean” as he claims. However, he also details that there were members of the North Central community who were pressured into retracting their statements for his article due to backlash. He even discussed his visit with the mayor at the time, Pat Fiacco.
Gatehouse stated that those angry about his article were “shooting the messenger,” and noted the various organizations and communities that thanked Maclean’s for highlighting the issue.
In 2011, the City of Regina released a report on details from their North Central community. It was reported that almost 50 per cent of North Central residents made under $20,000 annually. In 2010, it was reported than the average North Central house’s income was $43,774 after tax.
In a section of the 2011 report marked “Private Dwellings Requiring Major and Minor Repairs, North Central,” Regina reported that 22 per cent of the houses in North Central required major repairs, equally out to over 900 houses. In contrast, while 78 per cent required minor repairs.
While SEARCH’s social team is made up of students from a variety of disciplines, students in “medicine, nursing, social work, physical therapy, pharmacy, and kinesiology” are the ones placed on their medical team, as well as being supervised by a physician.
“I was elated to find out that I was the chosen candidate!” Barber explains.
“I knew the position would be challenging and there would be a steep learning curve, but I was (and still am) ready to take on its responsibilities.”
Barber, explaining the application process, described it as standard.
“I can only speak to my personal experience of applying for this position, but it was a standard application and interview process,” she explained.
“I submitted my resume and cover letter, was chosen to interview, completed my interview, and was offered the position after the Board of Directors had made their decision.”
As far as SEARCH goes, Barber explained that the organization has plenty of excitement on the horizon.
“For the first time in our almost ten-year history, we are offering two clinics per week!” Barber explained. “This means not only more access to our services for our clients, but also more opportunities to volunteer for our students!”
Other than more volunteer opportunities, fundraisers are also in SEARCH’s future.
“We are also preparing for our 9th Annual Gala Fundraiser taking place on November 2 at the Conexus Arts Centre,” Baber explains. “We welcome our friends from the university community to join us in supporting community health while enjoying a meal and some musical entertainment!”
“Tickets are on sale now for $70 per seat, and can be requested by emailing email@example.com,” Barber said.
In 2011, the City of Regina reported that North Central had an unemployment rate of 8 per cent, and that 38 per cent of North Central’s residents – the majority – didn’t graduate high school. While Regina, at the time, had a rate of without income households at 3.8 per cent, North Central was at 4.9 per cent.