CRHR to Release Documentary on Rural Birth: “Where was I born, mama?”

Below is the trailer for the original documentary, “Where was I born, Mama?” on the deeply personal, but ultimately shared challenges of giving birth in a community without birth services.


In BC alone, more than 1,000 rural women a year must travel more than 100 kilometers to give birth. This causes stress and anxiety and, in some instances, adverse maternal and newborn outcomes. Women who have to travel more than 4 hours have more than a three times higher rate of perinatal mortality. Where was I born, Mama? Is a documentary short film produced by the Centre for Rural Health Research to shed light on the implications of the loss of local maternity services for rural women and their families.

This film was produced by CRHR and directed by Tamara Wojciechowska.

Rural Patient Transport and Transfer: Findings from A Realist Review

The Applied Policy Research Unit is pleased to announce the release of their fourth realist review, “Rural Patient Transport and Transfer: Findings from A Realist Review”. The report, commissioned by the Rural and Remote Division of Family Practice, addresses the question: “What are the best practice models for transferring medically complex rural patients to secondary/tertiary care?” by summarizing evidence from a comprehensive review of academic and grey literature on emergency transport systems across Canada and comparable international jurisdictions.


Findings are presented by key themes including evidence regarding:

  • Timing to secondary referral or tertiary care;
  • Equipment and technology;
  • Health Human Resources
  • Dispatch and Communication
  • Governance


Recommendations align with a number of provincial priorities including the need for:

  • patient- and community-centred approaches to rural transport and transfer
  • improved communication at all system levels
  • interprofessional teamwork
  • (rural) generalism to support and sustain crucial services in smaller communities
  • virtual care to link smaller sites with regional referral and tertiary centres for consultations
  • an integrated and iterative approach to quality improvement.


You can download the report from the APRU website . Please contact Jude Kornelsen ( for any further information.


Coming Soon…


CRHR is launching several public engagement projects in 2016-17, including a complementary website called CRHR Public. This site will forefront visual modes of communication: short videos, infographics, and photos connected to our publications.

This public outreach and knowledge translation project is headed by our Media Assistant, Evonne Tran. The aim of the broader initiative is to better communicate our research findings to the general public.

We’ll continue updating our regular website (// with our text-based blog, publications, and reports.

Updates on our re-branding and social media platforms will be coming soon!

Announcing: Documentary Film Project


The Centre for Rural Health Research is excited to announce that we are producing a documentary film about women’s experience with rural maternity services. Welcome to our videographer, Tamara Wojciechowska!

Here is our recruitment poster for the Tofino area:


Through this film, we want to raise awareness of what women and their families have to deal with in order to give birth, when living in a rural community in British Columbia. The film will also highlight the social dimension of what happens when a community loses local maternity care.

We believe this documentary project will create an impact to support better maternity services for women and their families in rural communities in BC and throughout Canada.

For over a decade, we have conducted extensive research and published numerous articles on various aspects of rural maternity care. Key publications include:

For more publications and reports, see our Journal Publications and APRU Reports pages.

Primary Maternity Units in Australia (an international research collaboration)

The Australian government has declared a commitment to improving women’s access to maternity care in rural and remote areas, following the adverse effects of prior maternity service closures. In an international context, Primary Maternity Units (PMUs) provide birthing services in areas geographically separated from ideal obstetrics and neonatal services.

A recent study, “Primary Maternity Units in rural and remote Australia: Results of a national survey,” conducted in part by the Center for Rural Health Research’s Dr. Jude Kornelsen, sought to investigate and describe how PMUs operate throughout rural and remote Australia. The study is intended to inform both policy makers and health care professionals regarding the function and role of PMUs across Australia’s rural and remote regions. The researchers hope to identify what areas will require governmental support to improve rural women’s access to proper maternity care.

Sustaining Rural Maternity and Surgical Care

In a newly published article, “Sustaining rural maternity and surgical care,” Dr. Jude Kornelsen, Dr. Stuart Iglesias, and Dr. Robert Woollard comment on the “Joint Position Paper on Rural Surgery and Operative Delivery” they co-authored in 2015, this time focusing on three main issues: providing rural health service closer to home, the impasse on safety, and operative delivery. They look at how the adoption of health services provided closer to home has impacted three communities in rural BC. Next they present undeniable evidence that rural surgical care has long been facing a service closure crisis, similar to that of maternity care. They recognize the need for action, and follow this up with background information on the relationship between general surgeons and family physicians with enhanced surgical skills (FPESS), and how their professional links impact the international discussion on defining and evaluating “safety.” For the third issue, the authors comment on the importance of local caesarean section services, and argue that unless a link can be fostered with surgical programs, these too will be unsustainable in rural and remote areas. Finally, Drs Kornelsen, Iglesias, and Woollard present and discuss the current need for all health care professionals and partners to align for a system change. They suggest that while interprofessional relationships will require significant attention, such an alignment will enable responsible policy to be implemented and lines of accountability to be maintained in each essential jurisdiction.