In 1997, a British Columbia mill suffered a heart-wrenching loss when one of its staff members collapsed and died of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). The only remedy for an SCA is the delivery of an electric shock that acts to reset the heart’s electrical rhythms – a shock deliverable by an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Unfortunately, that shock must come quickly. For every minute that passes without shock delivery, a person’s chance of survival is reduced by 10%. In 1997, only ambulance attendants and fire rescue personnel had access to AEDs, and on that day, neither could get to the mill in time with the life-saving AED.
This event, while tragic, led to the formation of Global Medical Services (Global), a BC-based company passionate about broader access to AEDs. Founded by Dr. Allan Holmes, an emergency-trained physician, Global has worked in the intervening years to implement comprehensive AED programs for hundreds of workplaces across the province and throughout Canada.
And then came February 6th, 2013, a particularly special day in our company’s history.
Gathered alongside representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon (HSFBCY), and the British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS), our team helped bring forward the announcement that a province-wide Public Access Defibrillation Program initiative was launching.
Kicked off with a highly effective Public Service Announcement and an awareness campaign, the initiative, funded by the HSFBCY and the Ministry of Health, will see 450 AED units and associated training delivered to communities throughout BC. The expected impact, as articulated by Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid, will be to “save hundreds of lives”. Indeed, with increased access to AEDS, each of the 2000 SCA deaths reported annually in BC has the potential to be avoided. This was exactly the case for Anna Shanh, an SCA survivor, who shared her survival story with those at the launch. It was a stark reminder for us all that SCA doesn’t discriminate; even the young, fit, non-smoking and non-drinking among us are at risk.
In participating in the launch and seeing the efforts invested to bring it to life, we could not be more proud to be the PAD initiative’s exclusive AED provider. We look forward to working with communities throughout the province as well as with the exceptional teams at both the HSFBCY and BCAS. We share CEO Diego Marchese’s view that this has the potential to be one of the best programs in Canada, and we look forward to playing our role in ensuring that it is.
For more information and video, visit the BC Government newsroom: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2013/02/bc-increases-access-to-defibrillators.html
Social Responsibility is an important measure of success.
We believe that the bottom line is not the sole measure of company success. As a responsible player in the global marketplace, we are committed to running our business in a way that is socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, and economically profitable (Global core value).
One of the most talked about athletes heading into the 2012 Games was a Jamaican sprinter by the name of Usain Bolt. Having broken on to the Olympic scene in 2008 in Beijing, Bolt shattered the world record in the 100m and won gold, leaving his competitors in the dust.
This year, all eyes were on him to see if he could do it again. Not only did Bolt defend his gold in the 100m, he also won gold in the 200m and the men’s 4×100 relay, breaking another world record; the first person in Olympic history to do so.
Olympic gold, especially in an area as popular and visible as athletics, often leads to endorsements and opportunities to earn significant money. It certainly did for Bolt, a charismatic and dynamic individual, who benefitted financially from his skill and his title as the fastest man in the world in the years following his Olympic win.
Bolt grew up in Trelawny, a small, poor town in Jamaica. He attended public schools that often didn’t have the things we would consider basic in an educational environment.
When fame and wealth came his way, one of the first things he did was to give back to the schools in his home town – from computers, structural improvements, sports equipment and teachers’ salaries, Bolt gave back to his elementary, middle and senior schools.
He has also provided financial support for the establishment of several health centres in Jamaica, and has supported environmental and other causes around the world.
Bolt set up a foundation for the continued funding of the causes that are important to him.
The Usain Bolt Foundation’s mission is “the creation of opportunities through education and cultural development for a positive change.” The foundation is “dedicated to the legacy for happy children; to enhance the character of children through educational and cultural development, as they live their dreams.”
Bolt’s commitment to social responsibility doesn’t end with simply providing financial support. His presence is seen and known in his home town, as he spreads his message of hope, encouraging kids to believe in and work toward their dreams.
Usain Bolt believes in being responsible with the fortune he has earned and giving back to a community that doesn’t have much.
Social responsibility is one of Global’s core values because we also believe that’s important. For this reason, we offer our employees paid days off to participate in volunteer activities, as well as contributing financially to worthy local, regional and international causes.
We may not all be as rich as a high-profile Olympic gold medal winner, but all of us can do our part. Whether it’s spending your time or your money, there will always be people who need what you have to give. The question is, are we willing to give it?
Many would look at Bolt’s career and say without argument, that he has achieved unparalleled success in his career – shattering records and leaving in his wake a trail of wins. And yet, he would say that success is measured by more than just his achievements on the track.
“I’m honored to be able to put my Olympic win to good use and spread awareness about the causes that are important to me,” says Bolt. “It’s a great feeling to know you have the ability to reach out to so many different people.”
All of us can reach out somewhere and make a difference in our sphere of influence. Those efforts are an important measure of our success.
New to our lunch room is a “silver garbage receptacle.” Listed on top of this receptacle are all of the items which our office staff can compost.
We currently have a 50L composting bin to start with and we will monitor the load capacity to see if we need to speak with Growing City and upgrade to a larger size.
We have also gone and switched our garbage bags to compostable bags and put them in each of our washrooms for paper towel use only. They will be emptied into the compost bin in the kitchen at the end of each day.
We have also placed additional small bins in our coffee areas upstairs throughout the office to gather compostable waste to be transferred to the compost bin in our lunch room at the end of each day.
We look forward to working together with Growing City and their community oriented projects around the city.
Global Medical Services is an advocate for healthy living. We believe positive choices can be made to enhance physical and mental health. As such, we encourage all of our employees to implement a healthy living plan that works to fit their unique lifestyles.
No surprise, (to me anyway) it looks like Global is not alone. According to a 2011 Stats Canada Community Health Survey, British Columbia families are leading the way in healthy living.
The Community Health report card ranks BC at or near the top on most indicators measured.
- British Columbian adults have the lowest rates of self-reported obesity or overweight in the country, at 46.6 per cent.
- Physical activity rates for those 12 and older are the highest among the provinces, at 59.6 per cent.
- Smoking rates are the lowest in the country, at 15.8 per cent.
- British Columbian families rank third among all Canadian jurisdictions in fruit and vegetable consumption, with 40.7 per cent of those 12 and older consuming fruit or vegetables five or more times per day.
- British Columbia continues to increase its ranking of self-perceived health for those over 12 years of age, moving from fourth to second in the country (along with Newfoundland and Labrador) with 60.9 per cent of respondents reporting very good to excellent overall health.
Minister of Health Michael de Jong
“Once again, British Columbians have shown that they are among the healthiest in the country – something each of us can be proud of. However, prevention is the best medicine, and if we want to continue to reduce the burden of chronic disease and illness on our health system and our lives, we are going to need to keep striving for improvement.”
“Through initiatives like Healthy Families BC, our comprehensive smoking cessation program and our formal partnership with ParticipACTION to promote physical activity, we are committed to helping British Columbians get and stay healthy.”
- B.C. is the first province in Canada to partner with ParticipACTION
- Evidence shows that individuals, who are physically active, achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, enjoy a healthy diet and refrain from smoking, can reduce their risk factors for most chronic diseases by up to 80 per cent.
- Obesity rates in children have almost tripled in the last 25 years.
- In British Columbia, 51,000 children (seven per cent) aged 2-17 years were classified as obese About 2,000 British Columbians die prematurely every year due to obesity-related illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
- 138,500 (20 per cent) as overweight.
Healthy Living Activities at Global
To embrace healthy lifestyle choices, staff at Global participate in a variety of healthy activities. One such activity was our 90-day fitness challenge led by Innovative Fitness. Read more on the challenge here: IF Challenge.
Members of our staff also recently participated in the Walk to Fight Arthritis.
Many of our staff are also are avid bikers and brave temperamental Vancouver weather on two wheels. But it’s not just biking. You may even see Global staff members kayaking down rivers, surfing the ocean, playing squash, skiing, snowboarding, running, rock climbing, …the list could go on, but you get the idea.
With the help of Global, each of us in our own way has embraced a work/life balance that allows us to shine in all that we do.
For resources to support healthy eating, healthy lifestyles and healthy communities, visit: http://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca
During the last week of May, Global staff participated in Metro Vancouver’s Bike to Work Week. Bike to Work Week which is a twice annual event, encourages avid cyclists and new riders alike to sign up, log their communities, win prizes, and be part of making Metro Vancouver a better place to live. Improving air quality, reducing road congestion, improving personal health and connecting with their communities are a few of the benefits realized by Bike to Work participants.
This spring’s Bike to Work Week had approximately 4,500 participants, who biked a total of 320,435 logged kilometres! The three person Global bike team rode a total of 300km throughout the week.
Aside from the environmental benefits of biking instead of driving, cycling is great for your health! The heart is one of the most important organs for a healthy life but can suffer from an inactive lifestyle. Cycling is ideal for training the heart to be stronger which results in less stress on the heart. All the risk factors that lead to a heart attack are reduced, and regular cycling decreases the likelihood of heart attack by more than 50%. In addition, moderate cycling can prevent, or at least reduce, high blood pressure and help avoid stroke or damage to your organs.
One of Global`s Values is Social Responsibility. Bike to Work Week is a great example of how this value goes beyond Global`s bottom line and extends into promoting and encouraging practices that are socially responsible and environmentally sustainable. Global has provided its employees with the facilities and amenities to bike to work and, in turn, directly impacts the amount of greenhouse gasses and other emissions that could be potentially put into the air by driving to work.
Even though Bike to Work Week is over, our staff will continue to bike to work, rain or shine, and we encourage everyone to get out for a cycle!
Bike Route Map of Metro Vancouver
ICBC Bike tips – http://www.icbc.com/news/2011may26-04
HUB – http://www.bikehub.ca
In the 1970’s, Nobel Prize winning economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus set out to find a way to provide bank loans to those entrepreneurs who were “too poor” for traditional bank loans.
During visits to the poorest households in the village of Jobra near Chittagong University, Bangladesh, Yunus discovered through his own lending, even very small loans could make a disproportionate difference to a poor person – and so microlending was born.
Microlending, in a nutshell, is the lending of very small amounts. These loans on their own do not amount to much, but when combined with many lenders, they make a huge impact. For example, fifty people can each lend $50.00 to finance a much larger $2500.00 loan.
Watch Dr. Muhammad Yunus explain what it means to microlend during a Rotary International speech:
“Money goes, but it never comes back,” says Yunus when comparing philanthropy to microlending; providing a great example of how microlending is more sustainable than its philanthropic counterpart.
Why are we interested in the concept of microlending? It allows our team at Global Medical Services to do so much more with less!
In September last year, Global jumped into the fast moving river of microlending through Kiva.org. We saw an opportunity to give even more to those who are less fortunate.
Instead of sending a one-time donation to an individual in need, we are able to send out many loans using the same initial funds. When one loan begins to be repaid, we finance another.
To get the whole team involved, each month, one of our staff members is chosen to pick the next loan of his/her choice.
So far, microlending through Kiva has allowed us to help eight individuals around the world, from Peru to Rwanda.
Take a look at our Kiva Portfolio for a detailed view of our microlending activity:
Recently, our president and founder at Global Medical Services, Dr. Allan Holmes, gave a speech at the Fraser Health Quarterly Business Meeting.
Led by Dr. Nigel Murray (Fraser Health’s CEO), the meeting brought together more than 250 managers, directors, executive directors, physicians and other senior executives.
What was their agenda? – Introduce enhanced health through a new preventative health approach.
Preventative Health is a key priority for Fraser Health and the BC Ministry of Health. Together, their goal is to establish a foundation of involvement through community partners to spearhead preventative health measures.
“Our health promotion and prevention services are provided by a team of professionals committed to the health and well-being of communities throughout Fraser Health.
Among them are public health nurses, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, community nutritionists, tobacco reduction coordinators, dental hygienists and others who provide community based services with a population health focus.
These services focus on health screening, health assessment, referral, early treatment, and building public health capacity through community development and strategic partnering.” – Fraser Health
How is Global involed? Dr. Holmes and his team have been working with community partners to embrace a proactive health approach that lines with Fraser Health’s vision, “everyone a champion for better health.”
The HomeSafe Program is the creation of the Surrey Fire Service. It was developed by Fire Service members who provided suggestions and recommendations to reduce the number of private dwelling fires in the City of Surrey, as well as other ways to mitigate health risks.
The four key areas HomeSafe focuses on are:
- Free Home Safety Inspections
- Fire-Setter Intervention Program
- Child/Seniors Welfare and Human Trafficking Training
- Fire Prevention Week / Public Displays
Each section deals with many unique social, demographic and awareness issues. For example, senior welfare can involve identifying indicators of abuse or neglect.
View the HomeSafe Brochure:
Fall prevention is also a key element in the HomeSafe program. Falls are by far the leading cause of seniors’ injuries and injury-related hospitalization in Canada. Falls cause pain and, for many, lead to a move from home to a care establishment. They often cost seniors their independence and quality of life as well as represent a huge cost to our health system. However, most falls incurred by seniors are preventable.
With Surrey Fire, Global has identified many recommendations for reducing fall related injuries among seniors.
A prevention strategy could include:
- Minimizing changes in surface types
- Securing rugs with non-skid tape as well as carpet edges and avoid throw rugs
- Removing oversized furniture and objects
- Placing phone extensions on each level of the home with emergency numbers posed
- Adding electrical outlets to avoid overloading breakers and tripping on extension cords
Prevention strategies such as HomeSafe are key for communities seeking to reduce health incidents, which otherwise, could have been avoided through proactive measures.
“Bringing this all together into a comprehensive program like this will undoubtedly create greater fire-awareness and modify current behaviours to encourage personal safety for young and old,” said Surrey Mayor, Dianne Watts.