Campbell River physician wins health leadership award

CAMPBELL RIVER – Emergency Room physician Dr. Jeffrey Beselt is being nationally recognized for his inspirational leadership and commitment to culturally inclusive health care.

The Canadian College of Health Leaders (CCHL) has named Dr. Beselt as the 2018 recipient of its Celebrating the Human Spirit Award. This award recognizes and honours the meaningful contributions of individuals or teams, who provide health services, for acts of caring and compassion that go above and beyond the call of duty, which inspire others and have a profound and lasting impact.

Catherine Mackay, Island Health Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, nominated Beselt for this national honour. Her nomination highlighted his key role in the opening of the North Island Hospital and his work with First Nations in the North Island and in the communities of Kwadacha and Tsay Keh Dene in northern BC.

“Jeff’s compassion, humility and values-based leadership has created lasting change,” wrote Mackay. “He is a role model and inspires those who work alongside him.”
In his former roles as Medical Project Director for the North Island Hospital Project and as Executive Medical Director for Island Health Geography 1, Dr. Beselt led by supporting and encouraging others to succeed. The College’s official announcement about the award notes, “As Executive Medical Director for North Vancouver Island, Dr. Beselt’s vision of a welcoming and culturally safe environment for Indigenous people was foundational to the design of two new hospitals opened in 2017 in Comox Valley and Campbell River.”

Working with local Chiefs and Councils, Jeff supported creation of an Indigenous Working Group (AWG) to provide input on hospital design and signage, customizing both sites to local First Nations traditions. His AWG approach is being adopted as a standard by the provincial government and will be incorporated into the design process for the new St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

“Dr. Jeff Beselt was intent on including First Nations Peoples from the very first concept of a new hospital in the Comox Valley,” K’όmoks First Nation Elder Barbara Whyte said in support of the nomination. “He spearheaded the inclusion of our people, our culture, and our medicine into the building of the new hospital, and I am very grateful to him for making it all possible. He truly is a celebration of the human spirit.”

“Jeff eagerly and eloquently ensured there is a culturally safe environment at both Comox Valley and Campbell River hospitals,” Kwakiutl District Council Health Director Kim Roberts said. “With the help of Jeff, our hospitals have seen changes at the ground level that have positive effects on all First Nations who walk into those hospitals.”

“The Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District (CSRHD) congratulates Dr. Beselt for winning the Human Spirit award,” states CRSHD Board Chair Charlie Cornfield. “Your hard work, dedication and attention to patients’ and staffs’ well-being is demonstrated within our new state-of-the-art facilities. From the traditional indigenous healing gardens to the wellness centres, you helped make these hospitals welcoming for all those whose visit.”

The Canadian College of Health Leaders will present the 2018 Celebrating the Human Spirit Award to Dr. Beselt at the Canadian College of Health Leaders’ Honouring Health Leadership event in St. John’s, Newfoundland on June 3, 2018. For more information about this award and the College’s National Awards Program please visit the College’s website at

Island Health, one of seven health jurisdictions in British Columbia, provides health care and support services to more than 765,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River.

With more than 20,000 staff, 1,900 physician partners, 6,000 volunteers, and the dedicated support of foundations and auxiliaries, Island Health delivers a broad range of health services, including: public health services, primary health care, home and community care, mental health and addictions services, acute care in hospitals, and much more across a huge, geographically diverse region.

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Adrienne Breen