A Houston physician and medical professionals within the community figure prominently in health care awards announced last week.
Dr. Onuora Odoh was recognized in two categories and the community’s primary care team in one category in awards given by the Pacific Northwest Division of Family Practice which represents family physicians in Dease Lake, Haida Gwaii (Charlotte City and Masset), Houston, Kitimat, Gitlaxt’aamiks, Prince Rupert, Smithers, Stewart, and Terrace.
Odoh’s first award, the Pacific Northwest Spirit Award — Innovations in primary care relates to his work in reversing metabolic syndrome and Type II diabetes.
That work, through the CHANGE BC program in which Odoh is one of 11 participating physicians, focuses on exercise and diet for overall well-being and targets conditions that lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, while reducing the need for medication.
His second award, the Pacific Northwest Spirit Award: Excellence in Research, recognized his contribution to CHANGE BC as well as his partnership with the University of British Columbia Faculty of Dentistry to focus on dental health of children through an oral health education project in which he visits local schools to speak about oral care.
This award also recognized his leadership through the Rural Coordination Centre of B.C. in taking the lead in grassroots work on malaria control in the rural community of Amechi Uwani in the Nigerian state of Enugu.
“Malaria is one of the most challenging public health problems in the world. It affects about half of the world’s population (3.3 billion people) with 90 per cent and 92 per cent of the cases and deaths, respectively occurring in Africa,” noted Pacific Northwest Division of Family Practice executive director Colleen Enns.
“Nigeria has the highest prevalence of malaria cases and death in the world with about 100 per cent of the population at risk. About 81 per cent of malaria-related deaths occur in under five years old children and pregnant women.”
“The research led by Dr. Odoh aims at controlling malaria disease in these two most vulnerable population groups,” she said.
The third Houston award, the Pacific Northwest Spirit Award: Excellence in Partnership, went to the Houston Primary Care Team, a gathering of medical professionals working out of the Houston Health Centre.
“This team works together deliver a very wide range of health services from long-term care, an adult day program, home support, community-based mental health and substance use services, primary care, and urgent care – to name a few,” said Enns of nurses, nurse practitioners and other health care professionals. The team includes Odoh.
Collectively, the awards presented annually in the northwest “recognize the dedication, passion, talent, and tireless effort of those working to provide significant contributions to meaningful healthcare initiatives in the north,” indicates the Pacific Division of Northwest Family Practice website.
They take their name from the region’s Kermode bear, commonly called the Spirit Bear.