Approximately 60 concerned citizens gathered at the municipal building in Embrun on Mon., Oct. 30 to discuss what they can do to facilitate the process of bringing new doctors to the area. From left: Pharmacist Rethish Idicherias, owner, Embrun IDA Pharmacy, retired general practioner, Dr. Danielle De Banné and Mayor Pierre Leroux.  Tinkess Photo

RUSSELL – Like many communities across Canada, Russell Township is enduring a shortage of doctors. And like many others, they are strategizing over how they can rectify the situation.

Earlier this year, the Economic Development Department, in collaboration with Memory Tree, embarked on an innovative initiative to help address the pressing issue of physician shortages in the area.

The joint effort aims to attract new healthcare professionals to our area by showcasing its healthcare facilities and the growing needs of the population through a compelling video presentation. You can view the video at

One notable event in this effort was the participation at the Department of Family Medicine Job Fair at the University of Ottawa on Oct. 27. This event brought together various communities, healthcare organizations, and aspiring medical professionals. It was a unique opportunity for recruiters to engage with first- and second-year residents as they plan their future medical practices. Mayor Pierre Leroux, Dr. Danielle De Banné and Dr. Lachance had the pleasure of connecting with aspiring medical professionals to showcase the opportunities awaiting them in Russell Township.

On Mon., Oct. 30, Mayor Pierre Leroux and Dr. Danielle De Banné, a prominent figure in the local medical community, hosted a Community Open House on Physician Shortages at the municipal building in Embrun. The primary focus of this event was to foster a dialogue that could lead to the formation of a community committee dedicated to tackling the issue of physician shortages. The support of the community is crucial in addressing this pressing concern. The evening was a resounding success. The community came out ready to share ideas and get involved and with over 60 people present, 16 have chosen to be part of a committee to continue this important work.

Mayor Leroux, in kicking off the meeting, acknowledged that healthcare is not typically something that is handled at the municipal level. “I’ll start off by saying that traditionally, healthcare is not a municipal responsibility. It’s really much of provincial responsibility. But as we’ve seen in the last few years, with limited resources and situations, we’ve seen at the municipal level, since we’re the level closest to citizens, citizens just want to problem fixed, and they don’t care which level is going to fix it. We’ve been getting that.”

Dr. De Banné explained how they had advertised in an effort to recruit doctors, but hadn’t had much interest, and in fact had only one person respond and he lived in the UK. Dr. De Banné, however, contacted him and eventually he came to visit and was so impressed that he will be relocating his practice to Russell.

The turning point was when they realized what the doctor was looking for. They had been pushing the quality of life in a small community, but the doctor’s wife preferred a big city. They readjusted their pitch to highlight the National Capital Region, and the rest, as they say, is history, or at least it soon will be once the paperwork is wrapped up.

It was a productive meeting with lots of ideas tossed around and at the end of the evening 16 people had joined the committee and were ready to get down to work.

“As the Mayor of Russell Township, I’m both humbled and inspired by the community’s proactive response to our healthcare challenges,” said Mayor Leroux. “This initiative isn’t just about filling vacancies; it’s about building a sustainable healthcare system that serves the needs of our growing, bilingual community. We’re not just recruiting doctors; we’re inviting them to become part of our vibrant community. Together, we’re not just solving a problem; we’re creating a legacy of community-driven healthcare for generations to come.”