Family nurse practitioner Sandi Lachapelle

TRU North to open public health clinic

Thompson Rivers University (TRU) North and Interior Health are opening the first health center of its kind in B.C., in Williams Lake.

  • Sep. 19, 2013 6:00 a.m.

Angie Mindus

Staff Writer

It’s official.

Thompson Rivers University (TRU) North and Interior Health are opening the first health center of its kind in B.C., right here in Williams Lake, where students and the general public can access a full-time family nurse practitioner for many of their health care needs.

For the women who helped make the clinic possible, it’s a dream come true. For the community, it will mean greater access to the health care system and possibly less time waiting for help at the ER.

“We are very excited about this,” says Rhonda McCreight, nursing program coordinator at TRU.

“There is no other university setting with this type of clinic in the province, maybe even the country.

“It’s really just a perfect fit because (at TRU North) we need healthcare, we need to learn about healthcare and we need to teach it.”

The TRU Health Center, which is expected to open to by mid-October, will see the university offer the clinic space, equipment and a medical office assistant while Interior Health will be footing the bill for the clinic’s full-time family nurse practitioner, Sandi Lachapelle.

Lachapelle, who was raised in Williams Lake and is now raising a family here herself, says she’s thrilled with the new position and is looking forward to offering more services for the community, including wellness clinics for women (to encourage paps and breast exams), medically supervised weight loss programs and a drop-in sexual health clinic, something she says has been lacking in Williams Lake.

“Williams Lake is one of the only communities in B.C. to be without a sexual health clinic,” Lachapelle says, noting Williams Lake has high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which can cause permanent damage if left untreated, as well as teen pregnancies.

“It’s a need in this community.”

The sexual health clinic will provide STI testing, contraception counseling and prescribing as well as pregnancy testing and parental counseling.

At the health clinic, Lachapelle will also be able to diagnose and treat acute health conditions, order lab, x-ray and CT scans, prescribe medications and manage, monitor and review chronic health conditions and refer patients to specialists.

Lachapelle will also be able to see people with acute minor injuries such as cuts needing stitches and minor illness such as a sore throat or ear infection.

She says her goal is to work collaboratively with the entire medical community for everyone’s benefit, including seeing patients who don’t have access to a family physician, which will hopefully reduce pressures felt at the ER.

She says Dr. Mark Gracia and Dr. Stefan deSwardt have stepped forward to support the clinic, and help Lachapelle when she has questions.

“They are my go-to people, my medical mentors. They are very supportive of me and my work, maybe they see the possibilities too.”

Clinic hours will be Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Donations for the new clinic are being grateful accepted by TRU North.

For more information, contact Rhonda McCreight at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Locals aim to establish British Columbia Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Cariboo table

An information pint night is being held in 100 Mile House on Feb. 26

Thieves hit rural mailboxes near Williams Lake

Chimney Lake area residents will be forced to pick up mail in town for the next few months

OPINION: All eyes on B.C. to deal with protest crisis: MLA Barnett

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett airs frustrations over last week’s protests in Victoria, across they country

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Most Read