Family nurse practitioner Sandi Lachapelle

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

The wind has been gusting Friday, March 5 in Williams Lake with the risk of a thunderstorm in the forecast for later in the afternoon. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
More than 500 customers in Cariboo without power, risk of thunderstorm Friday afternoon

The BC Hydro map is adding more power outages as the afternoon unfolds

The two suspects arrested south of 150 Mile House Tuesday, March 2, following a high-speed chase with the RCMP have been charged. (Will Roberts photo)
High-speed chase suspects charged, remain in custody after arrest south of Williams Lake

John Craig and Maggie M. Higgott appeared in Williams Lake Provincial Court March 4

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Many members of the Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club (pictured) have teamed up with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society to host a free ski in celebration of World Water Day. (Patrick Davies photo - Black Press Media)
Conservation society, cross country ski club, celebrate World Water Day with free ski March 6

The free ski will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 6 at Bull Mountain

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read