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Bowen Island Community Health Centre to open in temporary location

Updated: October 19th, 2023

Due to ongoing third party, supply and construction delays postponing the opening of the Bowen Island Community Health Centre in its new permanent location on Miller Road, the BICHC will begin operating in a temporary location in Dr. Susanne Schloegl’s former practice location at Artisan Square effective October 23, 2023.

Dr. Schloegl and Dr. Matt Blackwood — both of whom have joined the BICHC team — will see current patients as usual at Artisan Square and continue to see those patients at the new facility when it opens. Effective October 23, they will be joined at Artisan Square by Dr. Lindsay Downey and Nurse Practitioner Laura Fitzgerald. Islanders who have signed up with GP Link will be contacted by BICHC staff in the coming days and weeks as the team begins to build out their patient lists.

“This isn’t our first choice,” says BICHC Executive Director Suzanne Saatchi. “But we have a team of practitioners in place and a list of patients looking to access care on the island, so we needed to find a creative solution to get things rolling.”

Funding for BICHC operations and the contracting of health practitioners is not directly linked to the building of the facility. So, when Dr. Schloegl’s Artisan Square lease was coming due on October 31 in anticipation of her practice’s move to the new health centre, the BICHC Board took over a temporary lease in that location to ensure the continuity of care for residents.

Saatchi says the temporary location means not only uninterrupted access to primary care on Bowen, but also increased access to care thanks to the expanding BICHC team.

Currently, there remains no firm official opening date for the new BICHC facility on Miller Road. 

Recent Updates

Dr. Stephanie Shorter to join BICHC as part of primary care team

Some hugely exciting news from the Bowen Island Community Health Centre!

We are pleased to announce that Bowen Island resident Dr. Stephanie Shorter, who has been part of the Docs on the Bay practice in Horseshoe Bay, will be joining us at the BICHC in January 2024. Shorter joins Drs. Susanne Schloegl, Matt Blackwood, Lindsay Downey and Nurse Practitioner Laura Fitzgerald as part of our primary care team. Dr. Shorter’s current Bowen-based patients can follow her to the BICHC, but that can’t happen by contacting the BICHC or a member of Foundation Board. Here are the steps:

  • Go to GP LInk
  • On GP LInk, you can indicate the reason you are looking for a doctor. Tell GP Link that you are searching because yours is leaving her current practice
  • Indicate that your current doctor is Dr. Shorter. That information will then be shared with the BICHC team
  • Dr. Shorter will then give priority to her current Bowen patients on the GPLlink wait list in order to ensure they can get continuity in care

Welcome Stephanie to the BICHC team!

Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation receives final government funding; announces Primary Care Team and first tenants

(photo): Laura Fitzgerald (L) and Lindsay Downey will be joining the BICHC and expanding access to primary care on Bowen.

The Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation (BIHCF), the owners and operators of the Bowen Island Community Health Centre, has received the operational funding and approvals it needs from the BC Ministry of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health to allow the Foundation to move into operations mode — a critical step in fulfilling their promise to bring health care close to home on Bowen Island.

While funding and approvals were not in question, the funding letter and operational approval was needed to allow the Foundation to enter into contracts with health care professionals and leases with other tenants in the building. A firm opening date will be announced once the operational plan develops further and construction is completed.

“This is the final stamp of approval we needed to get on with the business of delivering primary care and other health care services on Bowen,” says BIHCF Chair Tim Rhodes. “It is a momentous day for the community, for patients, for our volunteer board and everyone who has supported our vision of putting community health care in community hands.”

It also means BIHCF can announce the names of the primary health care team that will substantially expand access to health care and related services on the island.

  • Dr. Susanne Schloegl and Dr. Matt Blackwood will move their practices to the BICHC. Dr. Schloegl and Dr. Blackwood have been instrumental in helping to advance the BICHC and develop the model for community health care delivery on Bowen. Dr. Blackwood will also serve as Medical Director.
  • Laura Fitzgerald, MN-NP (F), Nurse Practitioner, will launch a new practice at the Health Centre. Nurse Practitioners are playing an increasingly important role in primary care deliver in B.C. and we are thrilled to have Laura on board. More details about Laura and her scope of services to come.
  • Dr. Lindsay Downey has moved with her family from Ontario to live on Bowen and join the BICHC. She has practiced as a Family Physician for the past 14 years.
  • An additional Family Physician will join the BICHC in January 2024 and we will announce the appointment as soon as we can.
  • Margit Brenner will be joining as the BICHC Office Manager and Senior Medical Office Assistant (MOA). She will be joined by Rita Dempsey, who many residents may know as Dr. Schloegl’s and Dr. Hurlburt’s former MOA, as part of our MOA administration team.
  • Colleen O’Neil will be continuing her support of the community as a Community Health Worker.

In addition, we are excited to announce the first tenants at the Bowen Island Community Health Centre:

  • The Bowen Island Dental Group will provide on-island access to a complete range of dental services. Three dentists will work from the new dental practice: Dr. Elysa Kliman, Dr. Peter Kearney and
    Dr. Clive Jones. More information about the Bowen Island Dental Group can be found at
  • A dedicated lab collection facility (to be named later).

Bowen Island Community Health Centre Executive Director Suzanne Saatchi was instrumental in securing the final agreement on behalf of the Foundation. She says the agreement means the team can turn their attention from construction to operations and informing people about what they can expect when the doors to the Health Centre open.

“Our vision has been to create an integrated and multi-disciplinary health centre on the Island, and we are poised to do just that,” she says.

What Bowen Islanders need to know:

  1. Our official name is: The Bowen Island Community Health Centre (
  2. If you are interested in becoming a patient of a Family Physician or Nurse Practitioner at the Bowen Island Community Health Centre and don’t currently have a doctor, here are the steps:

    – Visit GP Link at:
    – Register your name and/or other members of your family
    – Be sure to indicate Bowen Island as your desired location
    – If you are currently a patient of Dr. Schloegl or Dr. Blackwood there is no need to do anything. They will continue to treat you through their practices at the BICHC.

    If you currently have a primary care provider off Bowen Island but would like to see a member of the Health Centre primary care team closer to home on Bowen, please register at GP Link.

    GP Link is a website organized by the North Shore Division of Family Practice and has been the longstanding patient queue for the North Shore region to find a FP or NP. You cannot get on a list by contacting the Health Centre or the Foundation.

3. The Bowen Island Community Health Centre will not provide emergency service or response. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.

4. The Bowen Island Community Health Centre is not a walk-in clinic. While there will be some hours dedicated each day to walk-in patients, priority will be given to patients who are attached to one of the Family Physicians or Nurse Practitioners. The best way to receive on-island care is to go to GP Link and register to be attached to one of our primary care providers.

5. The Bowen Island Community Health Centre was built as a result of more than $8M in private donations (with an additional $1M provincial government grant) from more than 550 Bowen Island families and supporters. Annual operational funding will come from the provincial government.

Need a Doctor or Nurse Practitioner? Here’s how to get on the list.

As construction continues to progress and with opening scheduled in Fall 2023, the Bowen Island Community Health Centre is now encouraging people to take steps to indicate their interest in joining the practices of the Family Physicians and Nurse Practitioners who will operate at the BICHC. While we can’t yet say who the health professionals are (we are still in the recruiting process and finalizing agreements with the Ministry of Health) you can be placed on a list to be considered once space opens up.

If you are interested in becoming a patient of a Family Physician or Nurse Practitioner at the Health Centre, here at the steps

• Visit GP Link at: :

• Register your name and/or other members of your family

• Be sure to indicate Bowen Island as your desired location

BC Association of Community Health Centres shares Bowen’s journey

Since we began our journey to build the Bowen Island Community Health Centre, we have been guided by the idea of creating “community health care, in community hands”. That led us to develop our primary care facility based on the provincial Community Health Centre Model. Our journey was captured by the BC Association of Community Health Centres in their latest Blog post. Please take a few minutes to learn more.

UBC 2nd Year Residents visit BICHC

Bowen Island Community Health Centre hosted 2nd year UBC Coastal Family Physician Residents on Feb 16, 2023. The day included a tour of the health centre and a discussion, led by Bowen’s own Dr. Matt Blackwood, on the future of primary care and how the community health centre model solves many of the challenges in our system today. All part of recruiting and spreading the word among potential physicians for Bowen.

Bringing the community up-to-date

If you’ve been by Miller Road, you have seen the progress on the new health centre. The Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation has been busy working to advance other parts of the project. Please read our latest update on Facebook.

VCH public health team visits to track progress and look for opportunities

The VCH Public Health team, including their new medical health officer, Dr. Alex Choi, toured the Bowen Island Community Health Centre recently to discuss how the centre might be used by their outreach teams — things like health education, immunizations and children’s speech language therapy. More news to follow once final programming decisions are made but an exciting time to be thinking about what might be possible here on Bowen.

Bowen Community Health Centre busy building and recruiting

The Health Centre’s recruitment push is aiming for family practitioners to fill the space

BC Government announces incentives to support new family physicians

Additional funding will help BICHC recruiting efforts

As we actively recruit new family physicians and health care professionals to the Bowen Island Community Health Centre, the BC Government has announced new funding incentives to recent family medicine graduates. Details of the announcement can be found here: