Nikki Cohen is the newest doctor at the Agassiz Community Health Centre. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Agassiz Community Health Centre welcomes its newest doctor

Nikki Cohen is one of three doctors practicing at the local health clinic

The Agassiz Community Health Centre welcomed its newest doctor to the community last month.

Nikki Cohen, 34, came to Canada after working as a family doctor in South Africa for seven years. She came to Canada with her husband, an anesthetist now working in Abbotsford, and has been practicing in Agassiz since the middle of March.

“We wanted to come to a country that was safe with a better future,” she said.

“So we were looking at a few places and this was the most beautiful,” she added. “It worked out for us, because we needed a rural place and a bigger place … so it had the best of both for us.”

Because Cohen is an international doctor, she’s required to spend at least three years working in a rural community. In British Columbia, rural communities face significant challenges when it comes to health, particularly in getting access to doctors and services.

RELATED: Agassiz Community Health Centre to offer walk-in appointments

“I obviously come from the third world, so I think the resources are amazing,” Cohen said, “but obviously, relatively, there are challenges for people.”

For Agassiz, like other rural communities, the main challenge is access, Cohen said.

“They’re trying to improve that by having us come and help,” she said. “Sometimes it’s a wait to get certain tests, scans, specialist bookings.”

Cohen is still accepting new patients; the ones she has are either new to the community, haven’t had a doctor in a long time, or had a doctor who left or retired.

RELATED: Relationships, continuity top health-care concerns for Agassiz residents

“I haven’t been seeing too many people because of the high turnover,” she said, referencing the number of doctors that have come into and left the community over the years. “I think people who are worried about the high turnover have found doctors in Chilliwack and don’t want to leave them for now.”

And as for Cohen’s future plans?

“I’m here for at least three years, if everything goes well, longer,” she said. “You can never promise I’m going to say I’m going to be here for the rest of my life, because I don’t know that. But I’m not going back to South Africa.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

District residents split on Teacup property development

DOK survey indicates a close split in favour and against exclusion application

Chilliwack youth planning solidarity march against racism

Organizer hoping to ‘create a type of a energy in the city that we will not be silent about racism’

PHOTOS: Harrison Hot Springs Resort reopens

Reopening both celebrated and sombre as Harrison opens up again

Fraser River freshet peak is coming soon

Predictions for 2020 by River Forecast Centre has the freshet peak at the Mission gauge for June 4-5

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Bandits super fan celebrates 100th birthday

Abbotsford resident Gladys Sautter surprised by Bandits representatives on big day

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Most Read