BC Association of Community Response Networks

Volunteer of the Month: Aronjit Lageri, Director, Board Member


(Photo: A. Lageri)

BC CRN is governed by a Board of Directors, a team composed of volunteers from communities across the province.

Aronjit Lageri is one of the team’s newest directors, having started his term just last summer when the Board passed a motion that officially ushered him into the organization’s leadership. (“It all happened very quickly.”)

The original intent of the interview was to talk about the impacts of the atmospheric river that resulted in catastrophic flooding in southern BC and what communities are doing to support one another.[1] Throughout the conversation, Aronjit paid close attention to our questions, responding thoughtfully and easily. His casual and friendly demeanor puts people at ease immediately, and he openly welcomed all of our questions – about radiological sciences and health IT, his journey from India to Canada, family, culture, and community.

We are very pleased to be profiling Aronjit as our volunteer of the month. Thank you, Aronjit, for bringing your important perspective to BC CRN’s leadership and supporting communities in adult abuse, neglect, and self-neglect awareness and prevention!

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Aronjit has a few passions in life: his family, hockey, medical sciences, and teaching. When you think about it, there is one thing common to all of it – people.

Currently, he is an imaging informatics[2] coordinator with Fraser Health. Just prior to joining the health authority, Aronjit was the manager for the False Creek Surgical and Imaging Centre in Vancouver where he was responsible for recruiting and retaining new team members, radiation safety procedures, and informatics. There, he also acted as the accreditation liaison for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC Diagnostic Accreditation Process, or DAP.

(Accreditation is an independent evaluation process where healthcare facilities and their services are assessed against provincial standards of quality.)[3]

Shortages of health IT staff – radiologists, technicians, technologists, and the like – have compelled Aronjit to advocate for post-secondary students to join radiological science programs and consider professions in the discipline, something he has done for years.

(Photo: A. Lageri)

“It’s a very large area of study, and programs in radiological sciences are always evolving,” he says. “X-rays, ultrasound, CTs, MRIs, fluoroscopy, and nuclear medicine are all important tools for diagnostics. Medical imaging, treatments, and services are behind-the-scenes in health and many don’t see them right away.

“For students entering a radiological science profession, it’s also important they learn how to provide patient care in the right way in addition to the academic and technical parts. The connection to the person is equally important, maybe even more so.”

In his now 20-year career in medical imaging, Aronjit has also taught, mentored, and worked in health centres all over Canada and the US, including the William Osler Health Centre in Brampton, Ontario, and Lakehead Regional Centre in Michigan.

An extensive educational background forms the foundation for Aronjit’s vocation. His first degree was a Bachelor of Radiographic Techniques from the All India Institute of Medical Science out of the University of New Delhi in India, followed by a series of graduate certificates in health IT technologies and informatics from colleges and universities in the United States and Canada – Lake Michigan College in Michigan (2000/01); and the Michener Institute in Toronto, Ontario (2003/05). He then earned a Bachelor of Science in radiologic science in 2014 from AdventHealth University in Florida, and currently, he is working on a post-graduate certificate in long-term care administration and management out of St. Joseph’s College in Toronto.

He is also an honorary judge of the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists’ (CAMRT) annual professional awards in radiation sciences for 2021, and a member of the BC Association of Medical Radiation Technologists.

When asked why he chose to stay so involved in medical sciences, Aronjit says: “Health is one field that is universal: anyone can be impacted.”

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In the last year, Aronjit has been working closely with vulnerable populations out of Peace Arch Hospital located in South Surrey near White Rock, BC.

“Peace Arch Hospital, like many hospitals in the Fraser Health Authority region, is known as a community leader when it comes to seniors’ care. It’s certainly a passion for all of us,” he explains. “When we provide imaging services, we conscientiously do a little extra when people come in for their tests: we always welcome them warmly and greet everyone by name. We make time to socially chat. We provide warm blankets while they are receiving their tests. These little things go a long way. It’s all about the connection and not just about completing the test.”

(Photo: A. Lageri)

It was also in 2020 during his tenure as a board member with the Surrey Hospice Society when he met Jas Cheema, BC CRN’s Regional Mentor for Surrey, South Surrey, White Rock,

and Langley, who encouraged him to get involved with the network.

“I’ve always seen the work the community response networks (CRNs) do locally with seniors,” says Aronjit. “It’s a great amount of work. When I learned more about the BC CRN and what the organization does to further adult abuse, neglect, and self-neglect awareness and prevention, my eyes were opened to all the agencies that work with BC CRN and communities across the province. I had to join and get involved.”

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Aronjit and his family live in Panorama Ridge in Surrey.

“Surrey is a big multicultural city and this is our second time living here,” he says. “The first time was in 2004/2005 when I was working on MS[4] and ADHD[5] research projects at UBC, and the second time was in 2015 when we came back from Toronto. I guess the love of the land brought me back.”

His wife works with the Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre located in East Delta. The couple has three children, with the oldest now in university and the youngest finishing elementary school this year. The family enjoys bike riding together. “I always have a bike rack ready to go!” he says.

Community involvement is very important to Aronjit and his family, and much of it can be attributed to his Sikh faith and Indian heritage.

“The South Asian culture is geared to its elders, family, and serving all communities,” he explains. “We always work together to help South Asian newcomers, including seniors, assimilate to the communities they live in. In crisis, congregations mobilize, helping however they can. For example, the congregation from the Sikh temple in Burnaby, BC, have been preparing and donating hundreds of meals a day to people impacted by the recent floods in the Fraser Valley.”

In addition to staying involved with their local Sikh Gurudwara, Aronjit is actively involved in his children’s school district as a parent, even running for Surrey school trustee in 2018. He was also a member of the first City of Surrey Ethics Commissioner Selection Committee last year. The Ethics Commissioner is a neutral, independent officer who oversees the conduct of elected officials for the city.[6]

When he has a spare moment for himself, Aronjit likes to spend it on his favourite thing: watching hockey with his friends. “It’s a sport that runs the whole year,” he says. “I love the NHL and the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers are the teams I root for.”

When we asked why not the Toronto Maple Leafs, especially when he spent so much time there as a student, Aronjit very quietly says: “Whenever I watch, they never win. The Leafs always give me a sour feeling at the end.”

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[1] View Aronjit’s statement in this edition.

[2] Informatics is the science of how to use data, information, and knowledge to improve human health and the delivery of healthcare services. Health IT is an important component that supports health professionals in a healthcare system.

[3] Source: https://www.cpsbc.ca/accredited-facilities/dap

[4] Stands for Multiple Sclerosis.

[5] Stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

[6] Source: https://www.surrey.ca/city-government/mayor-council/surrey-ethics-commissioner-office

(Header Photo: A. Lageri)