Report from Matt Simeoni

Matt Simeoni, Chair, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre Board of Directors

On October 17, members of the Board of Directors gathered for a Strategic Planning Retreat.

The Board of Directors is responsible for governance, which includes approving strategy and the strategic plan. Board members are a valuable resource to the strategic planning process. They provide new and varying perspectives and ask questions to ensure the strategic plan is meaningful, realistic, and responsive to the needs of the community served. The Board is also accountable to ensure the strategic plan is well thought out, realistic and compatible with the organization’s Vision, Mission and Values. I am grateful to my colleagues on the Board of Directors for sharing their expertise, insights, and time at the retreat. We can all look forward to a new strategic plan that is focused on the overarching priorities that have the most significant impact on our Hospital, our patients and their families.

The week of October 14 was an exciting one for health care in our community. On the 16th, the Our Hearts at Home Cardiovascular Campaign was launched to raise the funds needed to bring both cardiac and vascular surgery home to Northwestern Ontario. It was an honour to be part of the campaign launch. Safe, quality patient care is very much front of mind for me and my colleagues who serve on the Board.

We all want to expand health care services to keep our loved ones close to home; this has already happened in the last 3 years with the development of vascular surgery. Now, we are very eager to complete the array of services with the provision of cardiac surgery at our Hospital. This will be life-changing for thousands of people in our community. On October 19, the Health Sciences Foundation hosted the Resolute Save a Heart Ball, presented by MNP. 450 guests attended in support of the Our Hearts at Home Cardiovascular Campaign, and raised an impressive $258,000. With that, $11.75 million has been raised to date, and we are well on our way to achieving the $14 million campaign target. My hat is off to the Health Sciences Foundation team for their extraordinary efforts and success.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I extend my sincere appreciation to all the volunteers who serve on the Health Sciences Foundation’s Campaign Cabinet and NextGen Cabinet. They have already dedicated an impressive amount of their time and energy into making this campaign successful so that we can take care of our hearts at home. I am thankful to everyone who has already made a donation to bring this life-saving surgery to our Hospital in partnership with the University Health Network’s Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, and to my fellow Board members for their involvement as donors and participants.

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute as the research arm of our Hospital, is integral to our growth as an academic health sciences centre; its mission is to lead to the health care solutions of tomorrow. The Health Research Institute also augments clinical trials at the Health Sciences Centre. Last month, a new affiliation agreement between the two organizations was drafted. The affiliation agreement sustains a collaborative relationship by defining the roles and responsibilities of each organization. I am thankful to Board Directors Andrew Dean, Pat Lang and Kathleen Lynch for engaging with me as well as Hospital and Health Research Institute staff to develop the agreement.

The importance of relationships is reflected in our Hospital’s Vision, Healthy Together. Partners are key to the Hospital’s operations, as evidenced by the commitment of the Health Sciences Foundation to enhance care, and the essential activities of the Health Research Institute. Together, the three organizations enable, deliver and advance health care for the people of Northwestern Ontario. Later this year, the Boards of the Hospital, Health Research Institute and Health Sciences Foundation will gather for a Tri-Board Retreat to foster ongoing collaboration on common priorities. I look forward to sharing a productive day with members of all Board of Directors at the upcoming retreat.

Finally, I take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts and dedication of the Resource Planning Committee, chaired by Board Treasurer John Friday. This Committee and the Board exercise their fiduciary responsibility by ensuring that hospital administration collaborates with the appropriate Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care officials to ensure the successful delivery of safe quality care to our patients, in a fiscally responsible manner. This role is complex and especially pertinent as the Health Sciences Centre moves forward with new initiatives such as the Cardiovascular Surgery program, as well as major capital replacements and ongoing operational efficiencies.