Farewell Message from Andrée Robichaud

Andree head shot

Over the years I have always struggled with how to say goodbye to my staff and colleagues. Saying goodbye is a very emotional thing for me and I do not do it very well. That is why I have asked for no farewell get together or tea to celebrate my departure. Some will be surprised to find out that my last day at work is today. Rouge Valley Health System has requested that I start as soon as possible and factoring in my vacation time, we are on my last day at work.

So here I am on my last day struggling to convey to all of you how you have made the last 5 years a great experience. Although there have been some difficult times and very difficult decisions to be made, I have never defined myself by the challenges I have faced. I define myself by the privilege I have had over the last 5 years to guide a group of individuals that clearly understands what their mission is; to provide a quality patient experience. In the last few months of my tenure as Acting President and CEO of TBRRI, the researchers and staff have shown me time and again how they understand and strive to ensure that our research is patient focused and that we have some of the finest researchers in Canada.

Although we will always have room for improvement, the compassion and care that you demonstrate every day to our patients is commendable and the time and effort you invest in ensuring that we serve the vulnerable is why I leave here humbled. I want to thank every one of you for the service you provide the patients of Northwestern Ontario and the leaders that you continue to be in Patient Family Centered Care and your dedication to our innovation and research agenda.

I also want to thank the medical staff for all their work and time they have put in to ensure that the system works for our patients. You have gone above and beyond the call of duty in supporting the hospital through overcapacity and many other challenges.

I also want to thank the volunteers and Patient Family Advisors that give countless hours and ask for nothing in return. I have learned so much from all of you and will bring my learnings to my new position. Your dedication has been an inspiration to me and many others. Walking in every morning and seeing all of you at work for the patient is a wonderful feeling.

To the leadership team, thank you for your support over the years and your true dedication to Patient Family Centered Care. During our leadership meetings we have had very good discussions and debate and I lost quite a few of those debates; however the patient has always been front and center.

To my systems partners, Northwest Local Health Integration Network (NW LHIN), St. Joseph’s Care Group (SJCG), North West Community Care Access Centre (NW CCAC), Superior North Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Northwest Community Center, Region Hospitals, Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC), FedNor, Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), Lakehead University, Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), City of Thunder Bay, Confederation College and community partners, thank you for your patience and understanding for being great partners and always trying to solve difficult issues.

To the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation (TBRHSF), thank you for all your hard work and support. You make it possible for our patients to have state-of-the-art equipment. To both the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) and Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute (TBRRI) Board of Directors, it has been a privilege to serve under your oversight and direction. The new President and CEO will be privileged to have a group of people that has a mission to provide a quality patient experience and quality research. To my Aboriginal and Francophone Advisory Councils, thank you for the counsel and guidance you have provided me over the years in helping define what a quality patient experience means for your cultures.

I do not usually like to name people but I would be remiss not to mention Ministers Gravelle and Mauro. These two individuals are great champions for TBRHSC and TBRRI and your support over the last 5 years has been incredible. NW Ontario is very lucky to have such great advocates.

Finally, thank you to the Thunder Bay community for opening your arms to my family 5 years ago. We have made great friends here, friendships that will last a lifetime. This community has built and supported this hospital in a way that has made my job very easy. Time and effort people have donated to participate in our engagement sessions have demonstrated time and again how much this community cares.

I leave you with this quote that has inspired me for many years: “The dynamic tension between daring and serving creates the conditions for superior performance.” Cheryl A. Bachelder, Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others.

Andrée Robichaud
President & CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
Acting CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute