Hospital Welcomes New Chief of Staff

Dr. Zaki Ahmed is Chief of Staff at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre recently welcomed a new Chief of Staff. Dr. Zaki Ahmed, MD, FRCPC, FCCP, CCPE, MHSc (Health Admin.) is a familiar and highly engaged leader at our Hospital. He has been Chief of the Department of Internal Medicine, Medical Director of the Chronic Diseases Program and Director of the Medical Emergency Team. He is also an Associate Professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

The Chief of Staff is the head of the medical staff (physicians). The position includes providing leadership and guidance to the medical staff and promoting effective communication between the medical staff, administration and Board of Directors.

Dr. Ahmed answered our questions about his new role.

Why did you decide to take on the Chief of Staff role?

I decided to apply for the Chief of Staff position to continue (former Chief of Staff) Dr. Gordon Porter’s work on improving quality of care at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre by standardization. I also want to start a Professional Staff engagement strategy in order to address physician burn-out. During my career, I have always advocated and actioned for Patient Safety. For example, while I was the Medical Lead of the Medical Emergency Team, we were able to reduce the mortality of patients to the lowest in the province.

What is your vision for the role?

My vision mirrors that of the Ministry of Health and Long term Care Ontario, which is the “Right Care at the Right Time in the Right Place”, but I would also like to add “by the Right Provider”. To advance that vision, addressing overcapacity in the hospital will remain my biggest priority. Together with my colleagues, I plan to enhance partnerships with our community providers as well as our rehabilitation facilities and long term care centres to enhance experiences, access, and safety for patients both in the inpatient wards as well as in the Emergency Department.

In addition, as Chief of Staff, I would like to continue enhancing patient safety by improving the Code Blue (cardiac arrest) policy and safety reporting.

What are you most proud of regarding physicians at our hospital?

I am extremely proud of the physicians and all staff who work tirelessly in an extremely overburdened health care system.

Dr. Ahmed grew up in Toronto. He completed his medical training in Internal Medicine, Respirology and Critical Care at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He came to Thunder Bay in 2007 to establish the educational program in the Intensive Care Unit at the Hospital. Since then, he has managed several leadership portfolios. Dr. Ahmed has helped raise over $50,000 for the Regional Food Distribution Authority(RFDA) in the last three years during the annual Give 30 campaign. His wife, Maheen Cassim, has her own independent dental hygiene practice and is the President-elect for the Ontario Dental Hygiene Association. They have two children, ages 9 and 12.