Report from Gord Wickham

Gord Wickham, Chair, Board of Directors, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

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

We are nearly halfway through 2024, and summer is just around the corner. It is a time to enjoy the beauty of Northwestern Ontario with our friends and family. For me, and my fellow Board members, it is also an opportunity to reflect on the great work and new initiatives that continue to take place at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC).

As we close off the second year of our Strategic Plan 2026, I want to highlight the strategic priority of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). The EDI pillar is significant for ensuring the best possible health care experience for patients and families across Northwestern Ontario. To sustain and build on the work to date, we are reinforcing our dedication to EDI and actively working to cultivate a culturally sensitive environment for all patients, families, and staff. Our efforts include making cultural safety and equity, diversity, and inclusion training a requirement for all staff members. Embedding this education will enable our staff to recognize and address racism and actively participate in anti-racism efforts.

We remain committed to acknowledging and honouring the strength of Indigenous Peoples and communities. To this end, we are providing our staff with opportunities to deepen their understanding of Indigenous history, culture, and traditions. Providing these options to expand the knowledge of Indigenous Peoples will support our journey toward truth and reconciliation. By implementing these initiatives, we are working to foster a more inclusive and positive experience for patients, families, and staff. TBRHSC is committed to creating an environment that provides care where every individual is
treated with kindness, respect, and understanding.

Last month, we celebrated National Nursing Week (May 6-10). Nurses make up the largest group of employees at our Hospital. National Nursing Week provides an opportunity to recognize their clinical excellence, versatility, and ability to care for patients with compassion and professionalism. Indigenous Nurses Day also took place on May 6. Indigenous nurses play a vital role in the health care system, providing culturally relevant care, while raising awareness and promoting wellness and healing for Indigenous communities. We acknowledge the dedication and achievements of nursing professionals and recognize that nurses are a key factor in patient care. TBRHSC nurses work tirelessly, and we appreciate their expertise and commitment. A big thank you goes out to all nurses for their incredible contributions to providing exceptional care to the people of Thunder Bay and those across Northwestern Ontario who visit our Hospital.

TBRHSC is dedicated to making the Hospital environment more accessible for patients, families, volunteers, and staff. Last month, we reached out to the community and stakeholders to help us develop our revised multi-year Accessibility Plan. By updating our Accessibility Plan, TBRHSC will continue to identify, remove, and prevent any accessibility barriers to care, services, work, and learning. We highly value the input we received and believe that this perspective is crucial in making the most meaningful and impactful changes. Thank you to all members of the community who took the time to provide their input and we look forward to sharing the updated Plan with you in the Fall.

Before I sign-off for this Board year, I would like to thank my fellow Board members for their continued commitment. We would not be able to do this work without your guidance, dedication, and passion for serving the patients and families in our region.

As well, I would like to acknowledge the contributions of Mr. John Hatton, a long time Board member who recently passed away. John’s input and expertise, as well as his perspective on system issues was key to so much of our work. John’s positive energy, guidance and friendship will be sincerely missed. He was a community leader and was active in so many vital community endeavours. We offer sincere condolences to his family and many friends.

I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer.