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

It has been a busy couple of months since my last community update and I wanted to highlight some of the exciting initiatives that our Hospital has been taking part in and what is coming up next.

In February, Wake the Giant, in partnership with our Hospital and St. Joseph’s Care Group (SJCG), introduced the Wake the Giant Indigenous Culture and Inclusivity Training. We are honoured to be a part of the inaugural cohort for this online course that teaches participants about history of Indigenous Peoples and anti-Indigenous racism strategies. As identified in our Strategic Plan 2026, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is a priority for our organization, and this training is part of fostering a culturally safe space for Indigenous Peoples accessing care at our Hospital. In line with this goal, we were pleased that through the Indigenous Health Education Committee, Nurturing the Fire for Truth & Reconciliation within Health Care, provided an additional opportunity to prepare our staff to administer culturally safe care.

Our Hospital together with the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation continue to progress with two projects that will change the way we receive care here at our Hospital. As reported on previously, the Emergency Department is undergoing some significant renovations that will modernize the way care is provided and improve the patient and staff experience. As well, the Cardiovascular Surgery Program project is progressing and we have moved on to the next stage where detailed plans will be presented to the Ministry. The next stage of this project will bring us closer to our mission of being responsive to the needs of population in Northwestern Ontario.

Employee Recognition Week was celebrated throughout the week of February 26 to March 3. This important activity provides us an opportunity to highlight and celebrate our Hospital and Health Research Institute. We are appreciative to all those whose dedication and incredible service make a difference in the lives of our patients and families. This time of recognition aligns with our strategic priority of Staff Experience, by celebrating the work that our employees and volunteers are doing every day. Through small expressions of kindness, we acknowledge and celebrate that our team’s commitment to exceptional patient care is remarkable and truly valued.

Continuing in the vein of recognition, April 16 to 22 is National Volunteer Week, where we take the opportunity to reflect on the generosity of the many individuals who volunteer their time, skills, and energy to make this community better. Earlier this year, the Ontario government recognized nine of our Hospital’s volunteers; six received the Ontario Volunteer Service Award and three received the Ontario Volunteer Service Youth Award. Thank you to all of the Hospital’s volunteers, Patient Family Advisors and Foundation volunteers for your generosity and support to patients and staff. You contribute immensely to patient and family centred care here at our Hospital. Also, I would like to take the opportunity to show my appreciation for the volunteer members of the Board of Directors. Thank you for dedicating your time and talent to guide the Hospital’s priorities. Collectively, we are improving the lives of Northwestern Ontario’s residents.

Coming up in May, our Hospital and Health Research Institute will have a joint Board meeting to review and approve the inaugural report to the community for Strategic Plan 2026. Also coming up in May, the Board of Directors from our Hospital, Health Research Institute and Health Sciences Foundation will participate in a tri-board retreat for the first time since prior to the pandemic. Our three organizations are engaged in a common purpose – to provide quality care and experiences for patients and their families. At this retreat, we will cultivate collaboration, innovation, and commitment between our three Boards as we discuss opportunities to progress together towards our goal of improving health care for the people of Northwestern Ontario.