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

I would like to begin my Board Chair report by acknowledging all the frontline staff, physicians, volunteers and senior leadership who had a very busy summer at TBRHSC while many of us enjoyed time with friends and family. Patient volumes at the Hospital were busy and that kept teams working hard around the clock.

On the positive side, throughout the summer, we were able to keep our momentum with the ongoing planning and steps being taken to bring access to high quality cardiovascular care closer to home. The Cardiovascular Surgery Project continues to achieve project milestones and if all goes according to plan we can anticipate construction to begin in late Fall/Winter of 2024. We are so happy with all the community support and excited to have this partnership between our Hospital and Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at University Health Network.

Leading up to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th, our Hospital’s Indigenous Collaboration, Equity and Inclusion portfolio organized various events to honour the survivors and recognize the importance of Truth and Reconciliation. Events for staff included beading, drumming, and educational opportunities, with an Indigenous Craft and Food Vendor Market open for staff and the public. As part of our commitment to truth and reconciliation, and the seven calls to action under health, we are continually working towards creating an environment of inclusion, equity and compassion at our Hospital.

I am also delighted to welcome both new and returning faces to our Board of Directors. Before the summer break, our Hospital celebrated another year of success at the Annual Meeting of the Corporation on June 22nd. Joining the Board as new Directors are Charles Campbell, Kimberly Ferris, Michael Pelletier and James Peotto. Returning to the Board of Directors for three-year terms are myself, Dr. Andrew Dean, Pat Lang and Joy Wakefield. Continuing their terms of office on the Board are Christine Bates, Douglas Judson, Matt Simeoni and John Hatton. Four Directors have ended their roles and were recognized for their service on the Board: John Friday, Glen Currie, Monique Rocheleau, and Dr. Pamela Wakewich. Thank you all again for your dedication to the role and for advancing health care in our region.

Returning as Standing Committee Community Members are Pauline Mickelson with the Patient Safety and Quality of Care Committee and Christina Brassard with the Resource Planning and Audit Committee. Darlene Furlong was appointed as the new Community Member on the Governance and Nominating Committee.

The Board also includes ex-officio Directors: Dr. Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, President and CEO, Adam Vinet, Chief Nursing Executive, Dr. Bradley Jacobson, Chief of Staff, Dr. Sarita Verma, Dean, President and CEO, NOSM University, and Dr. Salima Oukachbi, President, Professional Staff Association.

At the Inaugural meeting of the Board of Directors, held immediately following the Annual Meeting, the Officers of the Corporation were elected as follows, including myself continuing as Chair, Pat Lang as First Vice Chair, Matt Simeoni as Second Vice Chair, and John Hatton as Board Treasurer. Joy Wakefield was elected as Chair of the Patient Safety and Quality of Care Committee. Christine Bates was elected as Chair of the Health Human Resources Committee.

We have an incredibly dedicated group and I look forward to a productive and meaningful year serving the people of Northwestern Ontario.

Our second year into our Strategic Plan 2026 has started off strong, with a continued focus on our strategic priorities of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Patient Experience, Staff Experience and Research, Innovation & Learning. As always, these priorities are underscored by our commitment to patient and family-centred care.

Speaking of which, this year we will be celebrating 14 years of Sharing and Caring Together, a week-long event that highlights our commitment to patient and family-centred care, culminating in an exhibition displaying some of the initiatives that have been developed to improve the patient experience. The main exhibition will take place October 27th and will be open to the public. Please join us!

Finally, the back-to-school season brings more indoor activities and an increased risk of respiratory illness. To reduce your risk of infection, I encourage you to be vigilant with hand hygiene and stay up to date on vaccines. The provincial government is providing flu and COVID-19 shots at doctor and nurse practitioner offices and participating pharmacies. Let’s work together to protect ourselves, and the most vulnerable of our community and prevent respiratory illness.