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March was Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. I commend the Prevention and Screening Services team for spreading the word on the importance of early screening while encouraging Hospital staff to share the facts with their loved ones. There is certainly room to improve cancer screening rates in our region. When caught early, 9 out of 10 people with colon cancer can be cured. For more information, visit

On March 21st, the Resource Planning Committee met to discuss updates from the Occupational Health and Safety program, and labour relations, grievances and arbitrations. The Committee also reviewed the Corporate Balanced Scorecard for 2016-17, and the forecasted year-end financial results which highlighted a projected balance position thanks in large part to the efforts of staff and our partners at the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

The Hospital has a new Accessibility Plan which will guide improvements for people with disabilities for the next five years. The plan’s focus includes Customer Service priorities such as, service animals and support persons, training for staff, access to services; Information & Communications dealing with feedback processes, accessible forms, website content; Employment practices including recruitment priorities, supports for employees, accommodation plans, career advancement; and Design of Public Spaces describing service counters, waiting areas, exterior paths, accessible parking. Many dimensions of the Accessibility Plan also support the Hospital’s direction on Seniors’ Health and will enhance the care provided to an aging population.

Helping to shape the Accessibility engagement strategy was a Working Group, comprised of Health Sciences Centre staff, a Patient Family Advisor, volunteer members of the community, and the City of Thunder Bay Accessibility Coordinator. Feedback provided at an open house and through an on-line survey shaped the draft Goals of the Accessibility Plan. To view the Hospital’s Accessibility Plan, please visit

In addition to the staff and physicians who care for patients and families, there are over 500 people who volunteer to support them. I am inspired and humbled by those who voluntarily apply their passion and dedication to serve so selflessly at our Hospital. Volunteers worked thousands of hours last year in all hospital departments. Volunteers also raise funds for essential medical equipment and health research. Their impact is felt everywhere. The annual dinner is hosted on April 18, 2017 by our Volunteer Services and Health Sciences Foundation to recognize their contributions, and I look forward to attending.

I want to recognize my own colleagues – the volunteer members of the Board of Directors who contribute their time and talents to guide the Hospital’s priorities. Thank you all for contributing so significantly at improving the lives of Northwestern Ontario’s residents. This is what it means to be Healthy Together.

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