I’m Accountable to You
Let me tell you about my first day on the job as CEO of the North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN).
On the morning of January 22, I spent the first hour of my new job sitting down with my new team of staff. Some were in the room with me, others I could see by way of video across the region or hear on the telephone. It was technology at its finest – bringing all of our 700 staff from across the region together. It was important to me to spend that first day with the dedicated team of Northerners who work at the LHIN each day to strengthen our Northeastern Ontario health care system.
I believe in empowering people to perform to the best of their abilities so they can play a valuable role, in this instance, helping to increase the health and wellness of the very communities they live in and work from.
Did you know that “people” are at the top of the list of the North East LHIN’s refreshed values? I agree wholeheartedly with these values – trust, caring, collaboration, holding ourselves accountable and being innovative, and most especially with the value statement, “People are what really matter.”
On my first day, I wanted to share my story with them, as well as begin to hear their stories.
My childhood was spent in Ottawa, where French was the language spoken at home. Now I live in North Bay and have four children – so I tend to spend much of my down-time in hockey arenas, at volleyball games and skating on the outdoor rink in our neighbourhood.
As North East LHIN CEO I will be working out of North Bay, as well as travelling to our other offices a few days each week to meet with members of my team, health service providers, community leaders, fellow Northerners, and our many other valued partners.
I’ve worked in health care for many years including at the St-Francis Memorial Hospital in Barry’s Bay as their Chief Operating Officer, as a Senior Planner for the Champlain LHIN, as Executive Planning Advisor and Assistant to the President and CEO of the Hôpital Monfort in Ottawa, and most recently as CEO of the of Mattawa Hospital and Administrator of Algonquin Nursing Home.
To me, connecting with patients and hearing their experiences, is what inspires my work. On my first day, I shared with my team a story that has changed my perspective as a health care leader.
A physician was examining his patient, a Navajo elder, when he was asked if he knew how to dance. Appreciating that dance might be part of the elder’s healing cultural traditions, the physician said he didn’t know how to dance but would be willing to learn if the elder would teach him. The elder responded with yes, he could teach him the steps but it was up to the physician to hear the music.
In order to provide quality health care, we need to hear the music. Yes, we can do all the tactical steps but are we hearing what the patient, families, and caregivers really need and want to stay healthy and well? To me, the patient’s voice must be at the centre of all that we do. If we are not hearing the music, then we aren’t providing quality patient-centred care.
I believe we are defined by the people we serve. My priority as North East LHIN CEO is to best serve the interests of fellow Northerners – this is where my focus will be.
I’m looking forward to meeting many of you in the coming months as I travel our vast Northeast LHIN region.
Thank you, Merci, Miigwetch!