I joined Quinte Health Care as President and CEO in January 2021 and, as you can imagine, it has been an unusual time to join an organization as a new leader. Despite the challenges of joining QHC in the midst of a global pandemic, my onboarding at this time of the organization’s history has provided me with many insights into the resiliency and strengths of the organization and the people who come to work every day to serve their patients and community. The pandemic has also magnified some new, and long standing, challenges and opportunities facing QHC. I believe it is my role to build on all the strengths we have as a team and organization, and to work relentlessly to tackle and improve the biggest challenges we face.
One of the highlights of my arrival has been the warm and supportive welcome I have received from staff and physicians and the partners and community leaders I have had the opportunity to meet during my first eight months. My family and I moved to the area straight away and we’ve immersed ourselves “pandemic style” in all that the Quinte, Hastings and Prince Edward regions have to offer – we have been the masked family out on the Millennium Trail in Prince Edward County, kayaking on the Bay of Quinte, visiting all the local farmers’ markets and enjoying the beauty of middle and North Hastings. This is my home now and I care deeply for the community.
When I say ‘community’, that word encompasses all of the unique communities that QHC serves. It’s been my absolute pleasure to spend time in each of these communities, getting a true sense of the similarities and differences throughout the vast geographic area that QHC serves. Meeting donors and volunteers at Foundation events, connecting with our local mayors, and introducing myself to local businesses and citizens have been some of the most rewarding and insightful parts of my role. I believe that healthy, vibrant hospitals are strongly connected to their communities and one of my top goals is to build a strong connection between QHC and the communities and people we serve. Our hospitals are their hospitals and, together, we can work to make QHC stronger.
It’s really important to me to support each of our four hospitals as an active donor, and to support our health care teams and the excellent work that they do. I have personally donated to all four hospitals and participated in fundraising events across our communities. This pandemic has been tough on everyone. I feel for the kids, teachers and parents who’ve had to navigate the world of online learning, for the teenagers who missed out on high school graduations, and for the new post-secondary students who haven’t truly had the college experience. Between missed experiences, the fear surrounding the virus, and the health impacts of COVID, families have had a lot to deal with. For QHC staff and physicians, you’ve been dealing with these same issues PLUS the added toll that the pandemic has taken on the health care system and the care we provide within our hospitals. I have had the opportunity to talk to many of you about your experience over the last year and what we have been up against. These conversations have been a source of insight and inspiration that will make me a better leader. I can only truly lead if I have a deep appreciation for the experience of the staff and physicians who work here. I am very grateful for your commitment and dedication during these times. I know that some days it’s not easy.
Although COVID cases within Ontario hospitals remain relatively low at this time, there is an emergence of patients seeking care in our hospitals – whether the fear of COVID kept them away from hospitals, leading to worsening conditions while they waited it out, or procedures and surgeries were cancelled during the height of wave 3 and we are now trying to make up for lost time. We are currently challenged by underlying capacity issues and human resource shortages, much like other Ontario hospitals. More than anything, I wish I had an immediate fix for these systemic issues, but I don’t. I do promise, however, that I will keep advocating for QHC on every level possible and that I will continue to work with leadership and staff across QHC to make things better.
I have great optimism for the future of Quinte Health Care. We have passionate clinicians, and dedicated staff, volunteers and fundraising partners. I am hopeful that we can continue to bring more health care services closer to home to better serve and meet the evolving needs of our communities. In the coming weeks and months, we will be engaging with our patients, families, partners and QHC teams to co-design our future as we develop our new strategic plan together. These are OUR COMMUNITIES and OUR HOSPITALS and together we can chart a bold path forward that makes QHC an even better place to receive and give care.
President and CEO
Quinte Health Care