This year’s virtual Annual General Meeting provided an opportunity to reflect on the many examples of courage and hope that were demonstrated over the last year as Niagara pulled together to respond to the unprecedented demands of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Every day brought new challenges, and there is a tremendous amount of pride in the Niagara Health team’s unwavering commitment and professionalism to deliver safe, compassionate care to our patients and families. We are also grateful to all those in Niagara who demonstrated the true meaning of a kind and caring community – healthcare partners, elected officials, educational partners, businesses and families came together to support Niagara Health and one another.
Our 2020-2021 annual report is named Courage and Hope to honour Niagara Health, our patients and families, our community and all of our partners. The report captures our collective response to the pandemic, our progress to enhance patient care and our planning for the future. Among the proud moments highlighted:
- Our complex COVID-19 response at the hospital, as well as three Niagara region assessment centres, temporary management of two long-term care facilities in crisis, the region’s largest vaccination clinic, and care of 73 patients transferred to Niagara Health from outside of the area.
- Achieving key milestones in our planning for the South Niagara hospital project. Niagara Health and Infrastructure Ontario will soon be shortlisting three prequalified teams to design, build, finance and maintain the project. Next steps involve inviting the three bidders to respond to a request for proposals, expected to be issued in fall 2021.
- Seeing continued growth in research activity, including opportunities for patients to participate in research trials related to COVID-19. Conducting research at Niagara Health helps to improve care locally while also contributing more broadly to research results that better represent populations such as Niagara’s.
- Creating connected care experiences designed around the needs of patients. COVID Care @ Home improved access to services and supported the care and recovery of patients who did not require, or no longer required, hospitalization and could manage COVID-19 at home.
- Pushing boundaries in innovation and technology to enhance patient experiences. Virtual care enabled us to safely provide care while limiting the number of people inside our hospital buildings. We provided approximately 60,000 virtual visits over the last year, an opportunity we will expand upon post-pandemic.
WELCOMING FOUR NEW BOARD MEMBERS
Today’s AGM also saw the appointment of four community leaders to the Niagara Health Board of Directors, noted below. A full list of our volunteer Board members and their backgrounds can be found on our website.
Bernd Christmas is a recognized and accomplished leader in the Indigenous and business communities. He was the first Mi’kmaw to become a lawyer in Canada and is currently the Managing Attorney of the Bernd Christmas Law Group. He is a member of IG Wealth Management Board of Directors and past member of the Board of Directors of Outside Looking In. He is also a director on two Indigenous development corporations. During his career, Mr. Christmas has served as the CEO of the Membertou Band of Nova Scotia and the Membertou Corporate Division. He has also negotiated on behalf of many First Nations bands.
Shane Malcolm has built a career supporting various aspects of student development and non-profit leadership and is currently the Director, Career Success for the Onyx Initiative. Prior to this, Shane spent more than four years as the Executive Director of Leadership Niagara. He has a passion for governance and in addition to serving on the Niagara Health Board, serves on the Board of the Boys & Girls Club of Niagara as well as Niagara College’s Board of Governors. He is a proud recipient of a number of prestigious awards such as the 40 Under Forty Business Achievement Award.
Stephen Murdoch is Vice President, Public Relations at Enterprise, one of Canada’s leading strategic communications and public affairs firms. In this role, Stephen oversees the firm’s national public relations practice, working with some of Canada’s largest companies and organizations. He also serves as an instructor in the Post-Graduate Public Relations program at Niagara College.
Carmen Rossiter is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a certified director. She has Board experience with a number of organizations, including currently serving on the Ontario Medical Association Board of Directors. Carmen is a member of the Senior Advisory Panel to the Auditor General of Ontario. Prior to her service on boards, Carmen was a Partner with PwC and founding Managing Director for Protiviti Canada. Her experience includes controllership and planning positions with Crown Life Insurance, Royal Trust (now RBC Financial) and CIBC.
“The pandemic has tested our resilience and resolve over the past 15 months. Our team of dedicated staff, physicians, medical learners, students and volunteers continue to go above and beyond to serve our patients in their time of need. This team is at the forefront and front lines of the fight against COVID-19 and continue to answer the call with grace and compassion. We are also humbled by the enormous amount of support from our community throughout this crisis. Niagara truly is one of the best places to live, and we thank our community for your kindness and support.”
Bunny Alexander, Chair, Niagara Health Board of Directors
“We overcame many hurdles in our fight against this highly contagious virus, and I couldn’t be prouder of the Niagara Health team. Our staff and physicians have worked full out for the last 15 months, and it will be important for them to take time over the summer to recover and recharge. I’m also grateful for the partnerships and support that strengthened our response to the pandemic. As we transition into the recovery phase, I’m looking forward to building on the collaboration and innovation that have been so beneficial over the last year in enhancing the health and well-being of our community.”
Lynn Guerriero, President and Chief Executive Officer, Niagara Health
“I would like to thank every colleague for the unwavering service and care they’ve provided. I would also like to recognize the families who supported them and saw the true extent of their sacrifices. I will remember all of the challenges we faced during the pandemic. But I will also remember the ways our staff and physicians stepped in to provide emotional support to patients and their loved ones who were prevented from being at the bedside because of COVID-19. This is what we mean by caring, compassion, professionalism and dedication.”
Dr. Johan Viljoen, Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President, Medical Affairs