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People from our Community: George Saarinen, A co-Chair with a Flair for Community

may-2-2018-george-saarinen

Submitted by the North West LHIN - May 2, 2018

To know George Saarinen is to be connected to and engaged in the community. Never shy to offer an opinion, George has spent a lifetime being an active participant in his community. From his hometown in Geraldton where he grew up steps from the hospital, to more recently in Current River where he calls home now, George is always looking to contribute to the well-being of the community.

Now, George has accepted the role of co-Chair of the North West LHIN’s inaugural Patient and Family Advisory Committee (PFAC).

George has been active in the community as a representative of school boards and trustees, labor unions, political parties, library boards and sports teams just to name a few.
Professionally, Saarinen made his way earlier in his career as a funeral director, before moving into the labor movement and then Options North West Personal Support Services. He’s since retired from the labor movement, and now stays busy with Community Living Thunder Bay.

Through it all, George has been steadfast to his personal motto:

PFAC consists of 15 members, who are or have been patients or caregivers of patients in the North West LHIN, and reflect the diversity of the people and communities within the LHIN. Selected to serve as a voice for patients and families, PFAC members share their unique perspectives, stories, experiences and opinions in order to strengthen the patient, caregiver and public voice on important local health planning decisions and policies. consists of 15 members, who are or have been patients or caregivers of patients in the North West LHIN, and reflect the diversity of the people and communities within the LHIN. Selected to serve as a voice for patients and families, PFAC members share their unique perspectives, stories, experiences and opinions in order to strengthen the patient, caregiver and public voice on important local health planning decisions and policies.

“If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Put your whole effort in it, don’t do it haphazard,” George says.

This is something he’s also instilled in his two daughters, Seija and Kaija.

While George is very active in the community, family, and his family’s health care, has been front and centre.

“I don’t think I knew what health care was all about until my family was in crisis, after my mother had a fall and ended up in hospital,” recounts Saarinen.

“Families go through a fair amount of stress, when all of a sudden, you’re the one making decisions and dealing with new realities. Back then I remember thinking ‘I wish there was a manual on this’. Now, I realize, ‘Yes, there is a manual!’

As co-Chair of the PFAC, George’ role is to lead the group of members, who come from across the Northwest region, and bring their experience and perspectives to light to advise the North West LHIN on planning priorities.

“We’re all in it together, we all have our opportunity to contribute. We’re here to ensure respect for relations across the region.”?

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