Farewell Message from Jean Bartkowiak

Published Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Farewell Message from Jean Bartkowiak

I write to you today with so many emotions. Pride. Nostalgia. A heavy heart. But mostly, I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude.

On November 20, 2020, I will officially retire as a senior health care leader and as President and CEO of our Hospital and CEO of the Health Research Institute. It seems like yesterday that I arrived in Thunder Bay, excited to take on a new challenge to lead one of the newest academic health sciences centres in Ontario and its blossoming health research institute. That moment was the culmination of a wonderful career and the crowning of a journey of a lifetime; it provided me with the opportunity to attract and mentor an outstanding group of senior leaders and to work alongside so many skilled and dedicated health care professionals and support staff. I take this opportunity to share the following reflections with the community I served for the last five years.

I'm very proud of our many accomplishments together these past 5 years. These include:

  • the development and expansion of several regional clinical programs that foster safe, quality, specialized care closer to home;

  • successfully advocating with the Ministry of Health for additional base funding allocation given our impressive performance as compared to our peers;

  • opening Transitional Care Units at Hogarth Riverview Manor to provide a more adequate care setting for our Alternate Level of Care patients;

  • organizational restructuring that brought, among other innovations, the creation of a Senior Director, Indigenous Collaboration position to engage and partner with Indigenous leaders and communities to have a better grasp of their health priorities, or the creation of a Patient Flow department that allowed us to improve significantly our performance for wait times of admitted patients in Emergency and our average length of stay;

  • the integration of the Northwest Health Alliance that allowed for the creation of a regional senior leadership role to support integration and transformation and the creation of a Regional Chief Information Officer role, to support the renewal of all Northwest Ontario hospitals health information system;

  • actively engaging in “smart health” research; and

  • an accreditation with distinction award from Accreditation Canada.

These are only a small fraction of our accomplishments. They were only possible thanks to your guidance as a cohesive Board, and to the dedication, expertise and will of our staff to imagine and try new avenues to deal with the challenges our Hospital and Health Research Institute must tackle every day. Without all of you, none of this would have been possible.

Dr. Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, as your new President & CEO will now lead you through the development of a new strategic plan and health system transformation. Her health system leadership experience, as well as her many accomplishments such as championing Patient and Family Centred Care, will be invaluable to the Hospital and the Institute. Furthermore, Rhonda brings specific knowledge of and passion for Northwestern Ontario that make her the ideal person to inspire and guide ongoing innovation in health research at our Hospital and Health Research Institute.

Rhonda inherits an extremely talented and knowledgeable senior leadership team and a dedicated Board. Our skilled and knowledgeable senior leaders provide strategic guidance to achieve safe quality care experiences and outcomes for patients and their care partners. Under their combined leadership and expertise, I am confident that our Hospital and Health Research Institute clinical, academic and scientific mission will evolve and thrive. 

This will be an emotional transition, but I am looking forward to the next phase of my life. This is the first time I do not have a clear sense of what the future holds for me, but I look forward to spending time with my loved ones, here in Thunder Bay and in Québec.

Until we meet again hopefully,

Jean Bartkowiak, MHSc, CHE
President & Chief Executive Officer
Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
Chief Executive Officer
Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute


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