Empowering Clinical Leaders

Guest Blog by Gloria Cardoso, BScN, MHSc, CHE. Executive Lead, Primary Health Care

img_2017_clinical7Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work with incredible clinicians. Whether it was as a critical care nurse, health leader within hospitals, home and community care, provincial physician membership organization and the Waterloo Wellington LHIN – I continue to be inspired by the commitment and passion of those who provide care for people in our community.

I love learning the story behind why people chose a clinical career and am amazed what I learn about people’s experience and how that shaped their path.

  • One Gerontologist told me about her grandfather who had Alzheimers. That experience shaped her desire to find ways to help seniors and their families live a quality of life with dementia.
  • One social worker told me about her experience with her younger sister who had leukemia. She wanted to work with children and families in the cancer unit as she understood firsthand how challenging the illness is on the person, family and friends.
  • One nurse practitioner explained her parents were clinicians and she wanted to carry the service vocation in the rural community in which she grew up. She came from a long history of clinicians in her family.

Most recently I met up with a past colleague who worked at a hospital as an infection control doctor. In the past few years he shifted his practice from hospital to treat people in the community who suffer from Hepatitis C. He saw a need, responded, and now has built a thriving clinic making it easier for these individuals to be healthy and get the care and support they need. Many of these people were overlooked by the health system but today they have a place to go for help. His story is one of Vision, Courage and Empowerment.

Amazing stories of people making a difference in our world. 

One of our local priorities is to empower clinician leaders to help drive meaningful system improvements. We commit as a LHIN to walk hand in hand with clinicians to make the necessary changes for our residents. We believe that patients and clinicians are our greatest advisors – helping us understand what is working, what needs fixing, and how best we might make needed change.

Listening to and supporting clinicians to make it easier for them to help their patients has resulted in significant improvements to care. One such example is our work to share information between mental health service providers and primary care practices. Our local clinicians told us this information was critical to help them help their patients – we listened, learned and now are making it happening.

We are currently recruiting for a Vice President, Clinical and Sub-region clinical leaders. These roles will be instrumental in helping reach as many clinicians as we can to seek their advice and input into changes needed to improve their patient and clinical experience. We’ve had a great track record working with clinical leaders and have outstanding clinical physician leads working with us. We look forward to adding additional clinical leadership to our LHIN team as we aspire to make it easy for people to stay healthy, and get the care and support they need.

Connecting Innovations in Agri-Food with the Health & Social Innovation Ecosystem

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Many innovations in health are focused on improving outcomes for patients. Recently, I had the opportunity to connect with dozens of thought leaders in the agri-food, environmental and life sciences industries through the Guelph Chamber of Commerce to hear about opportunities to do just that as well as support residents to live and stay healthy every day.

Bill Charnetski, Ontario’s Chief Health Innovation Strategist, spoke passionately about the innovation imperative and how we are leveraging innovation across government, private and not-for-profit sectors to drive better outcomes for residents while supporting local businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers.

Guelph is a city known for its innovative culture in agriculture and food science, life, biomedical and environmental research and manufacturing. The message Bill delivered is important as we look at ways to both support our local industries and create jobs while leveraging their expertise to improve the health of residents in our own communities.

argi_foodeventWe heard from thought leaders at University of Guelph who are conducting incredible research in molecular and cellular biology and how this research will positively impact patients.  I was equally inspired to learn about innovations in food science that will produce some of the healthiest whole grains, right in Guelph, offering an incredibly healthy food source for patients and residents. Integrating our innovations in the food supply sector with the health sector is important as we look forward.

Equitable access to local healthy food is also important. As a health system and a responsible partner in the broader community – if we are going to support residents to live healthy lives, we need to look at making access to healthy food much easier for all. We have local champions of food security taking on this challenge such as Community Support Connections, Meals on Wheels and More, an organization that continues to innovate to find healthier and more equitable solutions for residents.

We also have organizations creating momentum through social innovations such as the Working Centre in Kitchener, which innovates every day as they find solutions to support some of our most vulnerable residents, and St. Paul’s Greenhouse, a social impact incubator at the University of Waterloo whose students have developed many practical solutions to health problems and turned those solutions into local businesses.  And we have social impact programs at our local innovation hubs like Communitech and Innovation Guelph.

I look forward to connecting more and more innovators and growing our partnership with the Guelph Chamber of Commerce and our fellow Chamber members.

If you are interested in connecting with us or any of our innovation partners, please reach out to me at bruce.lauckner@lhins.on.ca or @brucelauckner.