Leaders in health policy, community and economic development, and from First Nations are among the government’s latest appointees to the province’s health authority boards.

“These new appointees bring a depth of experience from the public and private sectors, local and First Nations government, civil society, labour, health care and research,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Their diversity in background, perspective and expertise, and shared commitment to public service further strengthen our health authority boards, during a pivotal time. The boards are playing a key role in helping government accomplish its goals related to restoring a strong public health-care system, innovation and ensuring the needs of a diverse patient population are understood and met.”

Indigenous representation on the health authority boards is also increasing. Each health authority now has two board members of First Nations background.

“This reflects both the considerable breadth of talent and valuable experience individuals from First Nations bring to the boards, and the need for Indigenous perspectives in health-care decision-making, so services are culturally safe and appropriate,” said Dix.

The appointments, made in conjunction with several board terms expiring, include 14 new board members and 12 reappointments. The new appointments include Dr. Penny Ballem as chair of the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) Authority.

“A physician, professor, former deputy minister to health ministers under the prior Liberal government, Dr. Ballem ranks among the foremost figures in public policy and health care in B.C and the country. Other provinces and the federal government alike seek out her policy advice on key issues and initiatives,” added Dix.

“Along with her considerable experience, Dr. Ballem’s tenure at VCH will also benefit from a strong hand off from outgoing chair Kip Woodward. I want to thank Kip for his eight years of leadership and dedication at VCH, and before that as chair of Providence Health. He has played an instrumental role over the past 12 years, especially during times of transition. I am personally thankful and appreciative of his assistance and look forward to working with him in the future on new projects,” said Dix.

In addition to Dr. Ballem’s appointment, Tim Manning’s term as chair of the Provincial Health Services Authority has been extended to 2020.

New members appointed to health authority boards include: Allan Louis and Karen Hamling to Interior Health; Wilfred (Wilf) Adam, Patricia Sterritt and John Kurjata to Northern Health; Marilyn Slett to the Vancouver Coastal Health board; Sandra Harris, Donisa Bernardo and Dr. Kerry Jang to the Provincial Health Services and the British Columbia Emergency Health Services boards; Joanne Mills and Manpreet Grewal to Fraser Health; Alana Nast and Fred Pattje to the Island Health board.

In addition to the new board members, the following people have been reappointed: Tammy Tugnum, Dennis Rounsville and Diane Jules as board members for Interior Health; Stephanie Killam as a board member for Northern Health; Howard Harowitz, Allan Baydala and Clifford Fregin as board members for Vancouver Coastal Health; Robert Kiesman, Chief Clarence Louie and Sharon Stromdahl as board members for the Provincial Health Services Authority and the British Columbia Emergency Health Services boards; Robina Thomas as a board member for Island Health.

In addition to VCH board chair Kip Woodward, other outgoing board members include: Patricia Dooley, Interior Health; Markus T. Delves, Fraser Health; Jean Wheeler and Dr. Roger Barnsley, Island Health; Maurice Squires and Benjamin Sander, Northern Health; and Donald Brooks and Joan Rafferty, Provincial Health Services Authority.

“I want to express, on behalf of the health authorities and ministry, a sincere thank you to these departing members for their service and contribution,” said Dix.

Health authority board members help ensure British Columbians receive the best possible care in an efficient, well-managed public health-care system. Boards are responsible for the governance and oversight of health services in the province. They work with health authority leadership to establish the organization’s overall vision and ensure there is appropriate community consultation. Boards also regularly review the organization’s long-term plans, identify significant issues affecting the organization and evaluate results.