OHA Health Achieve 2007 – thoughts from day 3 (final day)

by hans on 2007/11/07

After an eventful and interesting day 1 and day 2, the final day of the OHA Health Achieve convention drew to a close today.

Keynote Address: Queen Noor of Jordan
I’m not exactly sure why, but I was looking forward to this address by Queen Noor of Jordan. Her session was titled “Philanthropy in the 21st century”. Queen Noor talked about partnership being the key to success, and that philanthropy is the “love for human kind”. Based on her experience, she found that the most effective type of philanthropy is when people are empowered to help themselves. Instead of a patronizing position, we must find ways to provide the capacity, resources, and training to allow people to help themselves. She talked about how global spending on military and weapons is more than 20 times that for humanitarian aid or how the roles of women need to be recognized and supported.

On some level, I was a bit disappointed with the session. While Queen Noor is a very elegant and poised speaker, I found her to be somewhat … stiff. On one occasion, she got a bit animated and her eyes sparkled when she spoke about her times during the civil rights movement and other moments in her youth. But, just as quickly, she reverted back to her “public speaking” persona – somewhat reserved, controlled, and dignified. She definitely has a presence, but I’m not sure that public speaking is her forte. Nevertheless, I think the overall tone and message was inspiring. She tried to play up to the audience by saying that she has a secret desire to become a Canadian because of the leading role Canada has played in putting human development, peace, and partnership above security and greed.

OHA Board Chair’s Address
Mr. Mark Rochon gave an interesting speech. He talked about the continued importance of the OHA and its members in the Ontario health care context. At first, I thought he was suggesting that the OHA itself was important (and perhaps it is), but I think he was trying to get across the idea that hospitals are very important, even with the move toward integrated care/Local Health Integration Networks. He talked about the need for developing partnerships and for being a strategic ally in advocating for change. What was news to me was that the OHA’s #1 recommendation to have a comprehensive provincial ehealth strategy was quickly adopted by both the PCs and the Liberals during the election, becoming an important component of both platforms.

On a side note, Mark Rochon had a bit of a problem with his voice. His voiced cracked several times and he ended up drinking at least three or four cups of water during his short 15 minute address. This became somewhat of a joke during the session, with Mark laughing at himself.

Minister of Health & Long-Term Care Address – Hon. George Smitherman
The convention was ended with the traditional address by the Minister of Health. He opened with a quip about the OHA having a “queen” theme day, and that he was glad he was invited for the appropriate day ;). I won’t get into too much detail about his speech. Here are some of the highlights:

  • He and the re-elected government are looking forward to building upon the work done thus far. But, we need to work together and to accelerate the progress.
  • Ontarians will be getting more access to health information on wait times and other indicators. The health care system should expect the patient expectations to change and increase as a result. Transparency and the resultant accountability will form the basis of a new governance model.
  • Smitherman pointed out that a good quality, publicly funded health system needs an informed public.
  • There will be continued work on decreasing wait times, with new initiatives to be announced.
  • Improving the work place will become an important issue in order to retain and attract health care professionals like nurses. Smitherman noted that there is work underway to ensure 70% full time nursing is an obligation not a goal.
  • Patient safety and quality of care will come under more scrutiny with future announcements about making this information more transparent. Smitherman said that it will be difficult and challenging at first, but that this will be necessary.

I was impressed with Mr. Smitherman’s speech. Sure it was a bit election-platform like, but he is a politician. What I found refreshing was that I got the sense that George Smitherman actually believes what he is saying – his passion came across and was felt by the audience. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next little while, but I’m definitely looking forward to the changes.

Just some final thoughts now that the convention is over. As always, I’m impressed by the overall quality of the convention. The speakers, in general, are excellent, and there’s a real feeling of collegiality and celebration. I can see how it’s an important event to attend for the networking. Now that I’ve attended a few of these, I can see some improvements made each and every year. Hopefully more will come next year.

My highlights for this year were hearing Colin Powell and Wynton Marsalis. Those two sessions definitely stick out in my mind. The ehealth session was memorable because of its popularity as there were more people than I had anticipated. Maybe it’s just me, but more people seem to be interested in ehealth than ever before. Perhaps I’m still a bit scarred from past comments I’ve received and still find it surprising to see others finally “come around”. On a grant application, one of the reviewers commented that while the topic of my project was interesting, he/she didn’t think it was *real* research. Maybe subconsciously I’m still looking to find some validation.

One final thought. I just want to thank the Ontario Hospital Association for continuing its policy of allowing students to attend for free. Without their generous support, I definitely would not have been able to attend this year. Too bad this will likely be my last (free) convention as I hope to be working by this time next year.

{ 1 comment }

Stevie December 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm

First did you notice in his realese his comment MY vision of Toronto, not our vision.He is taking on the role of Budget Chief. Sounds like he wants things his way. I think Dalton also had that attitude.I will launch a war on waste. I think he just launched a war on himself. While in the Liberal Government he was very wasteful. Sounds like Dalton McGuinty. I think he actually believes he is Rob Ford cause he stole his ideas. Come on Furious George get an idea and a platform of your own.

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