Message from Pierre Richard, Chair, PHO Board of Directors
I’m delighted and honoured to be elected as the chair of the PHO board. I have been actively involved in organizations focused on health care, education and service delivery – all key aspects of PHO’s mandate. It’s clear to me that we need to focus on improving primary health if we are to have a real impact on the health of Ontarians. So whether it’s preventing disease through immunization or better infection prevention and control practices, health promotion to reduce key risk factors for chronic disease, or addressing inequities in access to quality health care, public health has an important role in overall health outcomes.
I would like to thank my predecessors Terry Sullivan and David Walker, who served with distinction on the Board and were instrumental to our success as a start-up and to our growth and success. I am honoured to follow them as the chair and to work with my Board colleagues in this capacity. And special thanks go to Vice-Chair Dr. Robert Kyle, who brings much experience in the health care sector and provides an essential view from the public health field, and to the rest of the talented and dedicated PHO Board. I also want to acknowledge the tremendous support that PHO senior management provides to the Board on an ongoing basis.
Since we began operations in 2008, PHO has become an integral part of Ontario’s health care system. Working with our partners and clients in public health, health care, government and related sectors, PHO has driven significant improvements in infection prevention and control practices, surveillance and epidemiology, integrated data and information systems, communications and emergency preparedness. Our scientific and technical advice and support keep Ontarians safe and healthy, with services such as laboratory testing, surveillance and epidemiology, research and field support related to urgent and emergent public health issues. PHO is an organization committed to good governance, strong accountability and operational excellence - all made possible by our great people.
This is a busy and exciting time for PHO and our partners. We are delighted that Peter Donnelly is joining PHO as our new president and CEO and look forward to bringing him on board in November.
This fall, we will relocate our main laboratory to downtown Toronto, a key aspect of the province’s multi-year plan to renew the province’s public health system after the 2003 SARS crisis. Over the last decade, the laboratories have transformed its operations, resulting in improved efficiencies, faster turnaround times and increased scientific and technical expertise. We’ve implemented exciting new laboratory technologies and have built a comprehensive, cross-cutting public health research program with an international reputation for excellence. The relocation will replace an aging and inadequate Etobicoke facility with a purpose-built, highly specialized and flexible space designed to meet current and future clinical and public health needs, support a more integrated approach to diagnostic, outbreak and incident management, and strengthen our work with academic and research partners. It will enable PHO to remain at the forefront of infectious disease detection and control, providing essential services to Ontarians and the health care system and responding to emerging public health issues.
Public Health Ontario’s Strategic Plan 2014 – 2019: Evidence, knowledge and action for a healthier Ontario, defines five key strategic directions relating to our alignment with the public health sector; our mandate to transform data into knowledge; our role in creating, synthesizing and applying knowledge into practice and action; our research agenda; and our organization and people. Over the coming months and years, we will work to put this plan into action. We are working closely with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on leadership and coordination of an improved and strengthened public health system in Ontario, operating in the best interests of the health of Ontarians.
Our partners and clients in government, public health, health care and related sectors are essential to our success, and on behalf of the Board I would like to thank you for your support, and your collaboration as we work together to improve the health of Ontarians.
Going forward, we will continue to focus on delivering our services in the most effective and efficient manner and providing the highest quality customer service and value for money to the taxpayers of Ontario. I look forward to getting to know our clients and partners better and working together with you to deliver on our mandate.
Chair, PHO Board of Directors