(Governance and Leadership)
Board of Directors
SLMHC was initially governed by a Board of 15 directors appointed on the basis of “proportional representation” (as distinct from “skills” based appointments): Two-thirds Anishinaabe, one-third non-native. This approach was outlined in the Sioux Lookout Four Party Hospital Services Agreement (1997).
In accordance with the amendment to Regulation 965 under the Public Hospitals Act, the SLMHC Board composition has been adjusted to include the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Nursing Officer, two physician representatives, and a traditional healer, as non-voting members.
The Board is now comprised of 20 members: 11 First Nation and 9 non-native; 15 voting and 5 non-voting, using a "modified governance model". It operates successfully as an "integrated board", versus the nominal, representation, liaison, consultative, advisory, caucus or other similar approaches taken by many other hospitals which have a mix of aboriginal and non-native members.
Respect for Elders, their teachings and their counsel is a fundamental value of our First Nation communities. Community Elders have been extensively consulted in the development of this program and other key aspects of SLMHC planning, operations and issues management. Advice provided has proven valuable. The board, administration, program managers, staff, caregivers, and most of all the patients and clients, benefit from the Elders’ role and presence.
The Elders' Council is comprised of eight (8) Elders, representing each of the Tribal Councils, the Independents and Lac Seul First Nation, plus the two (2) Elders in Residence. The Council members are appointed for two (2) terms by consensus at the bi-annual Elder’s Gathering. The bi-annual gathering is usually the last meeting prior to the fiscal year end, and its main purpose is to appoint members to any vacant Council position.
The Elders' Gathering will continue to support issues management, as well as program and policy development. During these gatherings, the Elders are encouraged to visit with the patients and clients at the hospital and hostel, and also with the residents of the long term care unit.
The SLMHC Board is led by Solomon Mamakwa, an Anishinaabe from Kingfisher Lake First Nation, and by Barbara Hancock, from Sioux Lookout. They Co-Chair Board meetings and represent the organization. This application of the principle of “proportional representation” has helped the Board operate as a fully integrated board and also take recommendations from the First Nation caucus held prior to full board meetings.
Balance on Committees
Similarly, all Board committees have balanced Anishinaabe and non-native membership.
With the passing of the respected Elder who sat on the SLMHC Board as a Traditional Healer, a search for a new member will be initiated by the Board.
The role of the Traditional Healer is similar to that of the two physicians who sit as board members. The Traditional Healer is a member of the Patient Services/Quality Improvement Committee of the Board, and as a member and co-chair of the Elders' Council, provides the linkage to the SLMHC Board. The Traditional Healer also provides support and advice to the on-going development of the Traditional Healing, Medicines, Food and Supports Program.
Special Advisor to the Co-Chairs and CEO
Douglas Semple, originally from Wunnummin Lake First Nation, serves as an advisor to the Board of Directors. He supports the Board leadership and management of SLMHC with practical cross-cultural advice and communications, issues management, political and other support.
Special Advisor on First Nations Health
Helen Cromarty, originally from Sachigo Lake First Nation, also serves as a member of the SLMHC leadership team. A long-time registered nurse, she provides important support and linkages to health services planning, delivery and integration activities currently underway with First Nations, provincial and federal healthcare transformation processes.