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Hospital honours some of their own

Four staff members were recognized on Thursday night
06-21-18 SAH Award Recipients
L to R – Dr. Alan McLean (Dr. Hutchinson Award) , Norie Tapiru-Cormack (Employee iCcare Award), Jackie Tomchak (Volunteer iCcare Award), Dr. Derek Garniss (Physician iCcare Award). Photo provided

Sault Area Hospital (SAH) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on June 21, 2018. The AGM focused on the many successes over the last year, as well as the challenges faced and expectations for the future.

For 2018-2019, Reg St-Amour will serve as chair, Greg Peres will serve as 1st vice chair and Debbie Romani will serve as 2nd vice chair. President and CEO Ron Gagnon will remain secretary to the board in an ex-officio capacity. Two members were reappointed for three-year terms – Lisa Bell-Murray and Pramod Shukla. Thank you to our outgoing board members, Jim Rennie and Brent Rankin, for their dedicated years of service. 

The AGM was highlighted by the annual presentation of the SAH iCcare Awards, established by the SAH Board in 2011. These awards acknowledge an employee, volunteer and physician who consistently demonstrate the values of SAH – integrity, compassion, collaboration and partnership, accountability, respect and excellence. The 2018 recipients were Norie Tapiru-Cormack (employee), Jackie Tomchak (volunteer) and Dr. Derek Garniss (physician).

The meeting concluded with the much-anticipated presentation of the prestigious Dr. William Hutchinson Award. Presented annually by the SAH Board of Directors, this award recognizes distinguished contributions to health care in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma. The 2018 recipient was Dr. Alan McLean.

SAH congratulates all award recipients for their dedicated service to the residents of Sault Ste. Marie and the Algoma region.

The 2017/2018 SAH Annual Report is available online

2018 Award Recipients 

Dr. William Hutchinson Award: Dr. Alan McLean 

Dr. Alan McLean was born and raised in London Ontario. He graduated from Medical School at the University of Western Ontario, and completed his residency training in Family Medicine in 1990 at McMaster University. He moved to Sault Ste. Marie in 1991 to start his practice and a family. 

Dr. McLean has been a longstanding family physician in our community, making significant contributions and positively impacting health care in our community for almost 30 years. In addition to his family practice, Dr. McLean worked in Sault Area Hospital’s Emergency department for many years before becoming chief of staff in 2006, a leadership role that fit his commitment to ensuring quality medical care for our community.  

He was then appointed medical lead of the Superior Family Health Team. Through his leadership, the Superior Family Health Team has been a driving force in improving timely access to primary care in our community. Dr. McLean embraces honest conversations with his patients, on their prognosis, health care wishes and care path, allowing them time to reflect on what matters most and empowering them with important choices. 

Dr. McLean, in partnership with various community agencies, was instrumental in the development of the Neighbourhood Resource Centre. He provides care to individuals who are often marginalized in our community, effectively engages local residents to better understand their needs, and builds connections with community support services agencies such as police services.  

At the regional level, Dr. McLean was appointed by the North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN) as primary care physician lead. He has worked closely with the NE LHIN to strengthen and align primary care planning and help build a more accessible system of care for northerners, taking his talents beyond the boundaries of our community and making a positive difference to a much broader and diverse set of Ontarians. 

Dr. McLean has been an active Northern Ontario School of Medicine faculty member since August 2004. As assistant professor, he embraces his leadership role as educator and mentor. Medical students and family medicine residents have been placed with him on rotation and his office is rarely without a resident, student or both. Many of our current family medicine physicians have spent rotations learning with Dr. McLean.  

He is a tireless advocate for his patients and for vulnerable populations in our community who do not have access to primary care. He is a physician who truly cares, works to find solutions, is innovative and progressive, and is always prepared to tackle complex medical issues. Dr. McLean is motivated not by what is easy, but by what is right and just.  

iCcare Awards 

Employee iCcare Award: Norie Tapiru-Cormack

Norie Tapiru-Cormack works in the Housekeeping Department at Sault Area Hospital (SAH), living our values every day in all aspects of her work. She is extremely proud to work at SAH, spreading happiness and joy to everyone she meets and treating everyone like family. She provides positive feedback and coaching, and stands behind the values of the organization. Norie is very patient-focused and cares deeply for patients and their families. In addition to working at SAH, Norie has volunteered in the Algoma District Cancer Program for years, greeting everyone with kindness and helping to make patients feel comfortable. She also volunteers and works as a Personal Support Worker/Housekeeping at the Algoma Residential Community Hospice. Norie goes out of her way, not only for the patients but for the staff as well. She is consistently looking for ways to support others and seeking out ways in which she can assist others. Norie consistently demonstrates her commitment to community and making an impact on the health care system. Norie is generous, sharing ideas on improvement and always willing to take on additional work when needed. She often stops to talk to staff and patients, wearing her bright, contagious smile. 

Physician iCcare Award: Dr. Derek Garniss

Dr. Derek Garniss is Sault Area Hospital’s (SAH) Medical Director and Chief of the Emergency Department. Recently, he was also appointed Chief Medical Information Officer for the ONE initiative which will bring an Electronic Medical Record to our patients. He brings a great deal of energy, experience, and expertise to his various roles and is well respected by staff and his colleagues, as well as his regional and provincial partners. Dr. Garniss has worked in the Emergency Department (ED) since 2004 and has been involved in many initiatives that have helped our ED attain its reputation for timely expert care within our province. He is a compassionate physician, who consistently exemplifies our iCcare values in his interactions with patients, their families and fellow colleagues. He is also a medical advisor at the Centre for Pre-Hospital Care for Health Sciences North in Sudbury. As an active assistant professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, he is always teaching and actively looking at ways to recruit new physicians to SAH. Dr. Garniss is passionate about providing excellent quality care to patients. 
Volunteer iCcare Award: Jackie Tomchak

Jackie Tomchak is a committed Sault Area Hospital (SAH) volunteer, having dedicated more than 32 years to the volunteer sector at the hospital. Jackie currently volunteers in the Algoma District Cancer Program (ADCP). Whether she is folding gowns, bringing a patient a glass of water or a warm blanket, selling cupcakes at a fundraising event, or working on the Sault Area Hospital Volunteer Association (SAHVA) Executive, her motive is always to put our patients first. In the ADCP, Jackie greets every patient with warmth and openness, making each person feel special and truly cared for. Jackie has been a long-term member of the SAHVA Executive in the position of correspondence secretary. She never misses sending a card of sympathy, get well, or thank you to SAH volunteers. Jackie has always taken on roles when needed and completed them with excellence. Her involvement during the planning and execution of SAHVA fundraisers is truly appreciated. Jackie goes the extra mile in all aspects of her volunteering experiences and adds her special touch in all she does, especially in her wonderful baking.