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Sault's new paramedic chief makes history

She will lead a team of 70 paramedics
Kate Kirkham Photo
Kate Kirkham is the city's new paramedic chief.

The city has a new chief of paramedic services.

Kate Kirkham, who has more than 24 years of experience in the field, has been appointed to the position. She is the first woman paramedic chief in Sault history joining only four others in Ontario.

The full text of the release follows:

The District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board is pleased to announce Kate Kirkham as the new Chief of Paramedic Services. 

Kirkham has over 24 years experience working with the Paramedic Service, and will make history as the first female Paramedic Chief in Sault Ste. Marie, joining only four others in all of Ontario. Beginning November 1st, Kirkham will oversee all of the operations of the District of Sault Ste. Marie Paramedic Services and lead a team of 70 Paramedics. 

"Sault Ste. Marie is where I began my career as a paramedic” says Kirkham, “since then, I've had the extraordinary privilege of serving our community alongside many amazing paramedics and leaders.  It is truly an honour to accept this new role as Paramedic Chief, and I am so excited to begin this new chapter of my career. As I settle into this new position, I look forward to working with our team to continue pushing forward important initiatives such as community paramedicine, integrated healthcare opportunities, and enhancing the excellent prehospital care our community has come to expect from this service.”

 Kirkham, who currently holds the rank of Commander, also serves as a Paramedic Educator at the Health Sciences North Centre for Prehospital Care. She is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Leadership with a specialization in Health from Royal Roads University, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Laurentian University. She has completed diplomas for Paramedic Level 1 certification, and Emergency Health Services Management, as well as certificates in Paramedic Leadership Fundamentals and Industrial Labour Relations. 

”We’re thrilled with the level of experience and expertise that Kate will bring to this role,” says DSSMSSAB Board Chair Luke Dufour, “As a long time paramedic, she has extensive knowledge of both the paramedic service and our community, along with the challenges and opportunities facing both. The recruitment process was long and thorough, and we were pleased to find this level of acumen within our own ranks.” 

Kirkham will be replacing outgoing Paramedic Chief Robert Rushworth, who has announced his retirement after more than 30 years with the service, “we wish the best to Robert in his retirement,” says DSSMSSAB CEO Mike Nadeau, “he’s certainly left some big shoes to fill, but we think we’ve found the right person to fill them with Kate. We’re excited to work with her going forward and we’re confident that she’s the person we need to get to where we’re going.”

Kirkham began her career with Paramedic Services as a paramedic and has also served as Acting Work Group Leader and Acting Paramedic Supervisor before being promoted to Commander. She resides in Sault Ste. Marie with her husband, Michael, and their 3 children.