THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE PROJECT

The people who came together to produce the business case for an Ontario Centre of Excellence in Environmental Health are patients, physicians, researchers, community health centre leaders, environmental health experts, health policy consultants, health economists and civil servants.

Premier Kathleen Wynne provided critical support at several stages of the way, for which we want to acknowledge and warmly thank her.

For more than thirty years Ontarians have been seeking to establish care, support, research and education for the three conditions within our health-care system and public services: Fibromyalgia syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and Environmental Sensitivities/Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (ES/MCS).

The latest round of efforts, which began in 2008, resulted in the Recognition, inclusion and equity: Solutions for people living in Ontario with ES/MCS, ME/CFS and FM, A Business Case and all its supporting appendices. The reports were submitted to the Ontario Minister for Health and Long Term Care in November 2013. On November 5, 2014, speaking on behalf of Health Minister Eric Hoskins, Parliamentary Secretary MPP John Fraser said:

“We recognize that it is time to bring issues related to the environment and health out of the shadows, and to shine a light on the experiences of people living with environmental health conditions in our system. Our government is committed to raising the bar on environmental health.” He also announced that the business case proposal would be used as a platform from which to implement change.

Many thanks to all those who worked on multiple components of the business case project and on the original steering committee. For a list of their names, click here: Original Steering Committee for the OCEEH Business Case Study

INTERIM STEERING COMMITTEE

The interim steering committee is a group of people with varied backgrounds who are all passionate about seeing the establishment of the network of services and functions that goes by the working name of the Ontario Centre of Excellence in Environmental Health (OCEEH).They have been actively working with government and other stakeholders to move the business case proposal forward.  Steering committee members are listed below.  

Varda Burstyn, Co-Chair, Peterborough

Over several decades Varda Burstyn’s work has addressed the social impact of science and technology, population health, women’s health and environmental health. Her 1984 series for CBC’s Ideas, “New Ideas in Sickness and Health”, was the first documentary in Canada to deal with environmental/chemical sensitivities. Varda has consulted to government, health care agencies and non-profit public interest organizations, and worked with several environmental organizations as a staff or board member, including Pollution Probe and Greenpeace. For the last six years, much of her work, volunteer and consultative, has focused on efforts to obtain health care and support services for those with chronic, environmentally linked conditions. She is the author of Recognition, Inclusion and Equity – The Time Is Now: Perspectives of Ontarians Living with ES/MCS, ME/CFS and FM. She is a partner at Paradigm Consultants. For her work on health and the environment, please visit paradigmconsultants.ca. Other environmental writing includes her 2005 book Water Inc., dubbed a ‘prescient and illuminating thriller,’ translated into French, German and Korean.

John Doherty, Co-Chair, Toronto

From 1988-1997, John was a Trustee with the Toronto Board of Education. As a Trustee, he focused on finances, human resources and improving access to the school system for the population as a whole. Since leaving elected politics, John has established John Doherty & Associates Inc. to provide interim and crisis management to not-for profit organizations in the Toronto area. John has been active as a volunteer in the following Boards over the last 15 years: Greenpeace Canada, Toronto Environmental Alliance, Parkdale Village Business Improvement Area, Parkdale Arts and Cultural Centre, Beatrice House, and Canadians for Tax Fairness. John has also been an active parent in his children’s schools.

Ted Ball, Vice-Chair, Toronto

Ted Ball is a partner in Quantum Transformation Technologies, a consulting firm specializing in building the internal capacity of organizations to redesign and transform themselves using systems-thinking-based tools and processes. Ted is well known in the Canadian healthcare system for his thought-provoking essays on organizational transformation, leadership, governance, balanced score-carding and the design of complex adaptive systems (see quantumtransformationtechnologies.com). He has worked as a speech writer, policy advisor and Chief-of-Staff to Ontario Ministers of Health from all three political parties. For the last six years he has worked to advance the cause of providing care, support, research and education for the people the OCEEH seeks to serve.

Denise Magi, Secretary-Treasurer, Toronto

Denise is Vice-President and Secretary on the Board of Directors of the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Association of Ontario (MEAO), which is a registered Ontario charity and a place of information, support and awareness for Ontarians living with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Environmental Sensitivities/Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, which are serious chronic, complex environmentally linked illnesses. She has extensive work experience as a legal assistant and also in the library sciences as a library technician in a Federal Government law library. As a patient with personal knowledge of the illnesses MEAO represents, and a long-standing volunteer, Denise is dedicated to the cause of establishing an Ontario Centre of Excellence in Environmental Health to help the more than 550,000 Ontarians who are afflicted with complex, chronic environmentally linked illnesses.

Gwen DuBois Wing, Thunder Bay

Gwen DuBois-Wing is a governance and leadership consultant/facilitator (DuBois-Wing + Associates), a certified executive coach, and an experienced healthcare executive.  As former CEO of the North West LHIN (Local Health Integration Network), Gwen intimately knows the complex demands impacting the health system. Gwen has been involved with boards and volunteer organizations on a local, provincial and national level, including Chair of several major governance renewal processes. She is past Chair of Confederation College, Board of Governors. Throughout her various professional and volunteer roles, Gwen has been a passionate advocate for a patient- and family-centred health system. She is currently a doctoral student at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California.

Anne Rochon Ford, Toronto

Anne is a Research Associate at the National Network on Environments and Women’s Health (NNEWH – www.nnewh.org) at York University. Her research at York has focused on the impact on women health of exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in different occupational settings. In her 3+ decades of work as an advocate for women’s health, Anne has worked in varying capacities as a researcher, writer, community organizer and a program manager. She is the co-author of the 2009 book, The Push to Prescribe: Women and Canadian Drug Policy.

Neil Stuart, Ph.D., Toronto

Neil Stuart served for many years as a partner and practice leader in the health care consulting practices of Price Waterhouse, PricewaterhouseCoopers and then IBM. In 2009, Neil retired from IBM, forming his own consulting firm. Neil taught for several years in the University of Ottawa’s Masters of Health Administration program. He is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto in its Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation. He is an active board member of The Change Foundation and VON Canada. He recently served on the boards of Cancer Care Ontario (Board Chair), the Ontario Hospital Association (chair of the board’s governance committee), Patients Canada (Secretary) and Toronto East General Hospital (Board Chair). Neil received his Ph.D. in health policy from Brandeis University where he was a fellow in the University’s Health Policy Center. He previously graduated from Carleton University and the University of Nottingham.

Adrianna Tetley, Ex-Officio, AOHC

Adrianna Tetley is the Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC). She has more than 35 years of experience in advocacy, public administration, community development, financial and staff management, policy and board development. Her work in government, the labour movement and several community-based associations has focused on issues related to health care and determinants of health.