Canadian Healthcare Association recognizes health system leaders


Garnet Burns, chair of the Canadian Healthcare Association, announced the recipients of two awards recognizing individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Canada’s health system. Rick Roger is the recipient of the 2007 Award for Distinguished Service, and Sandra Pitters is the recipient of the 2007 Marion Stephenson Award for Outstanding Contribution to Community Care.

“As Chair of the Canadian Healthcare Association, I am pleased to recognize individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the Canadian health system,” said Mr. Burns. “Rick Roger has been a lifelong advocate for a strong, publicly funded health system, working at the regional, provincial, national and international levels. Sandra Pitters has demonstrated community care leadership for thirty years in management, program delivery, research, policy development and education.”

The Award for Distinguished Service recognizes: outstanding contributions in advancing administration and governance in the health sector; noteworthyservice and leadership over the years, particularly at the national level; personal efforts to advance the efficiency and performance of Canadian health organizations; and personal efforts to foster public policy and legislation related to health care. First presented in 1949, notable recipients of this annual award have included: the Honourable Emmett M. Hall, Chairman of the Royal Commission on Health Services that led to the establishment of Canada’s medicare system; and Claude Castonguay, a former Quebec health minister and architect of Quebecs province’s health system.

Mr. Roger was appointed CEO of the Vancouver Island Health Authority in 2001, shortly after the province of British Columbia restructured the delivery of health services under five regional health authorities and one provincial authority. He designed VIHA’s original organizational and program delivery structure and recruited a committed executive team to lead a comprehensive and integrated service delivery system, meeting the needs of 750,000 people. He also served on the provincial leadership council, helping to implement significant reforms in funding and delivery systems on a province-wide scale.

Mr. Roger played a significant role in the reform of continuing care, wait-times management, and the development of innovative housing options, while strengthening specialized services and developing a population health approach. He was similarly innovative in his previous role as CEO of the Vancouver Richmond Health Board.

At the national level, Mr. Roger served for seven years as a director of the Canadian Institute for Health Information during its formative years. As well, he was Co-Chair of the first two research grants awarded to the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, initiating ground-breaking efforts for this organization.

Mr. Roger served as a volunteer on numerous boards and committees addressing issues ranging from quality to e-health to skills development. He has been a reviewer and panel participant for the Canadian Health Services

Research Foundation. Currently, he is the Senior Editor of the Healthcare Policy Journal, a significant voluntary commitment to a newly formed peer-reviewed Canadian Journal on health policy issues. He has also functioned as a World Health Organization consultant.

The Marion Stephenson Award was established by the former Canadian Association for Community Care which has now been integrated with CHA. It recognizes an individual who, for ten or more years, has made an outstanding contribution to the development of the community care sector, which includes home-based care, facility-based long term care and community support programs such as meal services. The award is named for Marion Stephenson, the first recipient, in recognition of her contribution to community care education and her long-standing commitment to the former Canadian Association for Community Care. Ms. Stephenson also had an eighteen year distinguished career with CHA in its education department. In a fitting tribute to Ms. Stephenson’s influence as an educator, Ms. Pitters – the recipient of the 2007 Marion Stephenson Award – studied under Ms. Stephenson through CHA Learning distance education programs early in her career.

Sandra Pitters has demonstrated community care leadership for thirty years in management, program delivery, research, policy development, and education. She has held senior positions in both nursing and administration.

In her current role as General Manager of the City of Toronto’s Homes for the Aged Division, Ms. Pitters is responsible for the effective operation of ten homes for the aged, meals-on-wheels programs, four adult day programs, a multi-site supportive housing program and a homemakers and nurses services program, providing services to eligible clients living in the community.

Ms. Pitters has also served as President of the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors and is a past recipient of their leadership award.

Ms. Pitters has played a leadership role in Ontario’s policy development and planning in the broad long-term care sector, serving on a number of key committees. She has worked to enhance collaboration and promote an integrated approach to health services in the Toronto area. She has been a member of the Long Term Care Expert Panel of the Ontario Health Quality Council, Co-Chair of the Ministry of Labour’s Committee for the Health Care Sector – which works to improve worker safety – and a leader in the development of appropriate ethics and protocols to guide research in Toronto’s Homes for the Aged. Her contributions to boards, committees and task forces, influencing policy development in the long-term care sector, are too numerous to outline.Ms. Pitters’ contributions on the national scene, as a surveyor for CCHSA, a mentor to new surveyors and an educator for CCHSA are similarly distinguished. Moreover, she was a contributing author to Continuing the Care, a CHA Press title, and has served as an educational consultant for CHA Learning, where she has passed on her considerable knowledge; and has presented at CHA Learning’s intramural sessions.

Founded in 1931, the Canadian Healthcare Association is the federation of provincial and territorial hospital and health organizations across Canada.

Through its members, CHA represents a broad continuum of services provided through regional health authorities, hospitals, facilities and agencies that are governed by trustees who act in the public interest.

CHA is a leader in developing, and advocating for, health policy solutions that meet the needs of Canadians and is committed to a publicly funded health system that provides access to a continuum of comparable health services throughout Canada.