North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN Care Connections Forum - April 5, 2018

This year’s forum is full of exciting and highly engaging topics. Our theme is Our Formula for System Transformation in NSM: Collaboration + Innovation = Improvement. The plenary and breakout sessions focus on key issues of importance to you, our stakeholders within the NSM region, and include the following topics:

  • A Rising Tide: Stemming the opioid crisis from multiple perspectives;
  • Future Care: Collaborating to tackle tough issues in North Simcoe Muskoka;
  • Bioethics: Taking on the prickly issues on our doorstep; and
  • Building a senior-friendly system: Preventing and managing chronic disease. 



A Rising Tide: Stemming the Opioid Crisis from Multiple Perspectives 

Between May and July 2017, there were 336 opioid-related deaths in Ontario, compared with 201 during the same time period in 2016, representing a 68 per cent increase. From July to September 2017, there were 2,449 emergency department visits related to opioid overdoses, compared with 1,896 in the three months prior, representing a 29 per cent increase (Source: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care).

There were 68 opioid-related deaths in Simcoe Muskoka from January to October 2017, compared with 38 during the same time period in 2016 — representing a 79 per cent increase. From January to December 2017, there were 415 emergency department visits related to opioid overdoses, compared with 271 during the same time period in 2016 — representing a 53 per cent increase.

It’s an urgent public health issue that’s receiving attention across the sector, but where are we now, and how can we stem the tide? 

Panelists and Perspectives 

  • Dr. David Williams, Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health and Chair of the Opioid Emergency Task Force
  • Dr. Lisa Simon, Associate Medical Officer of Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
  • Dr. Rebecca Van Iersel, VP Clinical, North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN
  • Mrs. Evelyn Pollock 
  • ​Detective Inspector Jim Walker, â€‹Ontario Provincial Police
  • Kathy St. Amant, Community Action Program for Children Coordinator & Office Manager, Georgian Bay Native Women's Association



Future Care: Collaborating to Tackle the PSW Shortage in North Simcoe Muskoka

Navigating the shifting landscape of patient needs across our region and the resulting workforce implications requires a collaborative and innovative approach to both current issues and future needs. Ontario faces an acute shortage of Personal Support Workers which has the potential to put patients at risk. Strategies to address the issues are being developed across the province, but each region’s needs are different.  From weekly calls to assess service levels, private contractor collaborative hubs, wage enhancements to attract people to the profession, and longer-term solutions about building the future workforce, our panel will unpack this complex set of issues focusing on initiatives that can have immediate impact, and examine innovative and unique approaches that could yield positive, longer-term results.

Panelists and Perspectives 



Building a Senior-friendly System: Preventing and Managing Chronic Disease

The region’s older adult population is expected to double during the next 20 years.  The Positive Aging Strategy, is one example of our community taking critical steps to ensure that the region remains a positive, safe and sustainable area for seniors to live and thrive. Individuals living with chronic conditions benefit from an active engagement in their own health care. Patients who have the skills, information, and confidence to better manage the physical and emotional impacts of their illness tend to feel better and use health care services differently, which can optimize their quality of care. How do we get there from where we are now?

Panelists and Perspectives 

  • Jane Sinclair, General Manager of Health and Emergency Services, County of Simcoe
  • Dr. Chuck Gardner, Medical Officer of Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit

  • Dr. Kevin Young, Geriatrician

  • Martha Gabow, voice of the caregiver and the voice of the indigenous community


  • Robert (Bob) Morton — Bob Morton has had a long and distinguished career in health care, including roles as Chair of both the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN and Georgian Bay General Hospital, the former CEO of the Children’s Treatment Network of Simcoe York, Executive Director of the Peel CCAC and CEO of the CCAC of Simcoe County.


Taking on the Prickly Issues on our Doorstep

There’s no shortage of challenging—and sometimes prickly—ethical issues to grapple with in health care today. These include advance consent, mental health, and youth in the context of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), as well as gender bias and discrimination within the system. There is an equally wide-ranging set of perspectives and approaches to these often divisive topics. Join our expert panel for “lightning talks” on these issues, with an opportunity to weigh in with your perspectives during a rapid-fire Q&A session at the end of each talk.

Panelists and Perspectives 


  • Marilyn Barefoot, Barefoot Brainstorming – Classically trained in tier-one companies like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, General Mills, Nike and Microsoft, Marilyn combines a wickedly smart and analytical brain with a creative and questioning spirit.