Dr. Bert Lauwers stepping down as Ross Memorial’s President & CEO

By Roderick Benns

After four years at the helm, Dr. Bert Lauwers is stepping down from his position as president and CEO at the Ross Memorial Hospital in early 2019. Dr. Lauwers will take on the new role of executive vice president of medical and clinical programs at the Scarborough Health Network on April 1, 2019.

The Ross Memorial Hospital Board of Governors is sincerely grateful to Dr. Lauwers for his years of exceptional leadership and for his commitment to quality and patient safety at the Ross Memorial Hospital.

“Dr. Lauwers’ energy and attention to every aspect of patient care has been an inspiration for so many at the Ross,” said Val Harris, RMH board chair. “He has been a tireless advocate for the hospital, on behalf of the physicians and staff, and most importantly, on behalf of our patients. We can’t thank him enough for his efforts and we wish him all the best in his new role at the Scarborough Health Network.”

Lauwers has been a member of the Ross Family since he joined the medical staff in 1983. Although the next stage of his career is taking him to a new community, the Ross team is happy that Lauwers will continue to call the City of Kawartha Lakes his home.

Lauwers was a progressive leader at the hospital, championing the basic income pilot for the community early on and he often discussed the social determinants of health as the most important aspects of health and wellness. (The social determinants of health are simply the social conditions we are born into, and find ourselves living with, ranging from income levels, to education, to employment opportunities.)

On the CEO’s watch both the Ross and Peterborough Regional Health Centre were directed to “explore opportunities of integration” by the Central East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) in March. This ‘exploration’ as many readers now know, had a date for full integration: January 1, 2019.

The Advocate’s full investigative piece on this issue — making it clear it was LHIN-led — sparked community-wide protests and led to the formation of the Kawartha Health Coalition, an offshoot of the Ontario Health Coalition, to further resist the integration. It was announced Nov. 16 that integration would not proceed.

“The Ross Memorial has been my second home for so long, I know my Ross Family will always hold a special place in my heart,” said Lauwers. “I’m excited to embrace this new role at the Scarborough Health Network. While the year ahead will be full of new challenges and new faces, my family is committed to this community and the good friends who make it our home.”

Lauwers’ last official day as president and CEO will be February 28, 2019. The Board will announce an interim president and CEO in the New Year and launch the process to recruit a permanent replacement.

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