Patient, Family, Caregiver Partners Answer The Call To Join The Muskoka And Area Ontario Health Team

Photo Credit: Matt Sitler Country 102 FM

Muskoka and Area continues working toward an October 9th submission of an Ontario Health Team full application to the Ministry of Health. Health care partners are co-designing the application, that will illustrate a local integrated health service delivery network, with the support and participation of a group of dedicated patient, family, caregiver partners.

The Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team Steering Committee, collaboratively developed a patient, family, caregiver partner volunteer model, and a call for participants netted nine patient, family, caregiver partners. These individuals are being embedded within the steering committee, as well as a number of working groups with objectives to support the full application.

“We recognize how important Patient & Family Advisory Committee-like structures are to bringing the patient, family and caregiver perspective into health care planning,” says Dr. David Mathies, Chair of the Muskoka and Area OHT Steering Committee. “We’ve been pleased with the response from our communities, and thank those who have shown interest in being part of our application for local health care integration and transformation.”

The Muskoka and Area OHT Steering Committee is pleased to introduce the patient, family, caregiver partners who have been recruited to support the Muskoka and Area OHT project:

Irene Wright, Huntsville
Irene is a devoted caregiver. While living in her and her husband’s home, her father-in-law was receiving crisis home care as arrangements for a placement in long-term care were being determined. Irene was able to experience at close range, the expertise, dedication and compassionate support of health care providers, and also recognized gaps in the system. Irene has had a career in health care management, organizational development, transformational system change and health care information management.

Sandra Holdsworth, Gravenhurst
Sandra is an active, driven and empowered patient/family/caregiver advocate. Sandra has lived experience through her on-going health system journey. Sandra comes to us with patient-oriented research as a patient partner with Canadian Donation Transplant Research Program and has also advised as a patient for Health Quality Ontario & Clinical Trials Ontario. Sandra recently was appointed to be on the Technical Committee of Health Standards Organization for Acute and Critical Care.

Susan McCallum, Port Sydney
As a clinician and researcher, she has witnessed the life-saving and quality-of-life achievements that accessible care can provide. She has grappled with the practical and political issues manifest in keeping pace with increasing demand and diminishing resources. Susan believed that the key to preserving our goal of affordable access to all lies with innovative and creative thinking, planning, and implementation.

Evelyn Brown, Bracebridge
Evelyn comes to us with a strong track record in community involvement and participation in health system governance. She possesses lifelong experience in teaching, leadership, motivational and organizational development. Evelyn has a strong background in patient quality and safety, and is understanding of the needs of the community, particularly seniors in Muskoka.

Sarah Chaloux, Wahta
Sarah is a proud and experienced patient advocate, with a certification from Ryerson First Nations Technical Institute in Public Administration and Governance; she is a voice for health care consumers. Sarah is also a trained doula, providing important prenatal and birthing support through the Midwives of Muskoka. Sarah is a young and dedicated mother of three, Sarah lives in Wahta Territory with her family.

Susan Keast, Gravenhurst
Susan is a person who is deeply dedicated to her community. Her dedication to improve the lives of those around her drives her love of volunteering on victim services, as president of big brothers big sisters of Muskoka, Bracebridge Muskoka Lakes Rotary, helping at the food back and much more. Susan comes to us with an established background in human resources and project management skills.

Beth Goodhew, Huntsville
Beth has worked with the health care and IT industry for over 20 years. Her experience reaches beyond Muskoka and Area and has been instrumental in delivering services that enable vital data sharing across the health care system. Beth loves the Muskoka lifestyle and is dedicated to improving her community through active participation in local causes and the MAHC Board.

Jim Smith, Huntsville
Jim is a retired IT executive who now lives in Huntsville. He has been active in his neighbourhood through the Mary Lake Highlands Cottager’s Association and the Muskoka Community Services Volunteer at tax time, where he is a volunteer. Jim has executive level IT experience through his career working at national banks and IBM and was a vice president of computing systems. Jim is excited for the opportunity to leverage his passion for innovation in IT and to assist in enhancing community interaction with the health care system.

Sandy Brodie, Huntsville
Sandy has profound lived experience in the health care system when she faced hospice and palliative care, with her sister and ex-husband. Sandy is a dedicated volunteer on the reception desk at Hospice and also delivering in-home support for people who have loved ones are also going through end-of-life treatment. Sandy believes in giving back and is devoted to shaping the health care system to meet the community’s needs.
“It is our intention to continue embedding of patient, family, caregiver partners throughout the Steering Committee and working groups, adding on as required, with the potential to form a standalone patient, family, caregiver partners table,” says Dr. Mathies.
To that end, the Muskoka and Area OHT will continue to seek community applicants who are interested in joining the patient, family, caregiver partner volunteer model. Applicants who wish to be contacted for consideration may reach out to Janine van den Heuvel, Executive Director of the Algonquin Family Health Team at


Please enter your comment!

Please enter your name here