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Regional health centre welcomes new president and CEO

'It is ... a tremendous privilege to join such a world-class organization that is poised to expand so significantly,' says Gail Hunt who started new role today
gail hunt1
Gail Hunt is the new president and CEO of the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.

Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre is pleased to welcome Gail Hunt as its new president and chief executive officer.

Hunt, an experienced, high-performing hospital executive and team-builder, assumed the position at RVH July 4. She succeeds Janice Skot who recently retired after 18 years at the helm.

Hunt is no stranger to RVH or the region. As president and CEO of Midland’s Georgian Bay General Hospital for the past five years, she worked closely with RVH, developing numerous partnerships and joint initiatives.

“There were many factors that drew me to RVH: its reputation for excellence; patient focus; commitment to safety; strongly rooted values and forward-thinking culture,” says Hunt. “It is incredibly inspiring and a tremendous privilege to join such a world-class organization that is poised to expand so significantly.”

Hunt is an approachable, collaborative leader who is passionate about building strong partnerships and high-performing teams. She brings to RVH over 20 years’ experience as a healthcare CEO and has earned a reputation for achieving results and inspiring others.

Prior to her posting at GBGH, Hunt, who holds Masters in Business Administration and an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from Laurentian University, spent 16 years as the CEO of Chapleau Health Services in Northern Ontario, a provider which managed all aspects of healthcare delivery, including primary, acute and long-term care.

“While in Northern Ontario, I learned how important collaboration and integration is as a way to improve access to care and optimize expertise and resources,” says Hunt. “I am committed to working with RVH’s partners, whether they are in healthcare, education, community, business or government, to find new ways to work together to address pent-up demand for hospital services, health human resource challenges and fiscal pressures.”

Hunt says the well-being of RVH’s employees and credentialed staff is also one of her highest priorities.

“The pandemic has taken its toll on healthcare workers as they struggled to balance the heavy load of caring for their patients and their families,” she says. “I know the community is grateful for TEAM RVH’s commitment, compassion and perseverance and, as we emerge from the pandemic, we need to ensure supports are in place to help our staff and physicians reacquaint, recharge and renew. We also look forward to the day we can safely welcome our beloved ‘Blue Brigade’ volunteers back to the health centre.”

Hunt was the unanimous choice of the CEO search committee and RVH Board Chair Doug Frost says, “Having worked in the region, Gail is very familiar with RVH, as well as the healthcare needs, challenges and partners in Simcoe Muskoka. She is committed to high quality, safe, patient-centred care and will advocate for the resources RVH needs to expand and meet the needs of our growing region.”

RVH recently received a $2.5 million provincial grant to accelerate its expansion plans and Hunt says she’s “anxious to work with government, our community and donors to secure formal approval and the funding needed to build the South Campus in Innisfil and double the size of the current North Campus. The entire region counts on RVH for its specialized services, advanced technology and skilled experts. What an exciting time to join this dynamic, growing organization.”

Hunt's full message to the community follows.

I’m thrilled and humbled to join TEAM RVH as its new president and CEO. To lead such a world-class organization is incredibly inspiring and a tremendous privilege.

There were many factors that drew me to RVH: its reputation for excellence; patient focus; commitment to safety; strongly rooted values and forward-thinking culture.

I worked closely with RVH over the past five years as president and CEO of Midland’s Georgian Bay General Hospital and I witnessed the important role Royal Vic plays. Patients from across Simcoe Muskoka rely on the health centre for its cutting-edge technology and specialized services not available elsewhere in the region, including advanced cancer and cardiac services, child and youth mental health inpatient care and high-tech medical imaging.

RVH is a very busy regional health centre, logging almost half-a-million patient visits last year. And I know, when you leave RVH, what stays with you isn’t necessarily the technology, the team’s knowledge or even the beautiful facility. What you remember is how you were treated.

I strongly believe that in our drive for progress and expansion, we must never lose the respect, kindness and compassion that TEAM RVH is known for. A hospital is so much more than a building and beds. The real magic comes from its people, and how each of us finds ways to always put patients at the centre of everything we do.

RVH has a reputation as a dynamic and innovative regional centre, always striving for excellence while building an exciting future to meet the healthcare needs of rapidly growing Simcoe Muskoka. I’m excited to be part of that future as RVH advances its plan to double the size of the North Campus and develop the new South Campus in Innisfil.

I join RVH during a significant and challenging time. COVID has taken its toll on everyone, but none more so than healthcare workers. As we emerge from the pandemic, I want to ensure RVH’s staff and physicians have supports in place to help them recover, reacquaint and re-energize. RVH will, indeed, build back better.

For 125 years, RVH has been the heart of this community. I’m honoured to work alongside TEAM RVH, our partners, elected representatives, donors and our community as we embrace an equally exciting future.