TORONTO – The University Health Network has announced the appointment of Justine Jackson (pictured) as interim CEO. The post was vacated when Dr. Robert Bell, the former CEO, joined the Ontario Ministry of Health as Deputy Minister.
Since January 2012, Jackson has been the Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, accountable for UHN’s $1.9 billion operating budget, $100+ million capital budget, and creating UHN’s five, 10, and 20 year development plan.
As interim CEO, Jackson will continue moving the Advanced Clinical Documentation project forward, while keeping pace with family and patient expectations using the partners-in-care model, and sustaining momentum around UHN’s strategic plan.
“The first thing I say to everyone I meet with is ‘how can I help?’” said Jackson. “I want to make sure nothing comes to a halt inadvertently. If there is anything I need to do to keep things moving forward, that’s my number one job.”
Jackson explains that she’s also comfortable asking for help and knows where to find it.
“I will look to the leaders of this organization for guidance,” said Jackson. “At UHN, there is always an expert in something, and I have a good sense of where to go. That’s where my 30 years here will be very helpful.”
In 2004, Jackson took on one of her most memorable roles as Executive Director of Operations & Controller for Toronto Western Hospital (TWH), where she was responsible for developing and delivering the operating budget, and accountable for clinical programs including: Neuroscience Program, Arthritis Program and Allied Health.
“In all my time here, I’ve never known anyone to go from the finance side to the clinical side – that was a really spectacular opportunity for me,” said Jackson.
She remembers how rewarding it was to see the patient impact firsthand in the operating room (OR). “I remember walking into a brain surgery case with a neurosurgeon. He was six hours in and had not yet reached the surgical site. He had to move things aside for six hours, making his way to the tumour,” said Jackson. “The OR is a beautiful microclimate of healthcare. You see the clinical team at work, the preparation time required, the clean-up afterward – even the theatre throughout the moments of tension, when it’s easy, when it’s hard – you see all of that within an OR case.”
Jackson has been through four UHN integrations – and describes how the organization continues to thrive.
“Brilliant things have come out of every UHN integration – what binds us together is our drive for improving things,” said Jackson. “That’s what the research hospital is about – we have a desire to improve at all levels and thrive on doing the tough stuff.