New interim CEO at Health PEI
January 3, 2024
CHARLOTTETOWN – Corinne Rowswell (pictured) has become the interim chief executive officer for Health PEI. She previously served as the chief operating officer for Health PEI since May 2021. Rowswell is a registered nurse with over 35 years of healthcare experience. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and a Master’s in Public Administration.
She has worked as a front-line nurse in acute care, home care, palliative care and public health in Nova Scotia, PEI, Quebec and Ontario.
Throughout her career she has worked with patients, families, healthcare providers and community programs towards safe and supportive transitions in care, particularly from acute care settings to home based care.
Rowswell credits working with people and their families, particularly at their most vulnerable time of life, as fundamentally shaping how she practiced nursing in a collaborative inter- disciplinary team and working towards patient-centred care.
In 2018, Rowswell transitioned to working with the broader Health and Wellness team, leading key strategic initiatives and played a leadership role in the COVID-19 response before returning to operations with Health PEI in 2021.
Rowswell is replacing former CEO Dr. Michael Gardam, who resigned over the impact of a new medical school may have on the province’s healthcare system, according to news reports.
“I worry that the medical school is going to damage all the good work, and the stuff that we’ve started to be able to really make a difference on here,” he told CTV News. “Frankly, I don’t want to be part of that.”
The medical school being built at the University of Prince Edward Island and is coming along quickly, but questions remain about the negative impacts it could have on an already stressed and understaffed healthcare system.
Dr. Gardam said there was a lack of consultation by the province and UPEI.
However, Paul Young, UPEI Medical School’s chief operating officer, said they are working with Health PEI and, although there are challenges, the school will serve as a recruiting beacon, and medical residents will be able to assist in the delivery of healthcare.
“We know that we have physicians on P.E.I. today that have chosen to stay because the medical school was coming,” said Young. “We have physicians that have come to P.E.I. because the medical school was coming, and we have an incredible amount of reach out, weekly in our offices about prospective physicians.”
Young said there will be a final report released in the new year with proposed solutions to challenges faced by the school.
Among the biggest is a lack of doctors. About one in five positions on the Island are empty.
Dr. Gardam said a medical school could require double the physicians, and he worries that means doctors will have to scale back clinical work to teach, further reducing access to healthcare.
“It’s worrisome if we think we’re going to ram it through no matter what,” said Dr. Gardam. “It makes me feel like the medical school is a higher priority than our healthcare system, and I don’t believe that that should be true.”
The medical school is set to accept its first class in fall 2025.