Three new members appointed to Northern Health board

The province has made three new appointments to the Northern Health Authority board.

The province has appointed Wilfred (Wilf) Adam, Patricia Sterritt and John Kurjata to the board. In addition, Stephanie Killam has been re-appointed to the board. Outgoing board members are: Maurice Squires and Benjamin Sander.

Wilf Adam was born in Burns Lake, grew up in a small community called Pendleton Bay, and later returned to live in Burns Lake. Adam represented the Lake Babine Nation for over 27 years in different capacities, including serving as chief for 17 years. He has also been elected six times as Commissioner of the B.C. Treaty Commission. Adam is a co-founder of the Burns Lake Law Centre.

John Kurjata is a partner at SKK, an accounting firm based in Dawson Creek. Before studying to become a chartered professional accountant, Kurjata owned and managed businesses in the trucking industry. He is currently a director on the Lake View Credit Union board of directors since 2015, and was elected chair in April 2018. He was also a board member of Community Futures Peace Liard for 15 years, including being part of the self-employment and loans committees, and was a past chair. Kurjata was appointed to the Northern Lights College board of governors in 2011, elected vice-chair in 2012 and was elected board chair in 2015.

Patricia Sterritt is of Tsimshian ancestry, belonging to the Gitga’at Tribe of Hartley Bay. Sterritt served on the Hartley Bay Band council from 1996 to 2005. She was the director of social services for the North Coast Tribal Council for 10 years. Sterritt worked with multicultural organizations committed to serving people, building relationships, establishing communication strategies and creating outreach programs. She was the primary point of contact for the bands with all provincial and federal government agencies and worked with federal department heads, staff and university faculty to develop curriculum for band social workers that resulted in the UVic social work degree program in the North.

“These new appointees bring a depth of experience from the public and private sectors, local and First Nations government, civil society, labour, health care and research,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, in a news release. “Their diversity in background, perspective and expertise, and shared commitment to public service further strengthen our health authority boards, during a pivotal time. The boards are playing a key role in helping government accomplish its goals related to restoring a strong public health-care system, innovation and ensuring the needs of a diverse patient population are understood and met.”

Indigenous representation on the health authority boards is also increasing. Each health authority now has two board members of First Nations background.

The appointments, made in conjunction with several board terms expiring, include 14 new board members and 12 reappointments.

New members appointed to health authority boards include: Allan Louis and Karen Hamling to Interior Health; Marilyn Slett to the Vancouver Coastal Health board; Sandra Harris, Donisa Bernardo and Dr. Kerry Jang to the Provincial Health Services and the British Columbia Emergency Health Services boards; Joanne Mills and Manpreet Grewal to Fraser Health; Alana Nast and Fred Pattje to the Island Health board.

In addition to the new board members, the following people have been reappointed: Tammy Tugnum, Dennis Rounsville and Diane Jules as board members for Interior Health; Howard Harowitz, Allan Baydala and Clifford Fregin as board members for Vancouver Coastal Health; Robert Kiesman, Chief Clarence Louie and Sharon Stromdahl as board members for the Provincial Health Services Authority and the British Columbia Emergency Health Services boards; Robina Thomas as a board member for Island Health.

Health authority boards are responsible for the governance and oversight of health services in the province. They work with health authority leadership to establish the organization’s overall vision and ensure there is appropriate community consultation. Boards also regularly review the organization’s long-term plans, identify significant issues affecting the organization and evaluate results.