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Northern Health Board selects new president and CEO

Ciro Panessa

After an extensive international recruitment process, Northern Health’s Board of Directors has selected Ciro Panessa as the next President & CEO of Northern Health (NH). Panessa will be starting in the role on September 5, 2023.

“After a thorough selection process, I’m thrilled to welcome Ciro Panessa as the next president and CEO of Northern Health,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, in a news release. “Ciro brings a wealth of experience that will greatly benefit people in the north, and I look forward to working together to continue to improve the health-care services that people rely on. I would also like to thank Cathy Ulrich for her many years of exceptional dedicated service to the people of northern B.C. and wish her well during her retirement.” 

The NH Board completed the search and selection process, which attracted an impressive pool of both internal and external candidates and included multiple interviews, testing and reference checking to ensure a strong candidate was selected to lead Northern Health into the future.

“The board is very happy with our selection of Ciro Panessa as the next President & CEO,” said Colleen Nyce, Chair of the Northern Health Board of Directors. “We are especially pleased that after the rigorous selection process we were able to find our next leader from within the Northern Health organization.”

Ciro was born in Prince Rupert and raised in Vancouver. He holds a Bachelor and Master of Science in Nursing from the University of British Columbia and a Family Nurse Practitioner Advanced Graduate Diploma from Athabasca University. Ciro has lived in Terrace since 2014, first as the Regional Director, Chronic Diseases and since 2017 as the Northwest Chief Operating Officer. Prior to relocating to northern BC, Ciro worked in a Ministry of Health policy position as the Director, Blood Borne Pathogens. Ciro has been the recipient of the Premier’s Award for Innovation, the UBC Young Alumnus Award, a CIHR Fellowship for the National Canadian Research Training Program in Hepatitis C and the Canadian Nurses Foundation Fellowship for Hepatology Nursing. Ciro and his family have chosen to live in the north and thoroughly enjoy the outdoors and all that northern living offers.

“I’m excited to welcome Ciro Panessa as the next president and CEO of Northern Health,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Health. “Ciro’s extensive experience in health care along with his lived experience of residing in the Northwest for many years will well-support people in rural communities across the Northern Health region. I offer much gratitude to Cathy Ulrich for her inspired leadership during her many years of service with Northern Health.”

With the selection process complete, board members wish to acknowledge and thank the each of the very strong candidates who expressed interest in the position, and who put their names forward.

“We continue to be grateful that Cathy Ulrich will continue to lead Northern Health in her role as President & CEO until Ciro’s start date,” said Nyce. “Please join me in congratulating Ciro and welcoming him to the President & CEO role, as well as in thanking Cathy for her many years of dedicated service to the people of Northern BC.”

Cathy’s last day as President & CEO will be Friday, September 1, 2023. Cathy has agreed to be available to the Northern Health Board to support the CEO orientation and transition process into the fall.


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