Michael Decter resigns as Health
Health Council of Canada Vice Chair Dr. Jeanne Besner has agreed to
serve as interim Chair following the resignation of founding Chair
Michael Decter (pictured).
“I believe I have fulfilled the mandate I accepted three years ago,
which was to be the Council’s Founding Chair. I’m proud of our
achievements and very positive about the future potential of the
Council,” Decter said. “It has been an educational, challenging and
rewarding experience and a pleasure to collaborate with a great group of
Councillors, drawn from all regions and walks of life, on our shared
goal of accelerating healthcare renewal.”
Decter told reporters at a conference that he now intends to focus on
environmental issues. He has been partly inspired by the example of
former U.S. vice president Al Gore, who has been actively promoting
solutions to environmental problems.
Decter spoke with Mr. Gore at a conference in Mont-Tremblant, Que. As
Decter told the Globe and Mail: “I guess it came home to me, talking to
Al Gore, and then listening to him. I figure, if things go well, I may
have a couple of decades that would make an impact in a positive way
before leaving my kids the planet.”
As a coda to his performance in the healthcare sector, Decter has a book
coming out this fall with colleague and fellow expert Francesca Grosso
on helping patients navigate the Canadian healthcare system.
Decter oversaw the start-up of the Health Council of Canada, the release
of two major annual reports on the status of Canadian health care
renewal, a summit on health human resources, numerous background papers
and several special reports.
For her part, Dr. Jeanne Besner has been the Director, Research
Initiatives in Nursing and Health with the Calgary Health Region since
February 2001. She has served as a public health nurse and nurse
practitioner in northern nursing stations, Provincial Nurse
Epidemiologist, and Director of Public Health Nursing. She will offer to
help the Council’s member governments select a new chair.
The Council also formally welcomed two new members and one returning
Dr. Stanley Vollant is the newly appointed director of the Aboriginal
Program at the University of Ottawa’s School of Medicine. A Quebec
surgeon and former president of the Quebec Medical Association, Vollant
was the first Aboriginal Canadian to be named to the board of the
Canadian Medical Association. He fills a vacancy in the Council left by
the departure of Nellie Cournoyea.
Mike Shaw has served a number of senior positions in the Saskatchewan
government and has been Associate Deputy Minister with Saskatchewan
Health since 2003. He replaces Duncan Fisher as the Saskatchewan
government representative on the Council.
Dr. Brian Postl returns to the Health Council of Canada from a leave of
absence to work with the federal, provincial and territorial governments
on wait times reduction. Postl is a pediatrician and community medicine
physician as well as President and CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health
This month, the Council will be in Winnipeg for the release of a special
report on the health of Canada’s children and youth. The report,
entitled Their Future Is Now: Healthy Choices for Canada’s Children and
Youth, as well as a video documentary on the topic, will be available at
The Health Council of Canada, created by the 2003 First Ministers’
Accord on Health Care Renewal following the recommendations of the
Romanow and Kirby reports, is mandated to monitor and report on the
progress of healthcare renewal in Canada.
The 26 Councillors were appointed by the participating provinces,
territories and the Government of Canada and have expertise and broad
experience in community care, Aboriginal health, nursing, health
education and administration, finance, medicine and pharmacy.