What makes Waterloo Region different? Incoming St. Mary’s General Hospital Board Chair, Tom Motz says, “Resilience.”
“Manufacturing and business in this Region have overcome many challenges,” recounts Tom. “Lang Tannery, for example, was once the largest leather producer in the British Empire and it is long gone. We had a booming rubber industry which employed thousands of people in our community. More recently, look at the changes that took place at Research In Motion. Time and time again we have overcome what could have been devastating blows to our Region. And now we have a thriving technology sector. I don’t know of many other communities that could have kept reinventing themselves the way we have.”
As the fourth generation in his family to serve in an advisory role at St. Mary’s, Tom recognizes that over the years the healthcare sector has also learned what it means to be resilient. In the late ‘90s local hospitals were faced with a choice; consolidate duplicate services or face closures. Regional healthcare providers rose to the challenge and began finding ways to work cohesively in an effort to improve hospital services.
“Many people don’t realize the tremendous amount of cooperation between hospitals in this community. It’s a collaborative approach to healthcare that has really evolved to focus on what is best for the patient,” states Tom, “And the community helped to make that possible. It was because they came together in support of the One Voice One Vision Campaign that we now have specialized services available, close to home.”
“When I first started volunteering on the Mission, Ethics and Quality Committee at St. Mary’s in 1997, residents of Waterloo Region were still considered second class citizens when it came to healthcare,” Tom recalls. Being situated between London, Hamilton and Toronto meant having to travel outside of the Region for many types of specialty care.
Today, St. Mary’s continues to seek out innovative solutions to eliminate inefficiencies within the system. “The implementation of LEAN thinking has helped St. Mary’s adapt to the increased demand for services and the rise in patient age and acuity,” boasts Tom.
It’s a bold strategy that is helping make significant changes in a sector continuously asked to do more with less. “My family feels truly blessed to have been part of healthcare in this community for so many years,” states Tom, who follows his uncle, Paul Motz, his grandfather, John Motz, and great-grandfather, W.J. Motz in a long line of ambassadors for St. Mary’s. “As advisors, volunteers and leadership donors to St. Mary’s we remain committed to supporting the hospital when they need it, so that in turn, it is able to do the same for our family.”