New UHN CEO assumes office

After a successful career as a cancer surgeon, researcher, professor and hospital administrator, the past 20 years of it in Houston at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Peter Pisters is back in Canada.  Monday, January 5, 2015 marks the first day in the office for the new President and CEO of UHN and native of St. Catharines, Ontario.

Dr. Pisters, who was appointed President and CEO in August and assumed the role on January 1, made three trips to UHN over the summer and fall to meet with staff and begin to get to know the place. Through all the tours, discussions and meetings, he was struck by the passion employees have for their jobs.

“There’s so much passion in the organization for the work that people do for the patients, the research they carry out and the critical role in education that they hold,” Dr. Pisters says. “When I asked people what they liked about their work, invariably they would respond by talking about their team, the feedback they get from the patients they serve, and how much they love the team that they’re on."

“It’s a sign of really profound organizational health when you see people who are so happy, so enthused, so energized by the work that they’re doing.”

The initial months on the job will be spent learning about the organization, Dr. Pisters says.

“I know there are things going on at UHN that are fantastic that I don’t even know about,” he says. “And, I don’t suppose we should develop a vision or a strategy without knowing about those things.”

Dr. Pisters says the timing for taking on this new role at UHN “couldn’t be better” both personally and professionally. Not only is he young enough “to have substantial impact working with a great team in a fantastic organization,” but, he adds, the evolution of health care delivery, transformational changes in science and medicine, and financial pressures make it a dynamic time in the sector.

“I think we’re at an incredible inflection point right now,” Dr. Pisters says. “And, I believe that amazing things are going to happen in the next 10 years.”

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A message from Dr. Peter Pisters

In Photo (UHN): Dr. Pisters chats with staff at the Toronto Rehab barbecue in September.