Distinguished contributions to health care in the Sault


Sault Area Hospital (SAH) held its 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on June 20, 2016. The AGM focused on the many successes over the last year, as well as the challenges faced and expectations for the future.

For 2016/2017, Greg Peres will serve as Chair, Reg St-Amour will serve as 1st Vice Chair and Debbie Romani will serve as 2nd Vice Chair. CEO Ron Gagnon will remain Secretary to the Board in an ex-officio capacity. Two members were reappointed for three-year terms – Connie Witty and Mario Turco.

The AGM was highlighted by the fifth annual presentation of the SAH iCcare Awards, established by the SAH Board in 2011. These awards acknowledge an employee, volunteer and physician who consistently demonstrate the values of SAH – Integrity, Compassion, Collaboration and Partnership, Accountability, Respect and Excellence. The 2016 recipients were Shauna Hynna (employee), Lawrence Conway (posthumously) (volunteer) and Dr. Silvana Spadafora (physician).

The meeting concluded with the much-anticipated presentation of the prestigious Dr. William Hutchinson Award. Presented annually by the SAH Board of Directors, this award recognizes distinguished contributions to health care in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma. The 2016 recipient was Dr. Sharon Buehner.

SAH congratulates all award recipients for their dedicated service to the residents of Sault Ste. Marie and the Algoma region.

The 2015/2016 SAH Annual Report is available online at www.sah.on.ca

Dr. William Hutchinson Award

Dr. Sharon Buehner

Dr. Sharon Buehner was instrumental in the development of a palliative care program for the residents of Algoma. It was through her vision, passion and perseverance that our community now has access to a multi-disciplinary team which provides outpatient, home, hospice, clinic, and hospital-based palliative care services.

Dr. Buehner provided exceptional palliative care long before the development of an organized palliative care team or program. Under her guidance, the palliative program in Algoma has expanded and flourished.  She has worked tirelessly since the late 1990’s to improve palliative care in our region. She began caring for Algoma Residential Community Hospice (ARCH) residents and their families when it first opened in September 2008. In fact, her involvement preceded this, as she was involved in the planning stages of the residential hospice.

In addition to providing care to residents at ARCH, Dr. Buehner is ARCH’s Medical Advisor, serving on their Board of Directors and the Quality Committee. Dr. Buehner has developed case-based learning for ARCH nursing staff, operates an outpatient palliative clinic and is involved in the annual fundraising events, not to mention the work she does at a regional level. Dr. Buehner is an Associate Professor of Medicine with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. She is an excellent preceptor for medical learners of all levels in both Emergency Medicine and Palliative Care and an outstanding mentor for her colleagues, having fostered the education of physicians, nurses and staff to provide exceptional care.

For the past two years, Dr. Buehner has continued to advocate for enhancements in palliative care service. She was instrumental in the current implementation of a palliative outreach service, which aims to assist people to stay in their preferred area of care until end-of-life, and ensure quality supports are in place during this time.

In 2014, Dr. Buehner was the recipient of the Sault Area Hospital Physician iCcare Award. Regionally, Dr. Buehner’s vision was recognized by the NE LHIN. Her Palliative Shared Care Model proposal resulted in funding for the development of a dedicated palliative database. This achievement is a direct result of Dr. Buehner’s hard work and it supports her vision for continued expansion and growth of palliative care services within the community.

Dr. Buehner is a true champion of palliative care services in Algoma and her vision and commitment are unwavering.  Her outstanding dedication to excellence and quality is evident in all facets of her work, consistently going above and beyond the requirements of her role. She demonstrates passion, commitment and advocacy, along with a deep sense of caring and genuine kindness toward others.
iCcare Awards

Lawrence Conway (Posthumously) – Volunteer

Lawrence (Larry) served as a patient advisor on the Sault Area Hospital Patient and Family Advisory Council from October 2014 until his passing in February, 2016. Larry had a humble nature, soft spirit, a positive attitude and a wonderful sense of humour. Despite Larry’s many health issues, he contributed greatly to improving patient care at Sault Area Hospital. Whenever there was an opportunity for patient engagement, Larry was one of the first advisors to participate.  Larry demonstrated integrity through his unwavering commitment to ensuring the patient/family voice was heard through all of his interactions and through his strong commitment to his role within the organization.  He was involved in a number of activities which required many hours of Larry’s time. He was quick to embrace the iCcare values and bring them to life in his relationships with both internal and external partners.  Larry always ensured that the patient voice was at the centre of discussions and interactions.  His presence allowed for candid discussions and he had an ability to de-escalate tense situations to best deliver constructive and meaningful feedback. Larry took great pride in his role as a patient and family advisor and would have been extremely humbled and honored to be recognized as the successful recipient of this award.

Shauna Hynna – Employee

Shauna is the Director of Transformation and has been instrumental in leading positive change at Sault Area Hospital. She is friendly, compassionate, respectful, and truly listens to her colleagues. Shauna has a contagious energy that exudes positivity and this is quickly evident in all her interactions with patients, staff, physicians and volunteers. She leads by example and during her time at Sault Area Hospital, she has become a role model and mentor of those she works with. Shauna embodies all the iCcare values, having been instrumental in leading “Our iCcare Way” and ensuring that our values are embedded in all interactions across the hospital.  Shauna has led Sault Area Hospital’s Lean efforts, a foundational tool used to ensure that the values of iCcare are alive and well.  She believes that those who do the work can change the work and is committed to sharing these successes across the hospital.  She has a deep commitment to patient care and demonstrates our iCcare values in all facets of her work. Although she does not provide direct patient care, Shauna is often seen in our corridors interacting with patients and their families. Shauna is a dedicated leader, often going above and beyond her role. She works tirelessly with the ultimate goal of improving patient care and realizing Sault Area Hospital’s vision of “best”.

Dr. Silvana Spadafora – Physician

Dr. Spadafora is a Medical Oncologist and the Medical Director for the Algoma District Cancer Program (ADCP). She is also an Assistant Professor for Northern Ontario School of Medicine and Regional Quality Lead.  She has been described by patients as someone who works tirelessly to ensure that they receive the best care during their difficult journey. Dr. Spadafora has a great ability to communicate with her patients and their families. She is a mentor for students, an inspiration to her colleagues and a positive influence for her patients and their families. Dr. Spadafora is an admirable physician leader and there is great harmony in the ADCP largely due to her integrity and genuineness. She is a role model and both physicians and staff have great respect for her as a leader and a colleague. She leads by example and has inspired her staff to do the same. The ADCP, with the strong support and leadership of Dr. Spadafora established the inaugural Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) at Sault Area Hospital. It has been a great success and has led to the establishment of two other PFACs, with more planned. In addition, Dr. Spadafora has been very instrumental in implementing innovative practices, pursuing staff development opportunities and assisting with physician recruitment at Sault Area Hospital.  Dr. Spadafora truly exemplifies Sault Area Hospital’s iCcare values and we are fortunate to have this truly amazing physician among us.