Getting to Know Our New President and CEO!

Getting to Know Our New President and CEO!

Our CIUSSS embarked on a new chapter of its story when Mr. Dan Éric Gabay became our new President and CEO on February 8. The Mosaïk team quickly went to meet him.

Mr. Gabay, you’ve worked in the health and social services network for quite a few years. What was it that sparked your interest in this sector?
“Back in 2006, on the first day of my first mandate as a financial management agent, I had no idea that working in the healthcare sector would become such a passion. In fact, I thought it was going to be a short-term position! However, I was working for an executive director and got to see the real complexity of the health and social services network. That won me over.

Each mandate has allowed me to discover other aspects of the challenges clinicians and patients face, the interconnectedness of different missions, and the impact that our decisions have on the provision of clinical services. It’s through these various mandates that I have developed a passion for the healthcare sector and, by extension, for developing innovative ideas to improve the quality of the care and services we provide to our community.”

What were the various roles you filled before joining our organization?
“To be honest, over the course of my career I’ve held a wide range of positions, but there are two that have had a particular impact. Both were during my time with the CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, at the Jewish General Hospital.

The first was my time as the Associate Director—Professional Services Directorate (PSD). When I worked with the PSD, I was responsible for multidisciplinary hospital services, including diagnostic and therapeutic services, as well as providing support for medical and university affairs. That role taught me the importance of clinico-administrative and medical co-management. In particular, I learned to listen to physicians and to cultivate close relationships with them. I fine-tuned the way I work with and support the development of my management teams, and acquired the agility needed for solid planning. I also learned to build a close working relationship with the Nursing Directorate.

The second one I need to mention is my work as Associate Executive Director—Operations and Transformation, a position I held until very recently. After eleven years in the clinical sector, I decided to see how things worked on the operational side. You know, to the clinical sector, administrative services or support services as they are called, often have negative connotations. You hear things like ‘it always takes so long,’ ‘nothing ever works the way you want it to,’ or ‘the money would be better spent on clinicians.’

As throughout my career, however, the administrative directorates showed me just how complex their reality is as well. Even more than that, they showed me the determination and resilience of their teams in providing the clinical teams with the support they need. In doing so, they also contribute to the quality of care and services patients receive. I quickly realized yet again that there is an interdependence between the clinical and administrative sectors. They need one another to properly fulfil their mandates.”

Could you tell us a little about your academic background?
“In 2003, I graduated from Concordia University with a bachelor’s degree in economics, and two years later I completed a master’s degree in economics at the Université de Montréal. For the past three years I have been taking courses in artificial intelligence and the digital transformation of the healthcare sector.”

How do you see your role as the President and CEO of a CIUSSS?
“Since my recent arrival at the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, I’ve often said that I accepted the mandate of President and CEO with a great deal of humility, and I will grow into this role. I think my management experience gives me a solid foundation. But it is the clinical and administrative teams who will shape me into the type of leader our organization needs now.

It’s a privilege to join the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal family, which I think is a keystone of the health and social services network.”

You’re joined a new institution. What is your vision for that institution?
“My goal for our CIUSSS is to provide an excellent client experience, which means providing quality of the care and services to all of our clienteles. When we talk about quality, we need to be able to measure that, and when we measure it, we are looking at the value generated for our community.

In tandem with our mission of proximity, I want to continue improving on our successful initiatives while also making changes in those areas that are perennial challenges. The goal is for our institution to stand out in terms of innovation. Innovation ties into two key organizational values, namely agility and partnership, as well as our academic mission.”

What priorities do you intend to focus on in the short term?
“Without a doubt, we are going to invest a lot of energy on hiring staff and on upgrading the institution’s IT and physical infrastructure. We also need to develop a culture that is more focused on measurability and the tools that we need to properly assess the value we generate for our community.

I also want to do everything we can to reverse the media’s tendency to focus on the negatives at our facilities. I have absolutely no doubt that we have competent clinical and administrative teams who are committed, dedicated, and hardworking. Our facilities abound with high-quality clinical programs, innovative projects, and success stories of all sorts. Unfortunately, those positive stories get overlooked during media maelstroms. That needs to be addressed.”

How would you define a high-performance CIUSSS?
“A high-performance CIUSSS is a CIUSSS focused on the needs of the community it serves. It’s a CIUSSS that ensures access to quality care and services that are safe, while remaining agile in response to the needs expressed by the users, patients, and residents for whom they are responsible.”

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?
“I am particularly proud of the colossal effort made by my previous team at the Quality, Transformation, Assessment, Performance, and Ethics Directorate (QTAPED) at the CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal. The efforts they made on two projects in part influenced the Plan santé put forth by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux.

The first of those projects was the creation of the Command Centre (C4). Unlike the conventional ‘command and control’ approach, this centre has become a patient-centred tool for measuring the quality of care. The clinical teams focus on the specificities of a patient, and the mechanism ensures that they receive the right care, at the right place, from the right professional, at the right time. The name C4 stands for: Care, Communicate, Collaborate and Create. Those are elements that are central to my own personal values.

I would like to mention that the Command Centre has welcomed visitors from almost all of the province’s CISSS, CIUSSS, and CHUS, along with visits by healthcare managers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Alberta. In fact, in 2022 it won a Prix d’excellence de l’administration publique in the health and social services category.

The other project I’d like to mention is the implementation of virtual wards at home. It’s an initiative that came about through some remarkable interdisciplinary collaboration. And the results speak for themselves: a satisfaction rate of 93%, more hospital beds available, a harmonized approach between the hospital and home care teams, and VIP care (physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and others). In other words, clinical practice evolved so that care could be provided to the patient where it was needed.

That project garnered the CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal well-deserved acknowledgment when it was awarded the Grand prix Hippocrate. It recognizes excellence in patient care provided by a team of interdisciplinary healthcare professionals.”

Is there a message you would like to share with the employees and managers of our organization?
“It is a privilege to join the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal. I am determined to meet your needs so that together we can develop our CIUSSS into one harmonious institution. An institution that is focused on the users, the patients, and the residents, where everyone is treated with dignity. An institution that is agile and innovative, and that develops that partnerships it needs to continue moving forward.”

Mr. Gabay also agreed to share a little bit about his personal life.

How do you relax and take some time away from work?
“My go-to is physical exercise. I also enjoy taking walks with my dog.”

What motivates you?
“I love people who are passionate. People who are willing to lead with courage, in that they take the right path, not necessarily the easiest path. I also enjoy the challenge of complex problems.”

Do you have a hidden talent?
“I like to draw and to play chess.”

What’s something few people know about you?
“It may come as a surprise, but I appreciate hip-hop music.”

Do you have a personal motto?
“One would be ‘In management, you are only as strong as your weakest link.’ Another one I often invoke is ‘one for all and all for one.’ I think it nicely summarizes the teamwork we saw during the pandemic, which ties in nicely with We’re Stronger Together.”

Thank you, Mr. Gabay, for having taken the time to answer our questions, and welcome to our CIUSSS family!

Shortly after joining our CIUSSS, Mr. Gabay visited the Lakeshore General Hospital and dropped in to meet the staff at the ER.

Our new President and CEO chatting with a member of the staff in the surgical unit (3 West) at the Lakeshore General Hospital.

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