Abstract

One of my favourite quotes of all time is from Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face." I've had plenty of opportunities to test that philosophy in my first year as President and CEO of North York General Hospital (NYGH).

"Fear," I have discovered, is a relative term. While I don't think that I have been truly afraid - in the sense of being overcome by anxiety - at any point during the various challenges over the past 12 months, I have certainly had moments of trepidation, the kind of unease that comes from being in unexpected and often unfamiliar territory.

My inaugural year at NYGH was neatly bisected; the two halves were marked by decidedly different challenges. The first six months brought its share of difficulties, and with it some tests of will on my part. But it all paled in comparison with what followed, as we coped with the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - the mysterious, lethal disease we have all come to know by the acronym SARS.

So as I look back on Year One at NYGH, I cannot help but divide it into pre-SARS and post-SARS segments. Each brought its own trials and tribulations - opportunities to "look fear in the face," if you will.