Interior Health board chair Doug Cochrane congratulates outgoing IH president and CEO Chris Mazurkewich (right) on his retirement. Photo: Barry Gerding/Black Press

Retiring farewell for Interior Health CEO

Chris Mazurkewich attends final IH board meeting

The retiring president and chief executive officer for Interior Health says he will miss the humanity that drives our regional health care system.

Chris Mazurkewich says that humanity is translated from the people who work in the health care system to deliver services, to the personal responses he receives from others thanking him for the care they or their loved ones received.

“It’s a good feeling knowing there are some positive things happening in health care today. People come up to me and relate those stories first-hand about their own health care experiences, but it’s not about me. It’s about all those people working in our health care system making a positive impact on the communities they serve.

“I like that about Interior Health, that we are doing something positive for communities. It’s not always about the bottom line, but about people caring for people.”

Mazurkewich attended his final Interior Health board meeting on Tuesday in Kelowna. The next board meeting Dec. 3 will bring the arrival of his already hired successor Susan Brown, who officially takes over her new job Oct. 29.

RELATED: New CEO appointed for Interior Health

Mazurkewich has spent more than 20 years with Interior Health, appointed president and CEO of Interior Health in October 2015. Prior to that he was executive vice-president and chief operating officer at Alberta Health Services for four years, overseeing the clinical operations of the Alberta health service delivery system, including over 100 hospital, residential, community care and support service programs.

Prior to that, from 2002 to 2009, Mazurkewich was IH’s chief operating officer in charge of strategic and corporate services.

IH board chair Doug Cochrane wished Mazurkewich well in his pending retirement, saying “his legacy will not be forgotten.”

Mazurkewich was given a reminder about that legacy regarding his efforts to upgrade the level of health care within Indigenous communities across the health region when he was invited to a First Nations gathering at The Delta Grand Conference Centre last spring.

“There were more than 150 in attendance and they sang a song for me, which was a very humbling appreciation of what Interior Health has done for First Nations health services in recent years,” he said. “That was something that for me personally was very powerful.”

Mazurkewich says looking forward, technology continues to drive change in health care, fostered by aging baby boomer demographic that is living longer.

“At the same time, it’s important not to lose the humanity in health care, the personal touch, the smile when a health care provider asks how a patient is doing, why they look worried.

“Those kind of things are a goldmine for someone in a hospital in a distraught situation who just needs someone to talk to, to listen to them. That’s all part of creating a community of care.”

That legacy also endured a rough patch last year when an internal survey of 500 management staff across the health region offering widespread negative views of Mazurkewich’s leadership.

RELATED: Interior Health managers voice discontent

RELATED: IH works to improve staff morale

At the time, Mazurkewich said the survey response left him humbled, but he also reiterated the importance the chief executive officer and health board play in creating a positive work culture within the health authority.

When he leaves the Interior Health headquarters on Ellis Street for the last time, Mazurkewich says he plans to just chill and slow down, removed from the pressure cooker of health care management.

“I want to take it easy for six months and regroup,” he said.

He and his wife plan to travel in their retirement and dote on their first grandchild, who was born in August here in Kelowna.



barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm projects keep rolling thanks to taxpayers’ early payments

‘Speed hump’ to go on Okanagan Avenue adjacent to Fletcher Park

Sicamous arena upgrade project grows, funding approval needed

An additional $100,000 needed to complete expanded project

Sicamous asks people to use face masks, not police others

Face masks recommended for any indoor public place where physical distancing isn’t possible

Roots and Blues online festival live tonight on Black Press Media

Tune in to Black Press Media to watch the festival live Aug. 14, 15 and 16

Okanagan COVID-19 case count growth slows

BCCDC data shows a stark contrast between Okanagan-specific numbers released in July and August

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Vernon pedestrian struck dies from injuries

Emergency responders are on scene on Main Street near the CIBC, traffic affected

UPDATE: Fire in Lake Country a “smoke chase”

A water bomber reportedly took off from Penticton and is on the way to Lake Country

Kelowna man convicted of not paying taxes after turbulent trial

Man claims he doesn’t meet the definition of a ‘person’ under the federal Income Tax Act

Accused in Kelowna’s 2018 Canada Day killing granted bail more than 1.5 years later

Esa Carriere was stabbed to death during the Canada Day fireworks in downtown Kelowna in 2018

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Most Read