Ontario Health Team of Northumberland welcomes incoming executive lead Andrea Groff

'Experienced health care leader' will join the partnership of patients, caregivers, and health and community care providers in April

Andrea Groff, previously executive director with the All Family Health Team in Markham, will joine the Ontario Health Team of Northumberland as its new executive lead in April 2024. (Photo courtesy of Ontario Health Team of Northumberland)
Andrea Groff, previously executive director with the All Family Health Team in Markham, will joine the Ontario Health Team of Northumberland as its new executive lead in April 2024. (Photo courtesy of Ontario Health Team of Northumberland)

In its ongoing work aimed at improving the health care system in Northumberland, the Ontario Health Team of Northumberland (OHT-N) is welcoming aboard a new executive lead.

The collaborative has announced the incoming OHT-N executive lead will be Andrea Groff.

The OHT-N is a county-wide team of patients, caregivers, physicians and health and community care providers working together to enhance co-ordination and experience of local health and community services. In recent years, OHT-N partners successfully launched three priority health care projects in Northumberland County — a volunteer peer support initiative, a community paramedicine program, and the region’s first rural outreach clinic.

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Key to coordinating OHT-N operations and advancing the work of OHT-N priority projects, Groff’s role will support OHT-N Collaboration Council partners as they advance the priorities identified by the community and set out in their 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, noted a media release.

Joining the OHT-N this month, Groff previously served as an executive director with the All Family Health Team in Markham.

“Andrea joins the OHT-N as an experienced health care leader at a very exciting time,” said Susan Walsh, Northumberland Hills Hospital president and CEO, and OHT-N co-chair.

“Northumberland was one of the first 24 Ontario Health Teams (OHT) in the province and we are more committed than ever to achieving the province’s vision of a better connected, people-centred health care system. Our partnership has grown, and other voices are welcomed to move this work forward. We require strong leadership at the centre to support the great ambitions we have, and we are confident that Andrea has the skills and energy to move the OHT-N’s work forward.”

Groff has a combination of experience in interprofessional primary care, addiction and mental health, home and community care and teaching, and possesses a master’s degree in health leadership. OHT-N said she brings hands-on expertise in both leadership and operations in all the priority areas the OHT-N is striving to enhance.

Experienced in regional advisory councils aimed at improving integrated care, as well as stakeholder engagement and quality improvement, Groff “has a values-based and collaborative leadership style, with a proven track record for change advocacy,” the release noted.

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The OHT-N team has grown considerably since its launch in December 2019. It was redirected to focus on coordinating the local response to COVID-19, but OHT-N partners also successfully launched the three priority projects in Northumberland:

  • The rural outreach clinic (ROC) in Cramahe Township is part of OHT-N efforts to bring services to rural community locations in Northumberland. The aim is to reduce barriers to care such as access, transportation and outreach challenges. Colborne ROC services are provided through a collaboration of OHT-N partners and Cramahe Township.
  • Northumberland Paramedics’ Community Paramedicine programs deliver non-emergency in-home health care directly to residents in need. These preventative care programs support vulnerable community members and seniors in the community, while also helping to manage the high demand for emergency services, hospitals and clinics.
  • Partnering with Community Care Northumberland to train volunteers, the peer support initiative matches volunteers with older adults living with complex conditions. The connection aims to enhance the client’s well-being and independence by improving social supports and access to community resources.

OHT-N co-chairs recently facilitated a day of planning with community partners and local patient and caregivers with lived experience.

They stepped away from the event with an outline for the operational priorities for the year ahead, and a renewed commitment to four specific priorities: improving access to primary and specialty care and services in the region, supporting older adults with complex conditions to live and age well at home, improving access and services for those who have mental health and addiction needs, and digital transformation.

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“We have all been working hard to set and move forward the OHT-N priorities that are right for this community at this time,” said Taryn Rennicks, executive director, Community Health Centres of Northumberland, and OHT-N co-chair.

“The focused leadership that Andrea will bring, at this time, cannot be understated. We have much work to do and we are thrilled that she has chosen to bring her skills and experience to Northumberland.”

The province’s vision is to have all health care coordinated through OHTs in the future. Initially, OHTs will test this model of care through targeted projects serving specific populations.

Northumberland County has a population with more seniors than the rest of Ontario. Many residents live in rural areas. As a result, the OHT-N’s initial focus has been to co-ordinate health care services for older adults living with complex conditions and rural populations — specifically those who experience barriers to care.

For more information about the OHT-N, visit www.ohtnorthumberland.ca, email info@ohtnorthumberland.ca, or call 905-376-7206.