Dip.P.H.(Man.); B.Sc.Nurs.(Vic.B.C.); M.B.A.(Healthcare)(City University, Seattle)
Leah Hollins, a powerhouse generator oforiginal thoughts and solutions, changed the Canadian medical system with a radical idea: join together. Ms Hollins identified a gap in organ and tissue donation and transplantation when she boldly stated, “Canada needs an integrated national organ donation system.” She envisioned a solution that involved a revolutionary change in the way organs and tissues are donated and supplied in Canada. Her tireless and inexhaustible energy ultimately facilitated the transfer of responsibility for organ and tissue donation and transplantation (OTDT) from the Canadian Council for Donation and Transplantation to Canadian Blood Services (CBS). She is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of CBS, Canada’s national (save Quebec) blood system with an annual budget of $1 billion.
The organization’s innovative “Call to Action” plan propelled the creation of several national registries now coordinated by CBS. The number of organ transplants conducted in Canada has dramatically increased, especially kidney transplants. This result is unprecedented and unparalleled in Canadian health care. Nine months after assuming responsibility for OTDT, the not-for-profit organization launched the first of three patient registries - the Living Donor Paired Exchange - as a three-province pilot. By November 2010 all provinces had signed on, making it the first-ever Canada-wide registry. To date, 270 transplants have been completed; each one saving the health care system upwards of $40,000 annually. The decrease in dialysis treatments saves our system millions of dollars and improves the lives of the transplant recipients beyond any monetary value.
Ms Hollins is literally irreplaceable. A board once refused her resignation because she would leave too big a void. One of her referees pointed out, “health-care systems in Canada could do with a few more leaders such as Leah Hollins.”
Recognized as a leader in program review, organization structure, and governance related issues, Ms Hollins has built and maintained a high level of credibility. Her views are often sought after by both provincial and national health care forums. A CBS board member shared that at the conclusion of meetings, fellow members do not merely shake her hand as they depart, instead they give her a hug.
Ms Hollins’s involvement in Canadian health care is as impressive as her CV: she’s a graduate of the Master of Business Administration in Health Care program from City University of Seattle, holds a BSc Nursing from University of Victoria, and completed the Executive Development Program at Queen’s University.
During her appointment as Deputy Minister of Health in British Columbia she managed an organization of 2,500 employees and a budget of $9.5 billion; she transformed the B.C. health care system into a regionalized delivery system and led the province’s response to the Royal Commission on Health Care and Costs. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Institute for Health Information and is currently chair of Maximus Inc., the company on contract to the B.C. government that administers the medical services plan.
Ms Hollins’s game-changing ideas, passion for collaboration and trailblazing success in shifting the way Canadians donate organs bring distinction to the University of Manitoba. We are delighted to recognize Ms Leah Hollins with an Honorary Doctor of Laws.