When Sarah Bragg officially assumes the role of president and CEO of Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Healthcare Foundation (SPHHF) on Oct. 1, she will take charge of an organization crucial to the state of the region’s health-care future.
While the foundation does not treat a single patient, over the years it has raised over $60 million for equipment, departments and programs at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. It has also supported the creation of Shoreline Medical Society which provides access to primary health care for everyone on the Peninsula.
And if this does not sound like enough pressure already, Bragg has to step into the shoes of the retiring Karen Morgan, who shaped the foundation for two decades. In fact, some say she helped to save the hospital from closing.
A sense of excitement is building as Bragg prepares to step into her new position. “I have been working to acclimate to the foundation and its role in the community. It has been a great opportunity to meet individually with board members, with local government and I am meeting with key stakeholders as well. So it has been a great transition.”
Bragg joins SPHF after two years as executive director of the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation on Salt Spring Island. “I have worked in the not-for-profit world for years, but never far from a hospital and health care. Health care is near and dear to my heart and has driven a lot of the work that I have done in my career.”
While working to support the hospital meet the needs of the community, especially heading into influenza season, Bragg will draw on her background in health care as an operating room nurse at the London Health Sciences Centre in Ontario to understand the sometimes unpredictable nature of providing health care to a community.
“I’m really thankful to have a health-care background. It certainly helps me to understand the hospital environment and the short and long-term goals of the facility as it meets the needs of the community,” she said, adding nurses bring a wealth of experience to the table. “Certainly, the organizational and evolutional experience are an asset in this role.”
But if the pandemic is a test of Bragg’s flexibility in the here and now, she also hopes to tackle some long-term, non-pandemic issues in alignment with the foundation’s mission to support departments and programs at the hospital, and create a healthier future for everyone on the Peninsula through access to primary care.
“First and foremost, I look forward to continuing the great work that (SPHHF) has done over the past decades, to keep Saanich Peninsula Hospital current, provide the most up-to-date facility and equipment possible, and to meet the changing needs of an aging population,” she said.
The foundation’s current campaign will raise funds for equipment at the hospital she said. “The largest of which is a new X-ray machine. We are so grateful to our amazing supporters for their ongoing generosity and we are confident that with the community’s help, the hospital will have a much-needed new X-ray machine.”
Away from the desk, Bragg and her husband Marty are avid golfers and enjoy other outdoor activities. “We love to hike,” she said. “That’s part of what we enjoy about being in British Columbia — access to the ocean, access to beautiful hiking trails, a life that is active with a strong connection to friends, farmland and nature.”
Bragg is looking forward to her new role. “I’m grateful to the board of (SPHHF) for giving me this opportunity to support Saanich Peninsula Hospital and the communities it serves. And I wish Karen well in her well-deserved retirement.”
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