17. It takes a (Health Care) Village: Panel on innovative leadership in an integrated community and hospital master plan (Panel)

Hear about a bold and innovative project that has brought together community and hospital leadership to plan for a Health Care Village that encompasses the hospital and the Town of Petrolia (population 5800) dedicated to improving community health and well-being, and replacing the current reactive approach to health care with a proactive approach to well-being for all ages.

Together, the town council and hospital, a secondary site of Bluewater Health, have developed a vision for their complementary future, and aligned town and hospital planning. The Community Master Plan now adopts a holistic approach to planning by influencing the determinants of health, and envisions a Health Village and Health Hub incorporating the hospital, family health team office, accessible green space and a revitalized downtown.

The Joint Steering Committee of town and hospital leaders identified 13 Planning Principals, including: supporting integration and collaboration between health social and planning services; supporting Active Lifestyles by ensuring that citizens can reach many health services within walking distance; supporting independence; and fighting social isolation. The committee has also established community wellbeing indicators, which will be tracked to ensure the plan, as it is implemented, is reaching its goals.

Stakeholder and community involvement has been central since the beginning of the process, with several open houses held to solicit feedback and respond to questions. The architects working on the project said they had never engaged a community as they had in this project.

Hospital planners and leaders, and community planners and leaders will all benefit from this inspiring presentation, which will provide extensive insight into the planning process, surprises encountered along the way, lessons learned and how challenges were overcome. They will also have an opportunity to share successes and challenges encountered in their own experiences collaborating with community leaders.

Key leadership lessons from hospital and community leaders will address the value of integrated planning over isolated decision-making. Practical applications will be presented including how to address challenges as a collective, and the importance of communications to the planning process. Participants will learn:

  • Why establishing trust with stakeholders must be an early step.
  • The importance of forecasting volumes before deciding what the hospital will look like and how it will answer future community needs.
  • How to break down silos and come together to make decisions that are best for the community as a whole.
  • How local doctors were convinced that fewer beds would make a stronger hospital.
  • Why we engaged high school students in planning discussions and what we heard

Find out how one town is creating winning conditions for change, and how you can, too!


Laurie L Zimmer – Bluewater Health

Bob DeRaad – Bluewater Health

Mary Pat Gleeson – Central Lambton Family Health Team

Antonio Gomez-Palacio – Dialog Design




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