Former city manager Penny Ballem appointed to chair Vancouver Coastal Health

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      A familiar face to Vancouver city-hall watchers will play a significant role in health care in the region.

      Today, Adrian Dix announced that former city manager Dr. Penny Ballem is the new chair of the Vancouver Coastal Health board of directors.

      In its last fiscal year, the health authority had a budget of nearly $3.5 billion, which is more than double the City of Vancouver's annual budget.

      "A physician, professor, former deputy minister to health ministers under the prior Liberal government, Dr. Ballem ranks among the foremost figures in public policy and health care in B.C. and the country," Dix said in a news release. "Other provinces and the federal government alike seek out her policy advice on key issues and initiatives."

      Vancouver Coastal Health oversees the delivery of health services not only in Vancouver but also in Richmond, on the North Shore, up the Sea to Sky corridor, along the Sunshine Coast, and in the mid-coast communities of Bella Bella and Bella Coola.

      It also partners with Providence Health Care, which operates St. Paul's Hospital, Mount Sant Joseph's Hospital, and Holy Family Hospital, as well as other facilities.

      A quarter of B.C.'s population is served by Vancouver Coastal Health.

      Ballem has replaced Kip Woodward, who was paid $20,750 last year.

      It's a far cry from the $556,000 in severance she received from the City of Vancouver when council terminated her contract as city manager in 2015.

      Ballem chose not to seek severance when she quit as provincial deputy health minister in 2006.

      As the city manager, Ballem took a keen interest in public health, which was reflected in the healthy city strategy.

      It's a far-reaching approach to enhance the well-being of the public by paying close attention to the determinants of health, building community connections, and promoting healthy environments.

      In this region, the City of Vancouver also pioneered the promotion of cooling centres and other climate-change adaptation measures to promote public health.

      Dix has also appointed former three-term Vancouver city councillor Kerry Jang to the boards of the Provincial Health Services Authority and B.C. Emergency Health Services.

      Jang is a psychologist and a professor of psychiatry in the UBC medical school.

      PHSA chair Tim Manning's tenure has been extended to 2020.

      The following is a list of other new directors to health authority boards:

      * Allan Louis and Karen Hamling to Interior Health;

      * Wilfred (Wilf) Adam, Patricia Sterritt, and John Kurjata to Northern Health;

      * Marilyn Slett to the Vancouver Coastal Health;

      * Sandra Harris and Donisa Bernardo to the Provincial Health Services Authority and B.C. Emergency Health Services;

      * Joanne Mills and Manpreet Grewal to Fraser Health;

      * and Alana Nast and Fred Pattje to Island Health.