Baycrest appoints new Vice-President of Clinical and Residential Programs and Chief Nursing Executive

Toronto, Ontario, April 26, 2010 — Dr. Karima Velji has joined Baycrest as the new Vice-President of Clinical and Residential Programs and Chief Nursing Executive (CNE).

One of Canada’s most distinguished clinical care and nursing executives, Dr. Velji will oversee a portfolio that includes clinical and residential programs, professional practice/nursing, quality, safety and risk management. Baycrest is one of the country’s largest academic health sciences centres, providing care to over 2,500 older adults every day.

“I am delighted that Dr. Velji has joined our organization and confident that she will advance client care to a new level of excellence through a strong interdisciplinary approach and within a culture committed to evidence-based best practice,” said Dr. William Reichman, president and CEO of Baycrest.

Dr. Velji, who has a PhD degree from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Nursing, describes herself as a “leader scholar” who sees a tremendous opportunity at Baycrest to enhance the professional practice of all clinical disciplines. She will be supporting the development of competencies amongst clinicians in the care of individuals who are aging so that practice is in keeping with the complex and multiple health challenges presented by an aging population.

“I am very excited to be joining an internationally-recognized centre of excellence for innovation in aging,” said Dr. Velji. “There is openness to transformative change at Baycrest in the patient care realm which is exciting to me. I will listen, lead and advocate at all levels to ensure that structures and processes are in place to create the best outcomes for patients and families from the perspective of access, effectiveness, safety and efficiency, as well as a positive, supportive and mentoring work environment for our staff.”

Dr. Velji, who conducts externally funded scientific research in patient safety and interprofessional care, in addition to her administrative leadership, hopes to promote clinical scholarship at the point of care, and to recruit leaders who can add their expertise to the applied research arm of the centre and seed a new generation of clinician scholars whose research will drive improvements to client care in aging.

Prior to joining Baycrest, Dr. Velji was Vice-President of Patient Care and CNE at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (TRI). Among her achievements at TRI was to implement innovative clinical programs of care across the continuum and integrating clinical scholarship in the programs, a robust strategy of interprofessional education and care, establishment of rehabilitation nursing as a national specialty, and enhancement of patient/family satisfaction and clinical outcomes. Dr. Velji has been recognized for her abilities in creating a “listening culture” that helped to build mutual respect and trust between patients, families and care providers.

In addition to her new role, Dr. Velji’s responsibilities extend to provincial leadership where she is currently appointed to several professional and leadership groups. She is also the incoming Chair of the Council of Academic Health Science Organizations Chief Nursing Group and Chair of the Policy Committee of Academy of Canadian Executive Nurses. Dr. Velji has cross appointments at both University of Toronto and McMaster University and has been a visiting volunteer faculty and consultant to teaching hospitals in Canada and to international sites in East Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Among her many awards are the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Toronto, the Sigma Theta Tau Award of Excellence in nursing administration, and the 2009 OHA Margret Comack Award of Excellence in Nursing Leadership.

Baycrest is an academic health sciences centre, internationally renowned for its care of aging adults and its excellence in aging brain research, clinical interventions and treatments, and promising cognitive rehabilitation strategies.

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For more information on this press release, please contact:

Kelly Connelly
Senior Media Officer