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Profile 2 - Chris Simpson

By Nancy Dorrance with photography by Bernard Clark

Gene O'ReillyDo not be deceived by his unassuming manner, as Kingston cardiologist Chris Simpson is a key mover and shaker in the Canadian health care field. In an era when divisive rhetoric and polarizing pronouncements are driving people apart, he prefers to listen to opposing views, build bridges and find common ground.

It’s a strategy that has served Chris well in a number of progressively responsible positions, most recently as executive vice-president (medical) and chief medical officer for Ontario Health, the province’s new “super agency,” which encompasses all of the former LHINs (Local Health Integration Networks), as well as 15 “legacy agencies” like Cancer Care Ontario. “I believe that time and respect can build consensus,” he affirms. “Leadership is more about listening than asserting.”

Born in Nackawic, New Brunswick, in Canada’s centennial year, he describes his hometown as “a unique rural community” on the Saint John River west of Fredericton. Construction of a hydroelectric dam in the late 1960s flooded the valley — forcing farmhouses to relocate farther up the riverbank — and many displaced residents found new employment with the St. Anne Nackawic pulp mill. The mill also brought an influx of engineers, teachers and small businesses to the region. . . .

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