He has stepped in to provide leadership during a difficult time.

This week, Andrew Will, the CEO of 3sHealth in Saskatchewan, was appointed Interim President and CEO of Saskatoon Health Region while Dan Florizone takes a medical leave of absence to address personal health issues.

Andrew Will

Andrew Will, CEO of 3sHealth and Interim President and CEO of Saskatoon Health Region.

Will is set to guide the Region through the next few months, at a time when the organization is looking to address a $45 million projected deficit.

“Thoughtful” is how he described his approach to dealing with the Region’s budget situation. He’ll offer a fresh set of eyes on the plan, he noted, and will be relying on the Region’s leadership team for information about how each decision will impact patients and staff. He will also be working closely with the board on the plan, and consulting with the provincial government on timelines.

Who is Andrew Will?

Will was born and raised in the Tisdale area, and health care is in his blood. In addition to farming, his parents both worked in health care – his father as an orderly, and his mother as a nurse’s aide. He grew up hearing stories about health care, but it wasn’t until he was taking Commerce classes at the University of Saskatchewan that he considered the field for himself.

“I was at a career day, and I heard a leader from Saskatoon City Hospital do a presentation. I knew right away health care was it for me. I was very inspired by her words at career day,” Will said.

From the time he graduated with his Commerce degree, Will has worked in health care. He has served as CEO of other health regions in Saskatchewan, then spent six years in Alberta, working as a health region CEO and as  Executive Vice President, Clinical Support Services for Alberta Health Services. He came home to Saskatchewan about four years ago to join 3sHealth.

“I’ve been a part of the health care system in Saskatchewan a long time,” he said. “I’ve spent my whole career here, other than six years in Alberta. That time gave me a chance to learn a lot about another health system, and it was great to bring that knowledge back to Saskatchewan. I was excited to be a part of 3sHealth, and I’m very excited to be a part of Saskatoon Health Region.”

His interim position will give him a great perspective on the Region, which is one of 3sHealth’s key partners, he added.

“Strengthening the partnership between our organizations is a real opportunity,” he noted.

Will plans to continue as CEO of 3sHealth during his position as Interim President and CEO of the Region.

“I will still be spending part of my time there – a smaller portion, for sure – but I will still be there for key initiatives and meetings that take place.”

He’ll be travelling back and forth from his home on an acreage near White City, which he shares with his wife, Karen, a teacher, and his 15-year-old son, Tyler. His job in Saskatoon will allow him to spend more time with his daughter Amanda, 18, who is in her first year of classes at the University of Saskatchewan.

Family time is important to Will. They spend a lot of time camping at their spot at Greenwater Provincial Park, and are outdoors a lot, quadding and snowmobiling.

“Our son is in hockey, so we spend a lot of our time in the winter travelling and watching him play,” he added.

Why did he answer the call?

Will didn’t hesitate when he was asked to help the Region by taking over for Dan for a few months.

“When I learned of Dan’s leave, and the board asked me to help, I felt it was important to say yes,” he said. “Saskatoon Health Region is a critical part of the Saskatchewan health care system. I was pleased to have the opportunity to come in and work with the team here.”

He’s not daunted by the challenge ahead of him.

“In my career, I’ve had a variety of experiences,” he said. “And this is not the first time I’ve had to face a challenge. But there is a very strong team here, and I’m excited to work with them.”

The timing of his term as president and CEO isn’t ideal, with the financial challenges the Region is facing.

“It’s a time of uncertainty for people, and uncertainty is hard to cope with,” Will said. “Our goal will be to try and decrease the uncertainty for people as quickly as we can. It’s a tough time to be coming into this role, not just for me, but for the full team here, who is trying to keep momentum going while they get used to someone new in the CEO position.”

What can we all expect in the coming days?

All the great improvement work currently underway in Saskatoon Health Region needs to continue, Will said.

“This will not be a change in direction,” Will said. “I want people to continue with the good work that’s been happening. For the next short while, I’ll orientate myself to the Region. I need to understand the financial challenges and the potential options to address those challenges.”

“I look forward to meeting staff, physicians and the many people that are part of Saskatoon Health Region. I appreciate greatly everyone’s contributions to the organizations success.”