A most enchanting 28th Annual General Meeting

By: Jean Bilodeau, President Patient Alumni


The most captivating part of the 28th Annual General Meeting was the mesmerizing words delivered by our keynote speaker, Dr.Mesana. The sold out evening is a tribute to the power of Dr Mesana to deliver an informative,  relevant message. Highlights of his message appear later in the article.

Several factors helped to contribute to an increase in attendance of 20% this year. Heart Institute senior staff, including doctors and nurses were present, as were members of the UOHI Foundation staff, a large contingent of family and friends of award winners, and invited guests. Many also brought spouses and friends to enjoy the evening.

The evening began with a well-attended pre-dinner reception. Board members greeted the arrivals, who had the opportunity to chat with our Board members while enjoying a cocktail.

The business part of the meeting included a brief summary of the Patient Alumni accomplishments for the past 12 months. The key points mentioned by our President Jean Bilodeau were:

The Alumni has embarked since last June on a major transformation path for the next 3 years to:

  1. Increase its membership;
  2. Provide more targeted and relevant support to former patients;
  3. Become a strategic partner to the Institute.

We are accomplishing this transformation through:

  • Increased and modernized communications;
  • A renewed governance of experienced and forward thinking Board members;
  • More involvement and synchronization of the present and future activities with the Institute and Foundation.

 See the complete list of accomplishments

The business meeting included among other issues:

  • Call to Order and Welcome
  • Agenda of the of the 28th AGM
  • Motion to approve the Minutes of the 27th AGM
  • President’s Report
  • CAO Introduction
  • Audited Financial Report
  • Amendment to the Alumni Constitution
  • Report from the Nominating Committee
  • UOHI Foundation Update

One of the highlights of our AGM was the presentation of our annual awards:

  • The Wilbert Keon Award: Presented to Dr. J Abunassar
  • The Mary Clinckett Award: Presented to Anna Sophianopoulos-Georgaras
  • The Alumni Volunteer Award: Presented to Gerry Comba (Also awarded to volunteer Josie Bacile the following day, due to unforeseen circumstances)
  • Special Friend of the Patient Alumni Award: to Tim Zakutney

The Alumni had the honour and pleasure to have Dr. Mesana, the new President and CEO of the UOHI as our special invited guest and keynote speaker. His presence, his kind words regarding the Alumni and his words on his view of the future were the highlight of the evening:

Dr. Mesana congratulated the Patient Alumni for organizing the AGM and Dinner and concurred with the choice of award winners. The Alumni is universally unique in what it does, and is very important to him and the HI. His decision to leave France and come to Canada to practice was greatly influenced by the HI’s focus on cardiovascular care, teaching and research, all areas that he is passionate about and unique to the HI. After 12 years as the HI’s Chief of Cardiac Surgery, he accepted the role of President and CEO because he wanted to give back to the community and continue caring for its patients.

Dr. Mesana focused on 3 major points that are ongoing and that will move the UOHI further as one of the best world-renowned Heart Institutes. For the HI to succeed in the future, it needs to focus on:

  • The Building: The expansion of the Heart Institute and raising funds to cover the cost of the new building, equipment, research, state-of-the art operating rooms, intensive care facilities, etc.
  • The People: The recruitment of the best people who are the future of the HI, and
  • The Research: The expansion of our international impact by enhancing our reach outside of Ottawa, for example, the HI is currently working on collaboration with China

Jean Bilodeau thanked Dr. Mesana on behalf of the Patient Alumni, and underlined the fact that he looks forward to continuing the strong relationship between the Patient Alumni and Dr. Mesana.

If you have any further questions about the AGM, please contact the Alumni office at


We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting in 2015.