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New Chair at Helm of Interlake-Eastern RHA Board of Directors

Minister of Health appoints two new directors to the Board

Oral Johnston has been appointed chair of the board of the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority (RHA) following the conclusion of term for former board chair, Diane Kelly.

Johnston has been a director since Interlake-Eastern’s board was appointed in 2012. Prior to that, he was a regional health authority director for four years with former North Eastman Health Association.

“My interest in health stems from my work as community leader of my First Nation,” Johnston said. “Early in my council years, I was given the responsibility of the health portfolio and so began my work in health.”

Johnston was first elected to office in Black River First Nation in 2001. He served three consecutive two year terms as a councillor with the health portfolio. He then worked as capital projects and housing manager for Black River First Nation from 2007-2009 and then as band manager from 2009-2014.

He was part of the Manitoba First Nations Health Technicians Network and was active at local, regional and national health tables. He was, by proxy, a member of the Chiefs Task Force on Health and served as a proxy member representing Manitoba on the Assembly of First Nations Non-Insured Health Benefits Caucus Committee.

“I have gained much insight into health from many people and I’m grateful to all of those who have shared their knowledge and wisdom with me. I look forward to working with the directors and staff as we move towards or vision of connecting people and communities to excellent health services – Today and Tomorrow,” Johnston said.

With one director position currently unfilled on the board, Johnston is joined by 13 other directors including Ruth Ann Furgula and Randeep Sidhu-Saini who have recently been appointed by the Minister of Health.

Furgula was a trustee in Evergreen School Division since 1993 and has been recognized with honorary lifetime memberships in the Manitoba School Board Association and the Canadian School Board Association. She retired in 2014 from a 40 year career in human resources and finance as an assistant regional financial administrator for Manitoba Conservation.

Sidhu-Saini is a speech-language pathologist who also holds a degree in psychology. She is a fully registered member of the College of Audiology and Speech Language Pathologists of Manitoba. She has worked with Toronto Public Health, British Columbia Interior Health, the former Interlake RHA and Southern Regional Health Authority.

Interlake-Eastern RHA’s Board of Directors has recently released its strategic plan for 2016 – 2021. It’s posted at under “About us”, “Publications & Reports”.

The board's responsibility is to provide leadership, allocate resources and be accountable. In accordance with provisions of The Regional Health Authority Act, the Minister of Health appoints directors to each Regional Health Authority (RHA) Board. The appointments represent a broad cross section of interests, experience and expertise with a single common feature of strong commitment to restructuring the health system and improving health for Manitobans. Directors are selected from nominations elicited from a wide range of individuals and organizations interested in and involved with health services. Geographic representation is considered when making the appointments.


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