No Boundaries - Strategic Plan 2017 - 2022

Normally, the words “strategic plan” aren’t met with overwhelming enthusiasm.

In fact, invitations to strategic planning sessions sometimes lead to quickly hitting the delete button.  

But not here. Not with this plan. 

Holland Bloorview’s five-year strategic plan titled No Boundaries is generating a lot of buzz among staff, client families and partners.  

There’s genuine fervour around this document. People want to talk about it. 

Why so much attention? 

It could be because it’s founded on the energy of clients, families, volunteers, staff, external partners and academic partners who all came to the table firmly believing their voices would be heard.  

“This was an eight-month process with over 1,000 different points of engagement,” said Holland Bloorview CEO, Julia Hanigsberg. 

“We issued an invitation to be bold, to be engaged and to help develop this plan and people said ‘Yes!’ To me that means people trust Holland Bloorview as a place that listens.” 

This energy was a big reason why Julia attended practically every idea-gathering session. 

With a flood of exciting ideas, the lively sessions foreshadowed that this plan was going to be extraordinary. 

The final plan outlines advances in how Holland Bloorview delivers care, how its expertise can extend beyond its walls, and how the hospital can become a catalyst for social change.

For example, Holland Bloorview has always acknowledged and celebrated the individuality of every child that uses its services and programs. 

With this plan, that philosophy is strengthened through a call to action: “Personalize Pathways.”  

“Every child, youth, and family regardless of condition, diagnosis or physical or developmental disability has their own version of what’s meaningful to them, their own definition of what a healthy future looks like,” said Julia. 

For some, it’s a medically-focused goal, such as getting a proper diagnosis, using a prosthetic or greater mobility through physical therapy. 

For others, the goal is more socially oriented, like taking a family vacation, making friends, or being able to take part in an activity.   

“We’re going to mobilize all of our knowledge and expertise around that meaningful and healthy future,” she said.

The plan also emphasizes that care will be seen through the lens of the child’s life course - what happens today to impact that best, meaningful future, whatever that life looks like, whatever its duration.      

“We’re thinking about today, next week and next month,” said Julia. “But we’re also thinking about the teenager you’ll become and the adult you’ll become.”

Children and youth won’t just leave Holland Bloorview, they’ll “graduate”, more ready, equipped with better health, valuable skills and a positive mindset to guide them forward. 

Having these older youth return to Holland Bloorview as alumni and mentors is also key. 

Applauding the plan’s focus on growing the hospital’s alumni network, Julia commented, “There’s nothing more powerful than talking to someone who has walked the same path for a child, parent or caregiver.”

The needs of children and families will not only drive care, it will also continue to drive the hospital’s world-class research, as outlined in the plan’s “Discover for Action” domain. 

“We have a unique identity as an academic hospital,” stressed Julia. “Research and evidence have a role to play in everything we do.”

“We’re so fortunate to have the Bloorview Research Institute and the scientific minds within it to help us discover the next frontier,” she continued. “And it’s not discovery for discovery’s sake, it’s discovery for changing children’s lives.”

New efforts will be made to share the hospital’s research-based wealth to benefit all children. 

“The plan addresses how we take discovery into education, teaching the next generation of clinicians who will take that knowledge across the country and around the world,” said Julia. 

It also calls for increased efforts to further distribute home-grown discoveries by looking for opportunities to commercialize. 

“We want to get our discoveries into the hands of clinicians and caregivers everywhere, we want to get them into markets,” she said. 

No Boundaries also acknowledges that there’s ample room for improvement in aligning Ontario healthcare. That reality falls under the plan’s domain titled, “Connect the System.” 

“Kids get their healthcare in a complex ecosystem and we need to make sure it all works for them wherever they are,” said Julia. “We need to help families navigate to find what they need.” 

That could mean partnering the local health integration networks, building Ontario’s capacity in developmental pediatrics, or even training transportation services to better accommodate kids with disabilities.

“We can make children’s healthcare in Ontario a more integrated, coordinated and connected system,” said Julia.  

But Holland Bloorview isn’t stopping there. 

Julia believes Holland Bloorview has an obligation to change the way the world sees children with disabilities. 

“We so often hear from families that Holland Bloorview is a bubble, that when they’re here they feel included and accepted, but when they leave it feels like dropping off a cliff,” she said. 

“Disability needs to be a valued part of diversity. We can be a leader in making that change happen in the world.”

That’s why the plan includes measures to proactively address stigma that children with disabilities face as Holland Bloorview challenges itself to “Lead and model social change.”

Through No Boundaries Holland Bloorview is poised to have a louder voice and greater presence to better meet the ever-evolving needs and goals of kids with disabilities and their families – inside and outside its walls.

With its pages exuding passion and purpose, it’s no wonder Holland Bloorview can’t wait to turn words into action.