POGO is pleased to announce that Lauren Ettin will be joining POGO as our new Chief Executive Officer, beginning April 29, 2024. After an extensive search, Lauren emerged as the ideal candidate to lead our organization into the future. She succeeds Jill Ross who has served admirably in the role since 2018, leading the organization through a critical time and delivering on our commitments to families and children.
“Lauren’s diverse background and wealth of experience across the healthcare system and in pediatrics uniquely position her to lead POGO toward continued excellence and innovation,” says James Scognack, POGO Board Chair. “She has a vision for the organization that we share, strong connections with the pediatric community, and a passion for supporting children, youth, and their families, which, among other attributes, make her ideally suited to the role.”
Lauren’s career has spanned the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. She has proven herself to be a strategic and entrepreneurial leader, with her most recent role as the founding Executive Director of Kids Health Alliance. In this role, Lauren forged relationships and formal collaborations with and between children’s and community hospitals, associations, and government. In addition, she was instrumental in the work of the Children’s Health Coalition, bringing together a collective voice for the pediatric sector, which resulted in a historic investment of $330M for programs and services across Ontario.
Prior to her time with Kids Health Alliance, Lauren served as the Director of Policy and Member Relations with the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario, worked in consulting and spent time in management roles in the Ministry of Health and Cabinet Office.
Lauren shares her excitement about joining the POGO team: “This is a dream opportunity to bring my experience in pediatrics to an organization of such high esteem. I am honoured to be the successful candidate and I look forward to working with the incredible childhood cancer community and all those who so generously invest their resources to ensure everyone affected by childhood cancer has access to the best care and support.”
Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Lauren. We are excited about the future and look forward to the positive impact that Lauren will undoubtedly make as she builds on POGO’s 40-year foundation to further the organization’s mission and vision.
On Friday, November 3, Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario celebrated the recipients of the 2023 POGO Recognition Awards at a Celebratory Dinner. Established in 1999, the awards acknowledge significant contributions of Ontarians to the field of childhood cancer care in Ontario and beyond. Award recipients work in POGO partner hospitals and demonstrate POGO’s core values of partnership, collaboration and excellence. Congratulations to the 2023 recipients!
POGO Champion Award
The POGO Champion Award acknowledges excellence, leadership, innovation and collaboration in the field of childhood cancer care by an individual over the course of a career. Recipients have a strong history of participating in POGO initiatives, programs or services in a POGO partner hospital. They have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to achieving the best childhood cancer care system through their work within Ontario, for the benefit of children and youth with cancer, survivors, and/or their families in Ontario or beyond.
Elizabeth Cairney, MD, FRCPC
Medical Director, Pediatric Oncology AfterCare Clinic, Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre
In recognition of her career devotion to pediatric oncology, exceptional leadership, and commitment to excellence and quality care that has benefited patients and families, those she mentors and all with whom she collaborates, in Ontario and beyond.
POGO Visionary Award
The POGO Visionary Award acknowledges an individual or team for an outstanding specific/single contribution to advancing the childhood cancer care system in Ontario for the benefit of children and youth with cancer, survivors, and/or their families. Recipients are agents of change whose work, as part of a POGO initiative, program or service in a POGO partner hospital, exemplifies the visionary efforts that led to POGO’s creation in 1983.
Paul Nathan, MD, MSc, FRCPC
Head, Solid Tumour Section & Director, AfterCare Program, The Hospital for Sick Children
In recognition of his outstanding contributions to clinical research, teaching and program development in the field of childhood cancer survivorship, which have had sustained impact in Ontario and beyond.
Tejinder (TJ) Bains, BSc (Pharm), ACPR
Oncology Pharmacist, Oncology Pharmacy Team Lead and Beacon Business Systems Analyst, CHEO
In recognition of her exemplary contributions, resourcefulness and tireless dedication to the care of childhood cancer patients, in Ontario and beyond.
POGO Nursing Leadership Award
The POGO Nursing Leadership Award recognizes an individual in the field of pediatric oncology nursing who demonstrates passion, vision and energy for childhood cancer care, and a commitment to a patient-family-survivor-centred approach. Recipients show leadership in ensuring the nursing perspective informs various aspects of childhood cancer care, which may include service delivery, system planning, quality improvement, knowledge transfer, professional development and/or research. Recipients have participated in POGO initiatives, programs or services, and/or work in a POGO partner hospital. They are well respected by hospital healthcare teams, patients, families, survivors and administrative leaders.
Vicky Wilton, RN, BPHE
POGO Interlink Nurse, Northeast Cancer Centre, Health Sciences North
In recognition of her role as an outstanding leader, mentor, advocate, clinician and partner in the evidenced-based nursing care of those impacted by childhood cancer, throughout all stages of their journey, in Northern Ontario, and beyond.
POGO Early Career Professional
Recognizes an early-career professional of any discipline who has demonstrated outstanding dedication, commitment and leadership as part of a multidisciplinary team caring for children and youth with cancer, survivors, and/or their families. Recipients work in a POGO partner hospital and go above and beyond to exemplify POGO’s commitment to achieving an excellent childhood cancer care system by contributing their expertise in a voluntary capacity.
Jennifer Seelisch, MD, MSc, FRCPC (Pediatric Hematology/Oncology)
Director, Pediatric Undergraduate Medical Education, Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre
In recognition of her outstanding commitment and contributions to childhood cancer care that have positioned her as an emerging thought leader in pediatric oncology, in Ontario and beyond.
POGO Community Partner Impact
Recognizes outstanding philanthropic contributions to advance POGO’s mission and vision. Recipients demonstrate a commitment to charitable responsibility and their altruism and leadership may have inspired others to give back to POGO.
Kate, Jack & Meghan Beswick
In recognition of their outstanding and steadfast philanthropic leadership that has inspired a new generation of donors, connections and community in support of POGO’s mission and childhood cancer care.
“The 2023 POGO Recognition Awards is a very important night to the community of pediatric oncology. For the Children’s Hospital, LHSC team tonight is especially significant. Dr. Cairney was my mentor as a medical student. To have her receive the POGO Champion Award, truly a lifetime achievement award, with me as the Division Lead, on the same night I am honored to be presenting an Early Career Professional Award to Dr. Jennifer Seelisch is so very humbling. The London Children’s Hospital team is just so proud.”
Dr. Alexandra Zorzi, Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre
What is Targeted Hiring?
Targeted hiring is a type of initiative used by public and private organizations to address employment barriers and help with the under-representation of designated groups to achieve equal employment opportunities. This is accomplished by narrowing the pool of candidates to specific categories of candidates, such as individuals with disabilities.
Q & A With a POGO School and Work Transitions Client
Q: What can you tell me about your recent interview where you were successful in being hired?
Client: I interviewed over the phone, which was nice as travelling can be difficult for me due to my disability. The questions were pretty much what I prepared for because my counsellor and I went through common interview questions and practiced them together over Zoom. We also discussed scenarios and did some mock interview style discussion. Because of this, I was able to answer the real interview questions with confidence.
Plus, the interviewers were very informative about what to expect on an average day.
Q: How is your employer being accommodating to you as a person with a disability in the workplace?
Client: The general attitude of my workplace is genuinely team-oriented! I was asked if I needed a chair, and from day one
, I have been greatly encouraged to ask for help. There’s even mental health support, which is quite a relief.
Q: Was your POGO Counsellor a resource in this process? If so, how did they help?
Client: My counsellor was very helpful during the whole process. Finding this job and ensuring my resume was in good shape, practicing for the interview, and ensuring I got placed at a store location I preferred is honestly going above and beyond.
Message from POGO Board Chair James Scongack
The team at the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO), along with our many dedicated partners, continues to work as hard as we can every day to ensure everyone affected by childhood cancer has access to the best care and support. The organization has continued to make substantial progress in many areas and we are committed to building on this going forward.
This progress and passion doesn’t happen without strong leadership and dedication. Jill Ross has served as the CEO of POGO since 2018 and has been instrumental in this progress as a true champion and leader of this important work. Jill has informed us of her intention to step down as the CEO after a very successful tenure. Jill remains wholeheartedly committed to POGO’s mission, and to her ongoing work with you, our partners in childhood cancer care.
The Board has commenced a formal search process for Jill’s successor. This process is being led by a Board-appointed CEO Search Committee and we’ve retained Boyden, given their extensive experience in executive search and the health/not-for-profit sector, to advance this important process in a comprehensive manner. Following consultation and incorporating feedback from the Board, senior staff, partners and other stakeholders, the posting for this role has been made public and can be found here. Questions about the posting can be addressed to Boyden.
Through this process, we will take the time to ensure we find a CEO that meets the needs for the future of POGO and will update you when this process is completed.
In the meantime, it’s business as usual for POGO. We will continue the important work to move the organization forward, advancing the supports, engagement and actions to achieve an excellent childhood cancer care system for children, youth, survivors, and their families and healthcare teams, in Ontario and beyond.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and a time to raise awareness and express support for the children and youth with cancer, survivors of childhood cancer, and their families.
The burden of a childhood cancer diagnosis on families is immense, affecting them emotionally, socially, financially and countless other ways. In Ontario, from the time of diagnosis, childhood cancer patients have access to a coordinated system of care in leading hospitals across the province.
Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario, POGO, is a made-in-Ontario solution, working in partnership with these hospitals and the Ontario government to help ensure everyone affected by childhood cancer has timely access to the best care and support.
This September, we acknowledge the children and youth in treatment or follow up care, the survivors of a childhood cancer diagnosis, the loved ones lost, and their families; and we are grateful to the many incredible organizations and multidisciplinary healthcare teams caring for them, and to those who provide other invaluable supports.
Watch the video statement from Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Sylvia Jones and POGO Board Chair James Scongack.
Statement from Premier Doug Ford
“September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout this month I encourage everyone across Ontario to help raise awareness for this tragic disease that affects thousands of children and youth in our Province. Not only is cancer devastating to those diagnosed, it also deeply impacts their families in countless ways. I want children and youth, as well as their parents, siblings, friends and loved ones to know that they have a team Ontario on their side as they fight through this terrible disease. I want to thank the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario for their support in providing patients and survivors with world class care. I look forward to continued collaboration.”
Statement from Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Sylvia Jones
“This September, I want to recognize children and families across Ontario impacted by childhood cancer. September is a time to recognize the courageous children who are receiving or have received treatment and thank their families for staying strong through their treatment journey. Cancer touches so many lives and I want to thank the dedicated Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario who advocates for patients and survivors through these difficult times. Our government will continue to work with you and our hospital partners to ensure children in Ontario have access to the care they need and deserve close to home.”
Statement from POGO Board Chair James Scongack
“Cancer is something that impacts us all, whether it’s ourselves our loved ones our family members, our friends, our neighbours or individuals in our community. At some point or another in all of our lives we will be impacted by cancer. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in Ontario and throughout September it’s a really important opportunity for us as a province to come together to raise awareness around childhood cancer but most importantly come together as a province to do everything we can to be there for those kids and families who are battling childhood cancer. The partnership between the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario and the Ontario government and our entire hospital and pediatric oncology sector is a good example of how we can come together as a province and be there for families and kids not only today during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month but every single day of the year. I want to take this opportunity to send a very clear message to the families and kids that are battling childhood cancer, not only today but in the future, that we have your back; that we will continue to work as hard as we can every day to not only raise awareness but to continue to do better. Finally, I want to recognize the frontline healthcare professionals; you do incredible work. We’re proud of you and during September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, let’s not only think of the families who are challenged with childhood cancer and battling it today; let’s also thank those frontline workers who come to work every single day under extraordinary circumstances.”