Chair Bonnie Adamson’s Speech to AMS healthcare Board and Leadership – June 5, 2024

Chair Bonnie Adamson’s Speech to AMS healthcare Board and Leadership on June 5th, 2024 at Her Farewell Dinner

The Leadership Privilege

Good evening everyone and thanks to Helen and Will for your very kind comments.  The first time I heard the word AMS was at an OHA CEO Conference in Muskoka in the fall of 2016. As a guest speaker I was sharing “the lived experience” of walking along side my late husband for two and a half years during his palliative cancer journey.  I spoke about things I learned about known 45 years earlier in my career, at the beginning not the end.  Gail Peach the CEO of AMS at that time was sitting in the audience and approached me afterwards to ask if I had an interest in joining the AMS Board??   Hmmm..AMS???  This was a new acronym for me.

The following September, I found myself at the AMS Board table. I must admit that at first few meetings I was saying to myself…what is it that we really do?? Who are we?  WHY exist? Why did I not know about AMS earlier in my health care career?? This may not be a Bonnie-only experience – I suspect – amongst my colleagues here this evening??  But now – Now seven years later – I GET IT!! NOW I REALLY GET IT!!! ……… There is much to be excited about at AMS!!!

1 – The excitement of watching the Progress that has been made to date:

This is evident in the outcomes and briefings we review and discuss each Board meeting–

  • whether it be History of Medicine reviews, 
  • approval of grants to Fellows, 
  • annual conferences which grow in popularity and value for leaders in the healthcare system year by year, 
  • our increasing focus on compassion and AI
  • the Leadership Institute 
  • and through evaluation of all we do etc.  
  • We see the progress…all great accomplishments…

2 – Secondly – One cannot help but be excited about what the Future holds for AMS –

The current explosion of new opportunities for AMS, right at the hands of the Board and leadership is very encouraging.


Our new strategic plan builds on the previous foundational pillars…PLUS the addition of leadership development and a renewed focus on growing partnerships. These additions make my heart sing!! – because I KNOW they are vital for future continuing success.  The health care world is all about leadership and partnerships!  Oh – there is a great ride ahead for all of you!!

I want to thank the AMS staff – Helen, Anne, Jocelyn and Thi Ngoc for your team work and ongoing support for Board meeting through the preparation, mechanics and follow up. Your collective efforts make the Board work successfully.  And besides – All of You are delightful to work with!!  A SINCERE thanks to Helen as CEO – there is a special relationship between the CEO and Board Chair. A lot of the opportunities referenced are because of Helen’s networking, enthusiasm, your respected reputation, and your ability to make things happen!!! Thank you for a job well done and it has been a distinct pleasure working with you.


To the Board members: 

Not only is AMS a unique organization but SO TOO is the Board. Over time, I have been a member of 13 Boards and YET this one is a somewhat different experience. I have thought about why I say that – the Board competencies that Boards recruit for are relatively the same. However, I think that the broader community from which this Board recruits is what makes it different!!  There is great diversity in backgrounds, yet commonality in the commitment to a specific focused mission. 

In my administrative career, I always said that there is value in diversity and depth in complexity. ….and I believe that is what we have been experiencing. 

Thanks to each one of you for your collegiately – I have observed that: 

  • Board members have great respect for each other, 
  • you are always totally prepared for meeting;  
  • you do not hesitate to share your perspective
  • decisions are ALWAYS made int the best interest of the organization 
  •  and you are a great group to volunteer with. 

I extend a most Sincere congratulations to Will Falk the new Chairperson as of tomorrow and wish you tremendous success. I know that will be successful and you and Helen make a great team. 

As AMS moves forward… I will enjoy watching from the sidelines with deep respect and admiration as our collective vision is advanced one step at a time. AMS vision:

“Compassionate, quality health care for all Canadians in a system advanced by technology, innovation and a rich understanding of our healthcare history” 

As AMS continues to invest in the “people power” of historians, researchers, educators and leaders, I am confident AMS will over time make an impressive difference in the health of Canadians and will contribute to continuous improvement of our cherished healthcare system.  What a legacy for AMS!! And what more could we ask for as alumnae of the AMS Board???  Thank you again most sincerely for this evening/honor and the terrific gift!  As we all know, to be a leader in our health care system ..whether a clinician, researcher, teacher, administrator, policy maker OR A VOLUNTEER … whatever role the opportunity presents itself :  

We learn that “Leadership is always a great privilege in life”….. and my experience at AMS as a Board member and Chair has become another highlight of my professional career.


I have loved it!!!


Bonnie Adamson

Chair, AMS Healthcare