Dean On Campus Blog

A big thank you to David Zelt and Jim Flett

It was almost a year ago that Kingston General Hospital (KGH) and Hotel Dieu Hospital (HDH) held a press conference to announce that a monumental change was underway: the two hospitals would be integrating. A lot has happened since I blogged about it about it in July;

  • Administrative approvals have been granted by the LHIN and the province
  • The two boards have consulted widely with the community and other stakeholders
  • A new board of directors has been established
  • A new executive team is in place for April
  • And the new hospital has a legal name, but business name(s) are still to be determined

Along with these and many other changes still to come, I wanted to dedicate today’s blog to acknowledging two people who will be stepping down from their roles this month. David Zelt, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff at KGH and Jim Flett, Interim President and CEO at KGH.

David Zelt earned his MD here at Queen’s, and stayed to do his postgraduate medical training in general surgery before continuing his training in vascular surgery at Harvard. And it wasn’t long before he was back at Queen’s, starting his career as a professor and surgeon at KGH. In his long career here with Queen’s and the hospital he has served in a variety of administrative roles in addition to membership on many provincial and regional committees; including Clinical Medical Leaders of the Canadian Academic Hospitals of Ontario and the South East LHIN CCAC and Hospital Executive Forum. In 2008, he stepped into his current role Chief of Staff and Executive VP, Medical Administration.

Though he has had many accomplishments over his career, what stands out about David his is complete dedication to his three roles as a clinical surgeon, an academic, and an administrator. David could walk out of the operating room at 1am, take time to teach a student or a resident and still be ready to go for his 7am meeting the next morning. I have spent most of my career around surgeons and hard-working physicians, and I can honestly say that David is one of the hardest-working people I know. We are all beneficiaries of David’s passion for what he does, and although he will step down from his role on April 1, he won’t be going too far: he will carrying on his work as an academic vascular surgeon at Queen’s, and without doubt, will continue to be engaged in improving the system he works in.

A Chartered Accountant, Jim has a Commerce degree from Queen’s and an MBA from the Ivey School of Business at Western. Jim stepped into his role as interim President and CEO just over a year ago with a huge amount of experience in hospital administration. Over a 31-year career, he has held several senior positions and has been a key player on many initiatives, committees and task forces. Most recently, Jim served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at KGH. In this role, Jim can proudly take credit for leaving the hospital in excellent financial shape, and well poised for the integration with Hotel Dieu.

Jim has been a key figure in the success of the integration of KGH and HDH. Since the moment the boards decided on this route, Jim has rolled up his sleeves, worked indefatigably on the necessary steps that are required in bringing two organizations together, and used his profound knowledge of hospital operations to facilitate the integration. It is very true, that without Jim’s efforts, this very complicated process would not have gone as smoothly as it has. Jim will be retiring on March 31st, and I know that he will be looking forward to spending time with his family, especially his grandson.

Please join me in congratulating and thanking David and Jim by commenting on the blog, or better yet, please drop by their offices; David will be there immersed in his work, but if it’s Jim’s office you are going to, please hurry; he’s off for a brief holiday in a sunny and warm place in early April.


11 Responses to A big thank you to David Zelt and Jim Flett

  1. Elizabeth Eisenhauer says:

    Dear Richard

    I can only echo your comments. David Zelt has been extraordinarily dedicated to his roles as surgeon, teacher and leader at KGH – he always kept in mind that the patient is the centre of care and seemed absolutely tireless. We have been fortunate to count him as a colleague (and for some of us – a doctor). I look forward to working with David in the next stage of his career – I know he will continue to play a key role in our new hospital!

    Jim Flett also deserves to be thanked for the unstinting support has has given to the development of a single hospital – meeting seemingly endless challenges with his trademark calm, focus and energy.

    Thank you both most sincerely

    Elizabeth Eisenhauer MD FRCPC, Department of Oncology

  2. Richard van Wylick says:

    Well said Richard. David and Jim each played huge roles in the turnaround and subsequent growth of KGH. They have positioned the new hospital for success and deserve our thanks and gratitude. I hope we all have a chance to express our appreciation personally.

  3. Donna Janiec says:

    Well said Richard. The KGH Board and the Kingston community have benefitted from the exemplary professional service of both David and Jim. Sincere thanks to David and Jim.

  4. Bill Moore Meds ''62 says:

    Richard, I hope all Queen’s Medical graduates see this news and appreciate that everyone at Queen’s has done well to understand and support the necessary need for transitions that may have been long overdue. Even in my day, it was apparent that consolidation of community resources could be helpful but I didn’t speak up or have any influence.

    • reznickr says:

      Dear Bill,

      You are absolutely right. The integration is long overdue. But I am happy to report that things are progressing amazingly well, smoothly and with total cooperating from all.


  5. “LEGAL NAME” and “BUSINESS NAME”? Please would you clarify the difference Richard. There was an article in the Whig (Dec 16th) seeking input on the naming of the new academic health centre. I suggested that it be named after the great Kingston-born 19th century neuroscientist and evolutionist, George Romanes. His amazing record of scientific achievement has been listed previously on this blog Romanes. Could you tell us what the new legal name is and why there is a need for a distinct business name.

    • reznickr says:

      Dear Donald,

      The “legal name” Kingston Health Sciences Centre is being used to establish the corporation, and provide a temporary name until the new board can deliberate on a permanent or “business name”, which may or may not, be the same as the legal name.

      Hope that clarifies and thanks for the suggestion of Dr. Romanes.


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