CEO for Prairie Mountain Health, Brian Schoonbaert, has been experiencing a bittersweet week this week, today being his last day as lead of the PMH team as he steps into retirement.

"After 35 years of working in the health system in southwest Manitoba you put a lot of your heart and soul into it, and you know when you're ready to let the younger people take charge, but I'm going to miss the people, the amazing people we work with here, the communities that we work with. They're all amazing so there will be a big void, come Monday," shares Schoonbaert.

"I don't think it has hit me yet because even this week it has been very, very busy," he adds. "It's a matter of letting go and realizing that there are very, very competent people who are there to take charge and move forward."

Schoonbaert came to Brandon 30 years ago, but prior to that he was in the administrative role with Baldur-Treherne-Glenboro-Wawanesa health region as CFO and Director of Support Services for 5 years. He was CEO for the Brandon Regional Health Authority (RHA) about 10 years ago.  Then regions merged and the Prairie Mountain Health Region was formed. Schoonbaeart, became CEO for Prairie Mountain Health, and COO of the Brandon Regional Health Centre.

The Board of Directors of Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) expressed sincere thanks and appreciation for Schoonbaert’s commitment, dedication and strong leadership as CEO of the health region. “Brian’s commitment to providing quality health care and supporting all PMH staff, physicians and volunteers has always been evident. All who have worked with him will miss Brian’s positive, welcoming, genuine approach,” shared Board Chair, Lon Cullen.

When asked what Schoonbaert's most significant accomplishment was over his 35-year career in western Manitoba, he says it's in having made sure the government understands the situation here in rural Manitoba, particularly in the west.

"Working in the province that has one major city, they can have perimeter-itis, and it's not intentional, but it's to make sure that we are letting them know that we are here," he explains, "that we too need to be moving forward like the rest of the province, and that we're part of the province in terms of health care, and the coordination of that."

"So, if I could say that was an accomplishment, I would say that was a major one, because I was always very much advocating for not just for our citizens at large, but for our staff, and even for the better that we can do and how we can serve the people out here in western Manitoba," he adds.

Treena Slate has accepted the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Slate will assume the role from Brian Schoonbaert, who will retire effective April 5, 2024. 

Please listen to more with Brian Schoonbaert below!