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Eden hires new top exec

By: Jordan Ross

Posted: 08/18/2018 10:00 AM

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The incoming top executive at Eden Health Care Services says the "holistic perspective" of health and well-being she will promote is informed by her background in occupational therapy.

"We look at the person, their environment, their occupation, and their spirituality…to help ensure optimal physical or mental health or well-being," said Kym Kaufmann, who steps into the role on Aug. 27, succeeding interim CEO Ken Kroeker.

"That’s the lens that I’m going to use to lead the organization: considering the whole person."

The Winnipeg resident arrives at Eden from a decade at Selkirk Mental Health Centre, where she rose to director of operations after working as an occupational therapist.

In addition to professional degrees, Kaufmann recently completed two certificate programs in management, and believes her educational and professional backgrounds enable her to lead the multifaceted organization.

Headquartered in Winkler and serving south-central and southeastern Manitoba, the faith-based mental health and social services organization partners with churches and receives program funding from Southern Health, Manitoba Housing, and Service Canada.

In Steinbach, Eden offers housing supports, vocational and other counselling services, and drop-in wellness programming out of its offices at 21 Loewen Boulevard.

Kaufmann also hopes to continue what she says Eden already does well: providing practical, accessible supports and resources to individuals along the mental health spectrum, "from crisis services all the way through to housing."

Referencing ongoing regional conversations about how best to provide children and youth with mental health services, Kaufmann said she looks forward to connecting with community stakeholders in Steinbach to understand the city’s needs and priorities.

With Steinbach’s growth often resulting in a low vacancy rate, Kaufmann said she’s willing to make housing a priority if that need is identified.

While the provincial government has ushered in wide-ranging changes to health care delivery in Manitoba over the past two years, Kaufmann was optimistic about Eden’s ability to work alongside a rapidly evolving health sector.

"Part of my role will be focusing on making sure that Eden is aligned with that health system transformation so that we have the opportunity to showcase our strengths."

In particular, Kaufmann said she was encouraged by the province’s new mental health and addictions treatment strategy, two fields she said will benefit from increased ties.

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