New Brunswick

Dr. John Dornan named Horizon's new president and CEO

Dr. John Dornan has been named the new president and chief executive officer of the Horizon Health Network.

Dornan, who has served in interim capacity since August, is 'excellent choice,' says board chair

Dr. John Dornan has addressed the public at a number of COVID-19 news conferences during his stint as interim president and CEO of Horizon. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Dr. John Dornan, who led the Horizon Health Network during the most serious wave of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, has been named the new president and chief executive officer of the network.

Dornan, a former regional chief of staff and department head at the Saint John Regional Hospital, has served in the role in an interim capacity since last August, when Karen McGrath stepped down

During that time, Horizon has had to deal with the highest number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations of the pandemic and a significant number of staff off work because of isolation rules. 

"Dr. Dornan has 35 years of experience in the provincial health-care system, having held several positions in leadership, educational and front-line activities," Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said in a statement Friday, announcing his appointment.

"His skills, abilities and competencies will ensure the Horizon Health Network will continue to deliver high-quality health-care services to residents."

Horizon's board said it looks forward to working with Dornan and believes his "experience, knowledge and collaborative nature" are what the regional health authority needs to "lead the transformative change required to improve health-care services and attract health-care workers."

Upon being named interim president and CEO, Dornan immediately began to tackle the challenges facing Horizon, such as wait times in the emergency department and the recruitment and retention of health-care staff, the board said in a statement.

"As a physician who has worked across the province and having held several senior administrative and medical leadership positions, Dr. Dornan is uniquely skilled to lead the transformational changes that are required to improve our health care system," said board president Jeff McAloon.

Dornan has a master's degree in business administration and holds Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada fellowships in internal medicine, and endocrinology and metabolism.

He has practised medicine in New Brunswick since 1987 and played a principal role in the establishment of Dalhousie University's first New Brunswick-based satellite Royal College residency.

McAloon described him as "an excellent choice."

Dornan was selected following an open and transparent national search, according to the health minister. Last fall the Department of Health used an executive search firm to help find a new CEO for Horizon.