About Bob

Robert S. Bell, MDCM, MSc, FRCSC, FACS, FRCSE (hon)

After completing medical school and internship at McGill University in 1976, Dr. Robert Bell started his medical career as a General Practitioner and Emergency Physician practicing in Peterborough and Brampton, Ontario. Following three years as a GP, Bell entered Orthopaedic residency training at the University of Toronto from 1979 to 1983. During this time he also completed his M.Sc. under the supervision of Professor Robert Salter at the Hospital for Sick Children.

Achieving his FRCSC in 1983, Bell undertook a Fellowship in Orthopaedic Oncology and Complex Joint Reconstruction at Harvard University and the Massachusetts General Hospital. He then returned to St. Michaels Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital as an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto. Bell subsequently moved to Mount Sinai Hospital where he was appointed as the first Director of the University Musculoskeletal Oncology Unit and Chief of Surgical Oncology for Mount Sinai Hospital and the University Health Network. During his clinical career Bell was appointed Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto and published more than 200 peer reviewed articles and achieved more than $5M in peer reviewed scientific grants.

Bell’s leadership expanded to include the role of Chief Operating Officer at Princess Margaret Hospital from 2000 to 2005. He was also appointed as the inaugural Chair of the Clinical Council at Cancer Care Ontario during this time and was named as the Chair of the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario in 2003. In June 2005, Bell accepted the University Health Network (UHN) board’s offer to be UHN’s Chief Executive Officer. Prior to appointment, Bell completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

During his nine-year term as CEO, UHN was recognized as Canada’s premier research hospital with more than $350M in annual research funding. UHN Foundations contributed more than $210M annually to the hospital during Bell’s term and the UHN expanded to include the Toronto Rehab Institute.

Bell was appointed Deputy Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC), effective June 2014. During his term as DM, the MOHLTC balanced its budget four years in a row and achieved landmark passage of the Patient’s First Act, Protecting Patients Act, the introduction of OHIP+ Children and Youth Pharmacare and recognition of a Digital Health Strategy.

Bell is an internationally recognized Orthopaedic Surgeon, Clinician-Scientist and Educator. He has chaired expert panels that provided advice to the MOHLTC on ER overcrowding, Critical Care capacity, Vision Care and Eye Surgery, and Neurosurgical Care in the province. Dr. Bell brought more than 40 years of health care experience to his role as Deputy Minister of Health in Canada’s largest province and resigned from this role in June 2018.

Long-term care operators dealing with another COVID-19 outbreak

One of Canada’s largest long-term care operators, Revera, is dealing with an outbreak at an Etobicoke home. One-hundred residents have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as 50 members from the home. A report looking into the lessons learned from the first wave will be made public Monday.

Debating Ontario’s Healthcare Overhaul

The Ontario government recently unveiled some major changes to the way health care will be delivered in the province. The Agenda welcomes Dr. Bob Bell and Michael Decter, two former Ontario deputy ministers of health, to provide historical context to the overhaul, as well as their opinions on its viability.