Special COVID-19 Coverage on the Your Health Podcast

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How would you like to keep up to date on the most important COVID-19 news affecting CIUSSS West-Central Montreal… just 5 minutes at a time? 

Well, now you can.

At the office, at home, in the car or in the palm of your hand, our top experts in the field sound off from the front lines of the biggest pandemic of a generation on new special COVID-19 coverage of the Your Health Podcast.

“Our special coverage is hosted by Shaun McMahon, 20-year Montreal radio veteran and now, member of our creative, multi-platform communications team. In each episode, Shaun will dive into the many corners of CIUSSS West Central Montreal, in both English and French, to bring you the best stories. Stories of courage, dedication and hope,” says Glenn Nashen, Associate Director of Communications and Media Relations. “The podcast will also aim answer the many questions that continue to come to light as the pandemic morphs and evolves on a near-hourly basis.”

Distinguished guests over the first week of coverage have included Associate CEO Francine Dupuis, as well as Dr. Mark Karanofsky, Director Herzl Family Practice Centre and attending physician at Donald Berman Jewish Eldercare Centre, Dr. Suzanne Levitz, Associate Director of Professional Services and family physician at Mount Sinai Hospital and Luc Méthot of the Support Program for the Autonomy of Seniors (SAPA). 

No stone will be left unturned, as subjects and guests will span our network from GMFs and CLSCs to right inside the Jewish General Hospital, a Quebec-designated COVID-19 centre.

Episodes are uploaded and available NOW at ciussswestcentral.ca/covid19 and ciussswestcentral.ca/podcast, as well as all CIUSSS West-Central Montreal social media platforms (FacebookInstagram & LinkedIn) along with being available on your favourite podcast platform (including GoogleAppleSoundcloudSpotifyiHeartRadio and Castbox).

18 proud years at the JGH


It seems like just a short time ago that I had lunch in a very noisy restaurant on Cote des Neiges with a very soft-spoken Executive Director of the Jewish General Hospital, Henri Elbaz. As the story goes, I had trouble hearing him but was pretty sure he had offered me the job of Director of Communications and Public Relations. Looking back after 18 years it was the best job offer that I never heard!

2013 ceremony in the main entrance of the JGH honouring Henri Elbaz

Today, August 19, 2019, marks my 18th anniversary at the JGH. To be sure, so much has happened and changed in all this time. In fact, my title is now the Associate Director of Communications and Media Relations for the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montreal and my mandate extends far beyond the JGH. Since the healthcare reorganization in 2015, the JGH has been rolled into a health system including long-term care and rehabilitation centres, clinics, Info-Sante 811 and much more on 34 sites. But my office remains in the same place at the JGH, as it has for all 18 years.

I am honoured to have reported directly to the last three Executive Directors (Henri Elbaz, Dr. Hartley Stern and Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg) and served some extraordinary lay community leaders.

I had the good fortune to spend some time with former Prime Minister Jean Chretien. M. Chretien was jovial, warm and was pleased to share his opinion on any topic. In this 2010 photo we are pictured together with Mount Royal Member of Parliament Irwin Cotler

My position has allowed me to shake hands and exchange pleasantries and words of pride in the JGH with ministers of health, premiers and former PM Jean Chretien.

I have assisted many VIPs in their travels through the hospital including former Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau (who, to my great surprise, complemented me on my French conversational skills). One day as I was escorting him to an appointment I spotted Mr. Chretien, whom I had also assisted, heading toward us near the main entrance. Wanting to avoid a very awkward moment (perhaps only for me or maybe for the country) I pivoted so that Mr. Parizeau would turn toward me missing his arch-nemesis who waved to me as he passed behind Parizeau. What a moment to remember!

Judy and me, at the 2013 JGH Foundation gala with former Quebec Premier Jean Charest and his wife Michele Dion

As a producer of events, large and small, one program I am particularly proud to have created was the JGH Mini-Med School. Over some 15 seasons of highly successful public education lectures we graduated a couple of thousand “mockters”.

Emceeing the 2014 JGH Remembrance Ceremony, pictured here with my father

The annual Remembrance Day ceremony has been a solemn reflection of the contributions of JGH doctors and staff through the decades. Long Service and Retirement ceremonies I’ve overseen has connected the past to the future.

I’ve also done my part in ensuring the Jewish nature of this world-class institution, from organizing the CEO’s Rosh Hashana gatherings to sending messages celebrating holidays throughout the year and promoting its rich and storied history.

Escorting Israel Consul General David Levy through the JGH together with CEO Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg and President Alan Maislin

More recently I’ve created an annual gathering at the JGH of all 80+ elected officials from every level of government on the territory of the West-Central Montreal health authority. I am so excited about our latest ventures into podcast as well as our video newscasts.

Winning a national award for healthcare public relations in 2011

I am also very proud to have won several awards for the JGH in producing some of the best news magazines in any hospital across Canada (including the JGH News) and achieved a perfect mark, 100%, in the latest Accreditation Canada review of my department.

As the official spokesperson it has been my duty to represent the organization to the media, particularly in some sticky situations. From press conferences, to impromptu media opportunities, to staged interviews and photo opps it has been exciting to be a part of this pillar in Quebec’s public healthcare system, one of the Top 100 hospitals in the world.

Getting ready for the Pavilion K expansion and new ER, January 2015

I’ve done my part to usher change through these years. Major expansions like Pavilion K presented numerous PR opportunities and so many media requests.What a privilege it has been to call hundreds of incredible doctors, medical staff and researchers along with thousands of nurses, orderlies, technicians and professionals as my colleagues. And what’s more, I can proudly say that many are my friends.

World-renowned neonatologist Dr. A. Papageorgio and long-time JGH nurse Franceen Finesilver

Not many people have stepped into (and walked out of!) every clinic and department, from the ER to the OR, the ICU to CCU, from the nursery to the morgue, through the kitchens, boiler rooms and boardrooms, from the CEO’s office to the labs and from the sub-basement to the roof.

Photo opp in the Operating Room

And what a bonus to be able to come to work with my wife, Dr. Judy Hagshi, a couple of times each week, and to share our pride in the JGH.

I am so lucky to have worked closest with an extraordinary team of communications professionals over the years. I’ve hired about 40 people in this time and an amazing few have stuck with me for nearly 15 years (I cannot name them all – shout out to my very skillful 2IC, Stephanie Malley – but they know that I hold them as special colleagues and friends). I credit all of these wonderful folks who do a yeoman’s job and allow me to shine with pride.

For 85 years this organization has taken care of, and healed, family members and friends. They have given hope when there was little hope left and consoled those in need. It now extends to every corner of our healthcare system as my scope expands too. I am so fortunate to have been able to serve the community from the JGH over these last 18 years and I look forward to several more to come. L’chaim! To life.

Laughter is the best medicine. Posing with Dr. Clown at the JGH.

Checking out the latest technology for robotic minimally invasive surgery in 2011
With my colleague, JGH Foundation Ambassador and former Montreal Mayor, Denis Coderre

I proudly advocated for electric vehicle parking at the JGH

Pierre Arcand, MNA Mount Royal and Interim Leader of the Quebec Liberal Party

Former federal cabinet minister Diane Finley visits the JGH

Dr. Mark Miller, former Chief of Infectious Diseases administers the flu shot to a somewhat nervous Glenn J. Nashen

I will always remember my friend and colleague Dr. Mark Wainberg (Oct. 2009)
Welcoming MP (and future Prime Minister) Justin Trudeau to the JGH in August 2010 with Director of Nursing Lynne McVey, CEO Dr. Hartley Stern and President Bernie Stotland

Finding a better outcome in a tough situation

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Phil Anzarut

My friend Phil Anzarut shared this with me and I believe his universal message of hope and kindness is praiseworthy:

Dear friends,

Another year older, another year wiser, and most importantly, another year. I like to think that I’ve gotten a little wiser over the last few years and one thing that I’ve recently began to reflect upon is the human spirit. Can hope, motivation and a positive attitude actually generate a better outcome in a tough situation?

I’d like to share a little story with you about a fellow survivor, a 27 year old Quebec City man named Nicolas. His mom wrote to me late last year looking for help, connections and information about urachal cancer as Nicolas had recently been diagnosed and was looking for a way forward. As has become common because of my online profile, I put her in touch with the experts in my circle and made sure she was well informed as she navigated her son’s treatment options. I received an email from Nicolas’ mom in early February saying that he had finished his chemo and was quite stressed waiting for his first CT scan, but that he explicitly told her: “if Phil got through it, I can get through it.” You can imagine how touched I was by that comment.

As it turns out, your donations not only funded a urachal cancer research project, capitalized a rare cancer research fund and bought a next generation DNA sequencing machine, you’ve enabled us to give people hope, which I believe is another incredible contribution towards the fight against rare cancers.

On July 6, 2019, I will lead the Bikus Urachus team on our 7th bike ride from Montreal to Quebec City to raise funds for cancer research. Our team continues to bring tremendous awareness to urachal and other rare cancers, and we need your support.

Please help us by making a donation directly to the Urachal Cancer Research Fund at the Jewish General Hospital Foundation by clicking here: https://jghfoundation.org/en/donations/products?id=440

OR, you can donate through the Ride to Conquer Cancer by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.

Funds are put to work as they are received, so please donate today.

Thank you,


Follow Bikus Urachus on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bikusurachus/

Click here to visit my personal page.
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:

Click here to view the team page for Bikus Urachus
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:

Beating cancer one kilometre after another


Phil and Alissa Anazrut


Bikus Urachus is a group dedicated to raising funds for cancer research, and focused on bringing attention to urachal cancer.  They got together in 2013 to ride in The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, a 235km cycling ride from Montreal to Quebec City.

After my buddy, Phil Anzarut, recovered from chemotherapy to treat his urachal cancer, he and his friends created the Bikus Urachus team.   Friends and colleagues donated generously and the team grew to 12 in its first year growing to over 30 today.  Bikus Urachus has been the #1 community fundraising team for this event several years running.

The Ride for 2018 sets out this weekend. As their 2018 campaign season comes to a close the 2018 Bikus Urachus team has raised more money for cancer research than any other Bikus Urachus team to date, raising $199,000 this year alone, bringing their 6 year total to an incredible $965,000.

Phil Anzarut

Not only do they raise money, they also put it to work. Their recent purchase of a next generation DNA sequencing platform for the Segal Cancer Centre ensures the Jewish General Hospital remains at the forefront of rare cancer research. Also this year, they’ve expanded their focus to all difficult cancers, as this sequencer will be used for continued research on melanoma and lung cancers.

A few weeks ago, a urachal cancer patient in Toronto reached out to Phil. Diagnosed in 2016, his cancer is at stage 4 and has metastasized in his brain. He writes: “I have always found it difficult coping with my diagnosis for several reasons, but one of the hardest parts to accept is the complete lack of knowledge in the medical community regarding urachal cancer. It is so rare there is just not enough cases for researchers to have much they can tell me about treatment, survival and expectations I should have. At times I feel as though I am the only one researching my own case and guiding myself through treatment.”

The survival rate for metastatic patients is 24 months. This is why they are riding.

Tomorrow morning Phil will lead the Bikus Urachus team on a 235km bike ride from Montreal to Quebec City on their 6th Ride to Conquer Cancer. Their sponsors include: Tactio Health Group, Noble Foods, Constructal, Martin Industries, BDC Capital, Optessa, Elopak, McWhinnie’s and Lenovo.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to make a donation, please donate directly to the Urachal Cancer Research Fund at the Jewish General Hospital at www.urachalcancer.com/donate.

As a friend, and also as the Director of Communications and Media Relations for the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal (at the Jewish General Hospital) I could not be more proud of my friend Phil and his entire team. I am hoping that this last push of publicity can help them achieve a few dollars more to reach $200,000 toward this noble cause.

All the best to Phil and the entire Bikus Urachus team. Good luck to all 2000 riders in the 2018 Ride to Conquer Cancer. May the temperature be just right, with the wind at your back. Peddle on folks!

He repaired the world: the loss of a medical giant

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To those who knew Dr. Mark A. Wainberg, he was an unassuming and genteel character with a sweet yet dry sense of humour. On the one hand, he would hobnob with royalty and world-renowned business and political leaders. On the other hand, when he spoke with you on the streets of Cote Saint-Luc or in the halls of the Jewish General Hospital, he made you feel that you were just as important as those other machers (big shots). And to him, you were.

Dr. Wainberg was at once a man of the people, a man of great faith, a real mentch. It was almost hard to fathom that this same man was responsible for saving the lives of millions of people. In the field of medical sciences he was the equivalent of a rock star.

His work changed the world for millions in Africa, for gays, for women. His activism moved multinationals, and countries. He was a force to be reckoned with.


Presentation of the 2016 D'Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal - David Birnbaum, Dr. Mark Wainberg, Glenn J. Nashen

Presentation of the 2016 D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal – David Birnbaum, Dr. Mark Wainberg, Glenn J. Nashen

Dr. Wainberg was born in Park Extension and made Cote Saint-Luc his home for more than 30 years. He was head of AIDS research at the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital and director of the McGill University Aids Centre. He served as president of the International AIDS Society and presided over worldwide symposiums.

As an extraordinary individual whose accomplishments encircle the globe, and as someone whom I had befriended for nearly 30 years, I was delighted to be the impetus in nominating Dr. Wainberg for a local award just last year – the D’Arcy McGee citizenship medals from the Quebec National Assembly, presented by MNA David Birnbaum.
“I am very grateful that my research career in the field of HIV/AIDS has helped countless people around the world to live improved lives despite being infected by a dreaded virus,” Dr. Wainberg said at the ceremony in his humble office, where I was honoured to be his sole invitee.
Also last year, I asked my fellow city councillors to award Dr. Wainberg with a special recognition for his humanitarian gesture in donating a Torah scroll in Jerusalem in memory of a young woman, Shira Banki, following her brutal slaying at the 2015 Tel Aviv Pride Parade.

Wainberg 2016 Torah donation

“Your work in the area of AIDS researcher is well-known around the world. Your donation of a restored Torah to the Ethiopian community of Jerusalem is a wonderful act. We are proud of you as a distinguished Côte Saint-Luc resident,” Acting Mayor Dida Berku said at the February 2016 presentation to Dr. Wainberg.


Wainberg Council Feb 2016

Cote Saint-Luc Council presents a special recognition award to Dr. Mark Wainberg (Feb. 8, 2016)

When I first ran for city council, I reached out to Dr. Wainberg who was then the president of the TBDJ Congregation on Bailey. His support of my campaign and his warm friendship were unequivocal. He asked for nothing in return, satisfied in helping to build his community, one leader at a time.

Having known Dr. Wainberg for so many years I can attest to his profound sense of healing the world. He was a compassionate and benevolent academic and community leader, well deserving of many honours including the Order of Canada, the National Order of Quebec and France’s Legion d’honneur.

Glenn J. Nashen and Dr. Mark Wainberg (Oct. 2009)

Dr. Wainberg’s contributions began here, at home, and spread around the globe. The biblical responsibility of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, was a calling Dr. Wainberg took to heart and to which he dedicated his life’s work.

His work will go on. His name will be remembered. May his memory be a blessing.




JGH To be listed on Montreal Stock Exchange: Oh Really?

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Kudos to JGH Senior Editor Henry Mietkiewicz for another creative and foolhardy poke at us gullible readers this past April 1st.


A big financial boost is on the way for the Jewish General Hospital, the world’s first public healthcare institution to be listed on the Montreal Stock Exchange—a move that will raise tens of millions of dollars for patient services. Read the full article.

Henry, an accomplished journalist with 30 years of experience at the Toronto Star has been goofing around on April 1st at the JGH for more than a dozen years, aside from his brilliantly inspiring articles in JGH News and throughout the new CIUSSS West-Central Montreal.

See all the past April Fools editions here.

FREE Electric Vehicle charging stations now available at JGH

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jghcharging EV

Second annual presentation of D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medals

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The second annual presentation of the D’Arcy McGee citizenship medals took place last Monday evening at the Cote Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre. This ceremony is the brainchild of D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum who also serves as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education and the Minister of Higher Education.

Three winners of this National Assembly medal were recognized for having touched and enriched the lives of riding residents through their community engagement and beyond. The selections were made by a blue-ribbon jury composed of three former D’Arcy McGee MNAs, Justice Herbert Marx, Lawrence S. Bergman and Robert Libman.

David Birnbaum, MNA for D'Arcy McGee

David Birnbaum, MNA for D’Arcy McGee

“I’m privileged to serve a riding population that consistently distinguishes itself by its community involvement, compassion and leadership,” said Mr. Birnbaum. “We are all beneficiaries of this dedication, and I look forward to this formal opportunity to show our recognition to three such individuals.”

This years medal winners are Dr. Mark A. Wainberg, Ian M. Solloway, and Liselotte Ivry.

Presentation of the 2016 D'Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal - David Birnbaum, Dr. Mark Wainberg, Glenn J. Nashen

Presentation of the 2016 D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal – David Birnbaum, Dr. Mark Wainberg, Glenn J. Nashen

I was very proud to have nominated Dr. Mark Wainberg, an extraordinary individual whose accomplishments encircle the globe. Dr. Wainberg has been a world leader in advancing treatment for, and awareness of AIDS and HIV. His research and collaboration have helped save millions of lives around the world.
Dr. Wainberg was born in Park Extension and has made Cote Saint-Luc his home for more than 30 years. He is currently head of AIDS research at the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital and director of the McGill University Aids Centre. As president of the International AIDS Society, he organized and presided over the watershed 13th International Congress on AIDS in Durban, South Africa in 2000. The courage and determination inherent in the choice of South Africa for the Congress is emblematic of Dr. Wainberg’s character and his contributions. The congress drew unprecedented international attention to the scandalous lack of access to anti-HIV drugs in developing countries.
Dr. Wainberg is also an active member of his synagogue and his community.
“I am delighted to be the recipient of a 2016 D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal and to share this distinction with two very worthy co-recipients,” said Dr. Wainberg last week at a private medal presentation in his research office owing to the fact that Dr. Wainberg’s duties required him to travel to Kenya this week.
“I am very grateful that my research career in the field of HIV/AIDS has helped countless people around the world to live improved lives despite being infected by a dreaded virus,” Dr. Wainberg added.
Last year the city of CSL awarded Dr. Wainberg with special recognition for his humanitarian gesture in donating a Torah scroll in Jerusalem in memory of a young woman, Shira Banki, following her brutal slaying at the 2015 Tel Aviv Pride Parade.
The ceremony and reception made for a lovely event. Kudos to David’s trusty staff including Elisabeth Prass, Chris Savard and Fran Guttman.
An impressive gathering of family members, friends and community leaders came together including former MNAs, mayors and councillors, a cabinet minister, Anthony Housefather MP along with Mrs. Sheila Goldbloom, wife of the former MNA for D’Arcy McGee, the late Dr. Victor Goldbloom. A talented group of young performers with the Ecole secondaire St-Luc Orchestra entertained the attendees. The refreshments were thoughtfully organized by a caterer that donates one sandwich to the homeless or less fortunate for each one purchased for the event.
Birnbaum Couillard 2016-03

The evening ended with a beautiful message from Premier Philippe Couillard appearing alongside MNA Birnbaum.


Congratulations to all the winners.
Read more in Mike Cohen’s blog.

Put on a white coat – You’re going to Med School

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Côte Saint-Luc Men’s Club presents JGH Mini-Med School. Open to all.

If you haven’t yet participated in the JGH Mini-Med School, now’s your chance to join the hundreds of “mock-tors” who have unlocked mysteries about their health, without the long hours and tiring exams of regular medical school!

The innovative, educational and entertaining JGH Mini-Med School returns to the Côte Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre this spring and summer, and the JGH and Côte Saint-Luc Men’s Club are inviting Montrealers to don their lab coats once again to hear straight talk in non-technical language from some of the JGH’s most dynamic physicians and researchers.

“By making reliable health information available to Montrealers, the JGH Mini-Med School seeks to encourage people of all ages to better manage their health”, says Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, President and CEO of the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montreal. “The JGH and Côte Saint-Luc Men’s Club share a commitment to reaching out to the community through public education programs.”

The 2016 series promises to be as enlightening and entertaining as ever, as participants will hear little-known facts on a variety of medical issues from the JGH’s medical professionals. Speakers include Francine Dupuis (Associate Executive Director – West Central Montreal Health), Alan Maislin (Chair of the Board of Directors- West Montreal Health), Dr. Yves Longtin (Chief, JGH Infection Prevention and Control Unit), Dr. Nathalie Johnson (JGH Divison of Hematology), Dr. Paul Warshawsky (Chief, JGH Department of Adult Critical Care) and Dr. Tina Kader (Endocrinology).

Where: Côte Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre, 5794 Parkhaven Avenue, Côte Saint-Luc

When: Tuesdays May 31, June 28, July 26, September 13 and September 27 at 7 p.m.

Registration is now underway at jgh.ca/en/JGHMiniMedSchool or by calling 514-340-8222, local 3337.

Due to the overwhelming response of the previously sold-out Mini-Med sessions, we encourage everyone who is interested in enrolling in the program to register and provide payment as soon as possible. Space is limited.

The fee is $50 for adults and $35 for seniors (55+) or students (with valid I.D.) for all five English sessions.

Nashen appointed Associate Director of Communications and Media Relations at West-Central Montreal Health

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I am pleased to welcome Glenn J. Nashen as Associate Director of Communications and Media Relations for the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montreal (West-Central Montreal Health).

In this position, Mr. Nashen will work in close collaboration with Beverly Kravitz, Director of Human Resources, Communications and Legal Affairs. Most notably, he will be responsible for developing a strategic communications vision linked to the network’s range of clinical services, as well as its media relations, internal and external publications, websites and intranet sites, social media strategies and multimedia activities. Mr. Nashen will also ensure that the positive image, perception and brand of the West-Central Montreal Health institutions are upheld.

Leading up to this appointment, Mr. Nashen had been Director of Public Affairs and Communications at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH) since 2001. During that time, he was instrumental in developing and maintaining a high level of communications both internal and external to the organization, as well as engaging opinion leaders and politicians. Mr. Nashen ushered the JGH into the social media age by capitalizing on this ‘new’ way of connecting with internal and external audiences. He also played a key role in the development of the hospital’s Emergency Measures Plan.

Mr. Nashen served on the national executive of the Healthcare Public Relations Association of Canada. He and his team have been recipients of 18 healthcare communications awards, including best hospital newsletter in Canada (for Pulse and JGH News) and best multimedia productions.

“I am excited to expand the patient-centric vision of our West-Central Montreal Health leadership team throughout our new network and territory,” says Mr. Nashen. “Along with my talented, creative, energetic team of communicators, I am committed to helping enrich the experience of patients, clients, residents and staff.”

Together with Mr. Nashen, the rest of the management team, and in partnership with all of the institutions in our network, I am eager to embark on this new era in health care. His rich experience at the JGH and in the community will help him and his team build the foundation for a seamless flow of communication across our network.

Lawrence Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D.
President and CEO

Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montreal

Aug. 11, 2015 | Free Press | Click to enlarge

Aug. 11, 2015 | Free Press | Click to enlarge

Observing Remembrance Day with my father

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Remembrance Day ceremony at the Jewish General Hospital with my father, George Nashen

Remembrance Day ceremony at the Jewish General Hospital with my father, George Nashen


As director of public affairs it is an honour for me to emcee the annual Jewish General Hospital Remembrance Day ceremony. This is a solemn and meaningful occasion for the staff, volunteers and even some patients to gather for fifteen minutes to pay tribute to those who have fallen so that we may live in freedom. It gives us the chance to say thank you to the brave soldiers of the Canadian Armed Forces as well as to veterans of war, conflicts and those who serve in peacekeeping missions around the world.

Each year, on the 11th day of the 11th month, at the 11th hour, we pause to remember.

This year we also mark 100 years since the beginning of the First World War. And we sadly remember W.O. Fabrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, tragically cut down not on faraway battlefields, but right here on Canadian soil, just two short weeks ago.

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

I was pleased to recognize Craig Goral, from the JGH security team and former member of the Canadian Grenadier Guards, and Sandy Bernstein, well known JGH volunteer selling poppies and used books and a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 97. My father, George Nashen, also joined us. My father is a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 97, veteran of WWII in the Royal Canadian Air Force, having served overseas for a few years. He was also was present for the inauguration of the JGH 80 years ago.


JGH and Legion volunteer known foe her annual poppy sale along with CTV News reporter Rob Lurie

JGH and Legion volunteer known for her annual poppy sale along with CTV News reporter Rob Lurie

JGH bets big on casino in Pavilion K | L’HGJ mise gros sur un casino dans le Pavillon K



To meet the urgent need for new healthcare services and the latest medical equipment, the Jewish General Hospital has devised an innovative plan to deal its patients a winning hand: A fully outfitted Medicasino will be built in the immense, enclosed atrium between the northern wall of Pavilion E and the southern façade of the newly completed Pavilion K.

The dice could begin rolling as early as this fall, as hospital administrators embark on a fast track construction schedule to take maximum advantage of the Medicasino’s windfall income during the current fiscal year. Initial estimates call for a profit of at least $50 million in the second half of 2014 2015, with annual jackpots as high as $150 million thereafter.

In keeping with the healthcare theme, all Medicasino employees will wear blue scrubs. In addition, card games will be played on oversized surgical tables, alcoholic beverages will be dispensed from refurbished medication pumps, and light snacks will be wheeled around the gaming floor on customized stretchers.

Not only will players be able to strike it rich at such traditional games as poker, roulette and slot machines, they will be eligible for special bonus prizes, including a year’s free hospital parking, a 10-day vacation in a renovated luxury suite in Pavilion K, and elective plastic surgery on the body part of their choice.

Plans also call for the periphery of the gaming floor to be ringed by upscale bars and premium food kiosks, whose rare delicacies and international cuisine (kosher, of course) are expected to attract high rollers from Europe, the Middle East and southeast Asia.

“This is the perfect way to commemorate the hospital’s 80th anniversary,” says hospital spokesperson Sylvie de Ceiver. “For decades, this institution has been a leader in providing care of exceptional quality, and we’re determined to fulfill that commitment despite the uncertain economic outlook.

“The government already gives its nod to all sorts of casinos and lotteries, so why not take the next logical step? We need to maintain a steady and reliable source of income, because one thing we would never do is gamble with the health of our patients. In our project, everybody ends up holding aces.”

Development of the Medicasino is headed by Jewish Gaming Hospital (JGH) Inc., under the supervision of Benjamin Aprille, Director of Development in the Financial Office of Opportunities for Leverage (FOOL). For convenience, the program is informally known as Aprille FOOL.

In addition to the casino’s financial benefits, its location immediately adjacent to the new Emergency Department in Pavilion K will provide much-needed emotional relief for patients and their relatives who are awaiting treatment. “Even with our much shorter waiting times, people still tend to get restless,” says Emergency Nurse Tiffany Bluffer.

“It’s wonderful to know that patients will soon have an outlet for their tension. During a few rounds of blackjack or baccarat, the minutes will just melt away. In fact, we’ll probably have to drag our patients back from the tables to set their broken leg or get their gash stitched.”


L’HGJ mise gros sur un casino dans le Pavillon K

Pour combler les besoins urgents de nouveaux services de santé et se procurer de l’équipement médical de pointe, l’Hôpital général juif a conçu un plan novateur afin d’offrir à ses patients une main gagnante : un Médicasino entièrement équipé sera construit dans l’immense atrium fermé entre le mur nord du Pavillon E et la façade sud du tout nouveau Pavillon K.

Les dés pourraient bien être lancés dès cet automne, puisque les dirigeants de l’hôpital ont établi un échéancier de réalisation accéléré pour tirer parti au maximum des gains importants du Médicasino pendant l’exercice financier en cours. Selon les estimations préliminaires, des profits d’au moins 50 millions $ sont attendus pour la deuxième moitié de 2014-2015, avec une cagnotte annuelle de l’ordre de 150 millions $ par la suite.

Pour rester dans le thème des soins de santé, tous les employés du Médicasino porteront la tenue chirurgicale bleue. Les jeux de cartes se dérouleront sur des tables d’opération surdimensionnées, on distribuera des boissons alcoolisées à partir de pompes à médicament modifiées, et des collations seront servies sur des civières spécialement adaptées qui circuleront entre les tables sur le plancher de jeu.

En plus de faire fortune à des jeux traditionnels comme le poker, la roulette et les machines à sous, les joueurs seront admissibles à des prix spéciaux, notamment un an de stationnement gratuit à l’hôpital, un forfait vacances de dix jours dans une suite haut de gamme du Pavillon K, ainsi qu’une chirurgie esthétique élective sur la partie du corps de leur choix.

On a également prévu un plancher de jeu entouré de bars de prestige et de comptoirs d’aliments fins de qualité supérieure dont les mets recherchés et la cuisine internationale, casher assurément, ne manqueront pas d’attirer les gros parieurs d’Europe, du Moyen-Orient et de l’Asie du Sud-Est.

« C’est une excellente façon de célébrer le 80e anniversaire de l’hôpital, affirme la porte-parole de l’hôpital, Sylvie LaRuse. Depuis des décennies, cet établissement s’est taillé une réputation de chef de file grâce à une prestation de soins de qualité exceptionnelle, et nous sommes déterminés à poursuivre cet engagement malgré les perspectives économiques incertaines. »

« Puisque le gouvernement donne le feu vert à toutes sortes de casinos et de loteries, pourquoi hésiterions-nous à nous lancer dans la prochaine étape logique ? Nous devons nous assurer une source de revenus constante et fiable, car s’il y a une chose que nous ne mettrons jamais en jeu c’est bien la santé de nos patients. Avec notre projet, tout le monde finit par avoir les atouts dans son jeu. »

La réalisation du Médicasino a été confiée à l’Hôpital général des jeux (HGJ) inc., sous la supervision d’André Poisson, directeur du tout nouveau Département du développement de l’entrepreneuriat. Comme ce service nouvellement créé commence véritablement ses activités en avril, on le désigne officieusement comme le Département du poisson d’avril.

En plus des avantages financiers du casino, son emplacement juste à côté du nouveau Service d’urgence dans le Pavillon K permet d’offrir aux patients et à leurs proches le soulagement émotionnel dont ils ont bien besoin en attendant les traitements. « Même avec la réduction importante de nos temps d’attente, les gens ont tendance à devenir agités », explique l’infirmière de l’urgence Tiffany Bluff.

« C’est merveilleux de savoir que les patients pourront bientôt évacuer leur stress quand rien ne va plus. Quelques tours de blackjack ou de baccarat, et ils ne verront plus le temps passer. En fait, il y a fort à parier que nous devrons écarter nos patients de force des tables de jeu pour replacer leur jambe fracturée ou leur faire des points de suture. »

A salute to Lawrence Bergman

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Lawrence Bergman, MNA for D'Arcy McGee

Lawrence Bergman, MNA for D’Arcy McGee

It’s unusual to praise someone who gets you fired from a job. But that’s what this post is about. Praising a man who, notwithstanding my abrupt departure from the office of the MNA for D’Arcy McGee, has contributed enormously to the constituents of this West End riding.

Back in 1994, after I served two years in the Cavendish Mall offices of then Member of the National Assembly Robert Libman, a little-known Lawrence Bergman swept to power in the general elections as the new liberal MNA. Such is life in politics and despite loving my full time job as Chief of Staff it was time to vacate the office and make way for Lawrence to move in to the locale that had once housed former MNA Herbert Marx.

Lawrence quickly learned his constituency by attending community events, meeting one-on-one with community leaders and dealing with important dossiers representing us in Quebec City. So devoted was he to his community that he often transcended his immediate borders of the riding to take up matters of importance to the greater Jewish community as well as advocating for the Jewish General Hospital where I’ve worked as Director of Public Affairs and Communications for the past 13 years.

Crucial to the progress of the JGH’s new critical care wing, Pavilion K, was the contribution of Lawrence Bergman who provided valuable insight for years into ways in which the hospital’s many strengths could benefit Quebec’s healthcare system. Mr. Bergman has helped the JGH better understand how to work more closely and efficiently with the civil service to bring Pavilion K to life.

For his accomplishments Mr. Bergman merited the hospital’s highest recognition, the Distinguished Service Award, an honour he accepted “with deep humility” in 2012, adding that he is just “a little link in the chain of success,” compared to healthcare professionals who save lives every day.

We are fortunate to have a dedicated and compassionate Member of the National Assembly such as Lawrence Bergman. I am fortunate to have an excellent working relationship with Lawrence.  He is a friend to all Cote Saint-Lucers. - Nous sommes chanceux d'avoir un membre dévoué et compatissant de l'Assemblée nationale comme Lawrence Bergman. Je suis hereux d'avoir une excellente relation de travail avec Lawrence. Il est un ami à tous les Cote Saint-Lucois.

We are fortunate to have had a dedicated and compassionate Member of the National Assembly such as Lawrence Bergman. – Nous sommes chanceux d’avoir eu un membre dévoué et compatissant de l’Assemblée nationale comme Lawrence Bergman.

Born and raised in Montreal, Mr. Bergman earned his law degree from the University of Montreal in 1964.  He became a Member of the Board of Notaries in 1965 and after being elected to the National Assembly in 1994 he continued to practice as a notary until 2003. He served in government in various senior capacities, notably as Minister of Revenue from 2003 to 2007, and as Chair of the Government Caucus from 2008 to 2012.

Once elected, Mr. Bergman became fully aware of what he calls “the culture of excellence” at the JGH. Ironically, the hospital is not in his riding, but since it serves most of his constituents, he quickly became involved as an advocate on its behalf. I recall at an event marking the launch of the paediatric psychology building on Cote Saint-Catherine Road that Mount-Royal MNA Pierre Arcand, the actual representative of the hospital neighbourhood declared tongue in cheek, that Bergman was so adept at representing the hospital’s needs that the area should be ceded to D’Arcy McGee.

On the Cote Saint-Luc scene my most memorable work together with Lawrence was saving our remarkable, all-volunteer Emergency Medical Services. With the mega-municipal mergers in 2002 Montreal planned to shutter our life-saving organization, known throughout the region as a model volunteer first responder service. Having joined as a young recruit out of high school back in 1980, EMS became a passion of mine. 20 years later, having devoted a significant part of my life to this organization any suggestion of closing it down and handing over the service to the Montreal Fire Department was unimaginable, perhaps even worse than the idiotic mergers themselves.

I worked tirelessly with Ruth Kovac, Anthony Housefather and Lawrence Bergman to consolidate community support and draft the necessary resolutions. Lawrence worked feverishly at the National Assembly and eventually presented a special law for Cote Saint-Luc that received consent and paved the way for EMS to be saved. Countless lives have been touched profoundly over the last decade because of Lawrence’s critical intervention.


So too was his interest in working with City Council to ensure the necessary funding for the Aquatic and Community Centre. This project could not have happened if it were not for the vision and political leadership of Lawrence Bergman and Anthony Housefather.

Councillors Sam Goldbloom, Mike Cohen, Dida Berku, Glenn J. Nashen and Allan J. Levine with MNA Lawrence Bergman

Councillors Sam Goldbloom, Mike Cohen, Dida Berku, Glenn J. Nashen and Allan J. Levine with MNA Lawrence Bergman at his nomination last autumn

He is also noted for, and proud of, convincing the National Assembly to adopt a day, each and every year, marking Yom Hashoah, a day of remembrance for the Holocaust.

Lawrence’s lists of accomplishments for D’Arcy McGee, the Jewish community and all Quebecers is significant and will become political lore and be remembered for generations.

I take this opportunity to thank Mr. Bergman for all this on behalf of my family and my constituents. Indeed, thanks to his success in 1994 and my new career orientations, I too was pushed to new heights and accomplishments. I wish him much happiness and good health as he enters this new stage. And I know, given his love for his community, we will be seeing him around and involved in new capacities for a very long time.  

May Lawrence continue to be an inspiration to the community and as he so often cited the words of the sages, may he too go from strength to strength.

Read more on Mike Cohen’s blog

Duo performance at CSL Men’ Club

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Mark Cotler, Dr. Judy Hagshi, Glenn J. Nashen, Sidney Margles

Mark Cotler, Dr. Judy Hagshi, Glenn J. Nashen, Sidney Margles

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with the Cote Saint-Luc Men’s Club at their weekly Thursday morning meeting.  Being a very cold January morning I figured most members would be away in Florida and I’d speak to a small group of a couple of dozen members. I should have known better than to underestimate the resolve of this group of dedicated and proud members of civic-minded and active seniors and its uber-determined president Sidney Margles. Almost 150 people showed up that morning!

I was asked to speak about the Jewish General Hospital’s position on Bill 60, the so-called Charter of Quebec Values. Being one of the key authors of this major position paper, and official spokesperson for the hospital, I was very pleased to inform the membership about the position taken by the JGH Board of Directors and its newly appointed Executive Director, Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg. After all, this is an establishment that this group supports fiercely, as volunteers, contributors, users and so on.

The energy and pride in the room was palpable as I told them that the JGH would remain true to its founding principles of being an institution providing “Care for all.” Under no circumstances would the hospital trade away its values and ethics set in place 80 years ago in being an institution that welcomes all people regardless of faith, language, religion, etc…  The JGH stands firmly opposed to the draft legislation that would erode basic freedoms as guaranteed in the Quebec, Canadian and Universal charters protecting minority rights and freedoms.

I also offered a brief photo tour of the soon to be opened, brand new state-of-the-art Emergency Department in Pavilion K at the JGH.

Then it was time for me to introduce the real keynote speaker, my better half, Dr. Judy Hagshi. Dr. Hagshi spoke about how to prepare for a doctor’s visit so that the interaction is as effective as possible.  Taking notes and sticking to just one or two issues per visit are key she emphasized.  She also highlighted the importance of having an accurate written account of your medical history and medication list to present when meeting a new doctor or in an emergency situation.  The conclusion was a reminder to everyone that the best defence against getting sick is still getting a flu shot and washing your hands.

The ‘leading Jew in Canada’ born 148 years ago today

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Sir Mortimer B. Davis

Sir Mortimer B. Davis

Mortimer Barnett Davis was born into a family of Jewish immigrants in Montreal on February 6, 1866. His father had settled there around 1861 and had soon made his mark as one of the largest cigar manufacturers in the metropolis.

Mortimer Barnett grew up in affluent surroundings. His bar mitzvah in 1879 was held at the Spanish and Portuguese congregation. After studying at the High School of Montreal, around 1880 he followed his elder brothers into the family firm.

His family name has touched the lives of millions of North Americans as the “Tobacco King” made his mark and his fortune. Also, he impacted hundreds of thousands of Montrealers in the last half century. The old Davis Y on Kellert Ave in Cote Saint-Luc, the Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research are three major examples of Sir Mortimer’s enduring and powerful family name.

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