David Keselman (photo from the Louis Brier)
After an extensive search, the Dr. Irving and Phyliss Snider Campus for Jewish Seniors, comprised of the Louis Brier Home and Hospital and the Weinberg Residence, have appointed David Keselman chief executive officer.
“David is the ideal candidate at this time for the organization,” said Louis Brier board chair Arnold Abramson in a press release. “David’s experience will benefit Louis Brier directly in our commitment to providing quality patient care for residents. We feel that his innovative approach, enthusiasm and leadership style will enable Louis Brier as it moves forward with both our clinical operations and our upcoming site redevelopment.”
Sandra Bressler, chair of the Weinberg Residence, echoed Abramson’s endorsement.
“I plan first to get to know and understand the environment, both clinical, social and political in the organization and in B.C. in general,” Keselman told the Independent. “The relationships with stakeholders (both internal and external) are important, as well as familiarizing myself with the Jewish community and finding opportunities for integration as appropriate.”
Born in Lvov, Keselman was raised north of Haifa, in Kiriyat Yam, and served three years in the Israel Defence Forces. At 21, he followed his high school sweetheart to Toronto and began working at Baycrest, Toronto’s major Jewish home for the elderly. He has a doctorate of health administration from Central Michigan University, and a master’s of nursing and a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Toronto, and he worked in acute care for many years.
In Toronto, the couple had two children, now aged 20 and 17, both of whom attended Jewish day school. They live with their mother but are following in their father’s footsteps – his son is enrolled in the nursing program at Ryerson University and his daughter plans to become a nurse as well.
Coming with his partner to Vancouver from Yellowknife – where he was vice-president of patient services at Stanton Territorial Health Authority – Keselman is looking forward to getting back to a place with a Jewish community. While he admits that he does not connect with the synagogue experience, he feels connected to many aspects of the Jewish community.
“As I get older,” he said, “the affinity and need to get closer to my roots becomes more important. Seeing that I grew up in Israel, keeping our community strong and active is imperative on many levels, not only to ensure that our tradition and culture continue to exist, but also because a strong community here ensures the strength of Israel and its ability to cope with the many adversities it is facing.”
Keselman comes to the campus in the 70th anniversary year of the Louis Brier.
“I am excited about the renewal plans,” he said, “and look forward to a future design that integrates culture, tradition, values with evidence-based and best practices to create a dynamic environment that provides a holistic continuum for patients/residents of the Louis Brier and their families, with an aim of creating a centre of excellence in geriatric care anchored in the philosophy of client- and family-centred care.”
Keselman has a five-year history of involvement with Accreditation Canada, the organization that certifies health-care facilities, where he has gained considerable knowledge in the area of quality improvement and risk reduction. He has held a wide range of executive roles in Ontario and the Northwest Territories, and is an associate instructor at both the Ryerson University School of Nursing and Athabasca University.
“I believe my experiences to date culminate in a progressive, open-minded, transformational leadership style that will support the team, stakeholders and, of course, the residents of the Louis Brier in achieving quality outcomes and satisfaction from the environment and the services delivered in the organization,” he said.
Sounding like a West Coaster already, Keselman said he is looking forward to a very different lifestyle in Vancouver than he had in Yellowknife. Jewish community is a big bonus, he said, but so is the increased opportunity for fitness – Keselman has taught aqua fitness and spin classes for almost 20 years. According to Abramson, Keselman is expected to be on-site at the Louis Brier on Sept. 14.
Michelle Dodek is a freelance writer living in Vancouver.