Base Operation Funding Approved for New MRI at SLMHC

Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC) is proud to announce it will receive base funding from Ontario Health North West to support the operation of a new Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scanner.

“The implementation of an MRI unit will help provide better health care services both closer and sooner for our patients and service area. An MRI unit is crucial for ensuring proactive and timely health care services for residents served by us here at SLMHC,” says Dean Osmond, Acting President and CEO of SLMHC.

“We are thrilled that this one-of-a-kind technology will be available in our region. Our team looks forward to bringing on new members who have expertise in the field of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Together, we will strive to build a program that reflects the high-quality standards we aim to put forth every day,” says Leena Thibodeau, Manager of Laboratory and Diagnostic Imaging Services at SLMHC.

SLMHC serves approximately 30,000 residents across a geographical area of approximately 385,000 square km. Currently, patients endure wait times and required travel for MRI scans in both Thunder Bay and Winnipeg. An MRI unit at SLMHC will improve access to health care service for our patients, and it will reduce wait times as patients look to access MRI scans.

Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre serves the Municipality of Sioux Lookout, including Hudson, the towns of Pickle Lake and Savant Lake, and 28 First Nation communities in the Sioux Lookout region.

“The radiologists and physicians are thrilled with the addition of an MRI to our Diagnostic Imaging Department. It will enable another step forward to ensure full comprehensive diagnostic imaging services closer to home,” says Dr. Neety Panu, Radiologist. “Patients and their families can feel less burdened by travel and other logistics with this addition. We thank the Ontario government for recognizing this need in our unique population.”

“The addition of an MRI machine to our surgical program will be very helpful for breast and biliary disease in particular. Patients with complex gallstone or pancreatic disease could now be imaged without the need for radiation or potentially invasive procedures, and patients with a high risk for breast cancer or complicated breast disease could now similarly be imaged here in Sioux Lookout for both screening and to help guide treatment,” says Dr. Justin Poling, General Surgeon.

“MRI will be a game changer in the emergency department. It will allow us access to a diagnostic modality that can make a difference in the emergency care of our patients. It will also save on costs of travel from our region for patients that require an MRI procedure,” says Dr. John Glenn, Chief of Emergency Department.

SLMHC is responsible for all capital costs associated with construction to house the new MRI Scanner, as well as the MRI itself. The cost is estimated around seven-million dollars if new construction has to occur. The SLMHC Foundation says preparations are underway to launch a fundraising campaign, which will directly support the capital costs associated with the new MRI Scanner.

“The SLMHC Foundation Board is extremely excited about this great news, and we will be starting a formal fundraising campaign in the very near future with details announced by early spring,” says Christine Hoey, SLMHC Foundation President. “We want to have the MRI operational as soon as possible, so we will be reaching out to the community and all the areas we service to help us reach our goal. If you have any questions, or would like to donate prior to our formal announcement, please contact the Foundation office at 807-738-0566.”

“SLMHC, and its Board of Directors, is so thankful for the ongoing support of the SLMHC Foundation and its generous donors. They’ve played a huge role in fundraising for major equipment needs, and have helped enhance health care in Sioux Lookout and the north,” says Sadie Maxwell, SLMHC Board Chair.

Since its inception, the SLMHC Foundation has raised over five-million dollars to provide funding for medical equipment, education, special treatment programs and capital building funds for SLMHC. For more information, visit