March 16, 2020

Arthritis Society moves into new era

New President and CEO Trish Barbato excited to advance the cause of arthritis in Canada

This February, upon Janet Yale’s retirement, Trish Barbato took on the role of President and CEO of the Arthritis Society. With more than 20 years of experience as a senior executive in the fields of health and senior living, Barbato has built an impressive reputation as a leader skilled at driving organizational change.

Most recently, Barbato served in C-Suite roles with senior living provider Revera, with a focus on innovation and strategic partnerships. Prior to that she was President & CEO of COTA Health, a rehabilitation, mental health and support services organization.

“When I was approached to apply for this role,” says Barbato, “it resonated with me immediately. The 70-year legacy of work on behalf of Canadians affected by arthritis combines with a new strategic plan to provide a strong foundation that we can really accelerate from. Most importantly, I have a personal connection to the cause as most members of my family have arthritis, including myself.”

Barbato is focused on getting a better handle on the challenges and opportunities facing the arthritis community. To that end, Barbato’s first month on the job took her to Victoria to attend the first Research Day conference held jointly by the Arthritis Society, the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA) and CIHR-IMHA.

“I was impressed to see the level of coordination between our organizations in creating an environment for knowledge sharing and research advancement,” says Barbato.

That meeting led to the CRA’s annual scientific meeting in Victoria, where Barbato addressed attendees and met with key stakeholders, committees and patient groups.

“We heard from some amazing patients, and their stories exemplify true resilience and strength,” says Barbato. “They are inspiring. It was a great reminder of what binds us all, regardless of our role in the arthritis community. Together we change lives.”

A graduate of the University of Waterloo, Barbato is a Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant, a published author and international speaker on topics such as design thinking, innovation and leadership. She received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012 for her outstanding charity commitments.

“I look forward to continuing to work through our partnerships across the arthritis community, driving positive change as all our organizations work – independently and together – to advance the cause of arthritis in Canada.”

Trish Barbato

Arthritis Society President and CEO Trish Barbato