Give us feedback


Internet Explorer is not supported.

It is recommended that you view this website on the latest version of Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari.

ESTeam Effort

Back to Our Stories

Providence’s Theresa McElroy finds her inspiration for climate action among her colleagues.

As the Corporate Director of Strategic Planning & Management in the Office of Strategy & Results at Providence Health Care (PHC), and a Green+Leader, Theresa McElroy, known fondly as “Tree,” is bringing a unique blend of strategic insight and a deep commitment to planetary health.

Driven by her connection to nature and a recognition of the pressing need for health care to address its environmental impact, Theresa is not only shaping the future of health-care strategy but also leading the charge in environmental stewardship.

In April 2022, Theresa became one of the founding members of PHC’s Environmental Stewardship Team (ESTeam). The ESTeam, initiated by Tony Munster, Executive Director, Projects, Planning & Facilities Management, serves as a collective force, rallying individuals from diverse departments at PHC to reduce health care’s impact on the environment.

As a co-lead for the Measurement & Evaluation working group within the ESTeam, Theresa champions the use of data and information to drive change.

Demonstrating impact is a great way to inspire further action,” she notes. “We cannot change everything, but we can take responsibility for addressing sustainability within our sphere of influence.”

The ESTeam’s success stories include adding sustainability metrics to senior leadership’s strategic monitoring reports and launching pilots such as the GloveSmart Story, aimed at reducing inappropriate and excessive glove use in health-care settings.

In Fall 2023, the ESTeam launched the Planetary Health Funding Awards Initiative, spearhead by Aggie Black, Director of Research and Knowledge Translation and also a Green+Leader (read about Aggie here!). This initiative supports sustainability projects through funding and mentorship for Providence clinicians and staff, fostering innovation and impactful change.

Theresa’s work with the ESTeam and her everyday life inform one another, each illuminating new ways to live and work more sustainably. Theresa takes public transit when possible; eats a “plant-forward” diet, contributes to community clean-up efforts, and shares her sustainability knowledge with her son and his Scouts cohort.

Looking ahead, Theresa is facilitating PHC’s first planetary health strategy. The strategy, set to be completed by June 2024, builds on sustainability principles integrated into PHC’s 7-year strategic plan.

Everyone has something to contribute to planetary health, she believes: “There are many ways to get involved, and every person’s ideas and effort matter.” Theresa encourages those who want to make a positive difference to join the ESTeam, the Green+Leaders community, or connect with CASCADES Canada for tools to initiate change.

Despite the pressing need for action, Theresa is buoyed by the growing commitment to environmental responsibility at her workplace. “ESTeam has really shown me the power of the committed coalition of people…The passion and commitment of the team is inspiring and it’s encouraging to be part of this community.”