It’s with great sadness and condolences to family, friends and former colleagues that we share the news of the passing of Mary MacNutt earlier this month.

Mary helped lead the Association of Ontario Health Centres - AOHC (now the Alliance for Healthier Communities) as our Director of Communications, from 2009 to 2017 when she retired after a long career in social justice, advocacy and journalism that spanned several decades.

Mary’s efforts at the AOHC helped to define community health and wellbeing advocacy in Ontario and throughout Canada. Simultaneously a trailblazer and a quiet leader, Mary championed and raised the profile of health equity work by Alliance members throughout Ontario. Her work on files such as the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, Supervised Injection Sites, Ontario’s push for publicly-funded oral health care for children and seniors, improved cancer care for racialized women, universal childcare and pharmacare, among many other important areas, is still being felt to this day.

Mary also helped to redefine what the Alliance annual conference, and our annual Community Health and Wellbeing campaigns meant, both to the sector and beyond. When it came to “Shifting the Conversation” on health equity, getting political leaders and health care bureaucrats alike to take note of the sector’s work, Mary’s energy was boundless.

Mary was also a passionate leader of her teams at the Alliance over the years, helping to assemble small but mighty groups of like-minded professionals to support Alliance members and the communities they serve. Her mentorship, guidance, support – both in the often complex work of the Alliance, but also in the challenges of life – will never be forgotten.

Well into her retirement, Mary was active, vibrant and enjoying the best of life, whether on the tennis court, painting studio, or convening social justice-minded allies in her living room to provide a space for the next generation of change-makers.

We have the utmost gratitude for Mary’s work with us, the time she spent helping make us and our sector stronger, and we will miss her dearly. Rest in peace, our ally and friend.