Recognition of Local Heroes During COVID-19

Nazanin Meshkat

is being recognized for her leadership and support of EM trainees during the COVID pandemic as the Program Director of the largest EM training program in the country.

Meeta Patel

is being recognized for her leadership as EMU chair and transitioning the biggest EM conference in the country to a virtual format.

Kate Hayman

is being recognized for her tireless advocacy to improve care and provide isolation facilities for the homeless and marginalized populations during the COVID pandemic.

Kari Sampsel

is a staff emergency physician and the Medical Director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program at the Ottawa Hospital. During the COVID pandemic, she has worked frontline in the ED as well as maintaining seamless care for survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence. Isolation can increase the risks and exposure to violence and it is even more vital to have supportive specialized care available 24/7 during this period of isolation. She has also done traditional and social media to let the community know that the program is still running as usual, despite many other changes to the way healthcare is accessed. She was recently honoured with the Adam Cwinn Award for Patient Safety and Quality.

Eileen Cheung and Jennifer Bryan

are the co-directors of the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration in Emergency Medicine, a long term global health education partnership designed to support the development of emergency medicine in Ethiopia.

Eileen recognized the importance of showing solidarity with emergency physicians in Ethiopia despite not being able to travel to be with them in person. Together with colleagues in Ethiopia she developed an extensive ongoing virtual curriculum for residents and staff. Eileen’s role in making this transition possible is all the more impressive because she welcomed her newest addition, a baby girl, in the middle of the pandemic. She balances being the mother of a newborn and a toddler with being a leader in medical education and is a hero to all of us who have the privilege of working with her.

The pandemic led to the cancellation of the first-ever in-person teaching trip in the partnership’s 10-year history in May 2020.  Jennifer led TAAAC-EM to rapidly pivot from in-person teaching trips to develop and deploy a virtual postgraduate and professional development education program for our Ethiopian colleagues.  This program has continued since May and has allowed TAAAC-EM to seamlessly maintain its mandate to support the establishment of a sustainable cohort of Ethiopian emergency physicians.

Erin O’Connor

is being recognized for her for her fearless leadership and for being the voice of calm and reason as the Deputy Director of UHN ED during the pandemic.

Alia Dharamsi and Soojin Yi

are being recognized for their in-situ mock codes for COVID protected code blues and creating sim cases that promoted safe practices in resuscitating suspected COVID patients – these were shared among the global EM community.

Christie MacDonald

Interim Chair, City-Wide Chief, Emergency Medicine, LHSC/SJHC, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, Ontario did an excellent job of leading our group through the initial months of the pandemic. She met this formidable challenge with grace and energy, and engaged tirelessly with all departments to craft LHSC’s response to the pandemic. She kept our group, including nursing and allied health colleagues, well informed with regular updates. Our group met the initial months of COVID well assured that Christie was working around the clock to optimize our preparedness, safety, and well-being.

Megan Landes

for her research efforts to find effective prophylaxis for COVID exposure to healthcare practitioners.

Carolyn Snider

for her leadership as chief of St. Michael’s ED during the pandemic

Chau Pham

Currently the Ultrasound Director for the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Manitoba, Chau took the lead with a Wellness Team to develop the  Physician and Staff Gratitude & Wellness initiative to improve work morale during a stressful pandemic for physicians, nurses, and allied health colleagues. Through her leadership, the group was able to acquire appropriate PPE for MDs and residents and scrubs for the entire ED staff. Local experts in high performance psychology were available for all colleagues who work in the ER and Urgent Care Centers in Winnipeg. The projects are ongoing and continue to lift the team up.

Katrina Hurley

Chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, NS, worked tirelessly during the pandemic to support our department in pandemic preparedness. What was most notable was that her support was all encompassing, not only did she brief the physicians weekly with clinical updates, but she continually ensured our wellness was in check.

Gena Bugden

is the chief of emergency medicine at Eastern Health. As a result of her strong leadership throughout the COVID19 pandemic the Eastern Health Emergency Department is prepared to respond to the health needs of our population. For example, she promoted in situ simulation of COVID19 aerosol generating procedures between nursing, respiratory therapy and physicians. She actively listened to the needs of staff and engaged with the health authority to remodel the ER to provide more negative pressure spaces to treat patients with COVID19. She led the organization and implementation of an outpatient community COVID19 assessment clinic. Furthermore, she worked with clinical directors to ensure infection control practices were streamlined and consistent. Her leadership has been unwavering and instrumental to a strong and coordinated response to COVID19 in our health region.

Carly Ng

is being recognized for her leadership as an Assistant Co-director of postgraduate training at UHN ED and her advocacy for the safety of trainees during the pandemic.

Laurie Mazurik

Dr. Laurie Mazurik has been a strong leader throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing the risks to the community and healthcare system early on, she worked to develop the ECUSS platform in which she recognized and created a very practical primer for healthcare workers who may feel uncomfortable, scared or unsafe as the pandemic developed. This primer built on her experiences in disaster medicine and having personally worked through the SARS epidemic. It offered evidence-based and practical guidance on the detailed in’s and out’s of proper PPE use and minimizing risk of contamination at home. Her work also recognized and validated the emotional impact of a looming pandemic on physicians and other healthcare workers. Notable about Dr. Mazurik is her enthusiasm to share her expertise and resources with emergency staff across the country both individually and through other venues such as her contributions to recent CAEP COVID-19 townhall discussions.

Corinne Hohl

is a great example in the way she responded by rapidly setting up a Nation ED COVID Registry.

Heather Lindsay

is the Head at of the ED at Vancouver General Hospital and is a great role model and displayed great leadership during COVID

Cheryl ffrench

Cheryl ffrench

Currently the FRCPC Emergency Medicine Residency Director at the University of Manitoba, Dr. ffrench was instrumental in preparing the ED for COVID. With the support of 2 other physicians she developed intubation protocols for COVID suspect and positive patients. EM staff were able to practice these protocols in team based simulation using full PPE, including donning and doffing procedures. These simulations allowed the team to troubleshoot problems before facing the real situation. While national bodies recommended the most experienced physician to intubate COVID cases, Dr. ffrench ensured that resident learners were protected from local pressures to allow resident intubaters. Safety of residents has always been her priority. Senior residents were provided full training simulation in trauma care and resuscitation using appropriate PPE protocols prior to being allowed to lead resuscitation cases.

Marie-Maud Couture

Is chief of the EDs from her region (chef du département de médecine d’urgence au CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS), did a lot of work planning the covid response coordinating with public health and local authorities. She also gave a talk for FMSQ(fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec) on leadership in times of COVID-19 for physicians from all medical specialties.

Ashley Lee

Ashley Lee

As the Covid pandemic reached Canadian soil and our department and organization grappled with the emerging threat, lockdown and the deluge of new and daily information, Dr. Ashley Lee volunteered for the role as our ED lead for pandemic planning. This allowed our Chief, Dr. Phil Schieldrop to focus on overall management of the ED’s. She attended hours of daily meetings, advocating for the ED, and was instrumental in ensuring appropriate PPE supply and distribution for our department. Dr Lee also produced an excellent evidence based ED treatment and admission protocol that was quickly adopted by both Internal Medicine and Hospitalist groups. She constantly kept the rest of the department up to date on local issues as well as changes to provincial protocols. She was a trusted and calm voice that helped many in our department get through the anxiety and fear that we all felt in the early stages of the pandemic. We are privileged to call her one of our own.

Andrea Somers

Andrea Somers

for her Phone Connect project to distribute old phones to homeless and patients in need so that they could be traced and called back with COVID results.

Valerie Homier

Valerie Homier

 led the disaster planning and surge capacity for the McGill University Health Centres

Erin Kenny

Erin Kenny

is the Operations Lead at St Paul’s ED and is a great leader always but particularly during COVID ED restructuring and process change

Rebeccah Rosenblum

Rebeccah Rosenblum

has been an outstanding member of the medical leadership team at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, providing clear decision-making and balanced approaches at all stages of the pandemic. She has maintained her focus on patient care without overlooking the needs of her frontline medical teams—both physician and nursing teams over the last five months with a great deal of grace. Rebeccah provides opinion and guidance to help with operational and medical issues for the ED and elsewhere in the site and she’s been invaluable as a colleague for professional support for the leadership team.

Brandi Read

is an Emergency Physician at The Ottawa Hospital. She took on the role of public health/IPAC (Infection Prevention and Control) representative and worked on emergency department preparedness with respect to PPE, patient flow, isolation precautions, AGMPs, testing, and return to work guidelines. Much of her work involved meeting with various stakeholders, educating the Emergency Department group about updates, helping create guidelines for acute care of the COVID patients and developing infection control policies in the ED. She worked tirelessly to keep us all informed with the numerous COVID-19 related changes.

Simerpreet Sandhanwalia

at Hamilton Health Sciences cofounded Frontline Connect, an organization that partners with the tech industry to help family members connect virtually with the patient in the emergency department! The details are in this CBC story!

Stacey Kitz, Stephanie Robertson, Loree Vint

When COVID-19 first emerged, Stacey, Stephanie, and Loree took the lead in our health region, Prairie Mountain Health, in western Manitoba. They work in Brandon, Manitoba at the Brandon Regional Health Center. Dr Kitz is an emergency physician and Loree and Stephanie are two of our nurse educators. They spent countless hours and energy into developing protocols, running SIM for staff, attending meetings, educating staff as protocols and recommendations changed daily, and helped to quell our fears and anxieties. They have helped us all more than they know! We are so grateful and privileged to have these women as colleagues who were willing to go the extra mile for our team and for our health region!

Dawn Lim

Dawn Lim

Concerned with frontline ED healthcare workers’ emotional needs during the pandemic, Dr Lim has initiated two well-received virtual peer support wellness groups. Dr Lim is also a talented photographer and storyteller; her documentation of the pandemic in the ED provides a realistic and human view of the current situation. Her work has also been profiled in the local and national media.

MacLeans Link         Global News Link

Julia Bernard
Madelaine Yona
Kamy Apkarian

Julia Bernard, Madelaine Yona, and Kamy Apkarian

are CCFP-EM trained attendings in the emergency department at Jewish General Hospital, Montreal. They came together early in the pandemic to create and teach simulation sessions on the stabilization and resuscitation of the acutely ill COVID patient. Despite being in her last months of pregnancy, worked with a team in running simulation sessions, training our entire staff of nursing, orderlies and physicians and eventually branching out to other departments as well. They without a doubt saved many lives, both of patients and of health care workers. Their dedication was outstanding and their drive strong.

Valérie Charbonneau

Valérie Charbonneau

is an Emergency Physician at the Ottawa Hospital and she is also the Medical Director for the Community Paramedic Program in Ottawa. She has worked tirelessly to help out the long term care homes in Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were outbreaks in several of the LTC and retirement homes in the region and Dr. Charbonneau assembled clinical teams to help out in the homes. She and her team worked inside these LTC homes during the pandemic and ensured patients were receiving appropriate medical care.

Jeanne MacLeod

Jeanne MacLeod

is the simulation lead and set up a great series of simulations to practice various scenarios during COVID

Aikta Verma

Aikta Verma

is being recognized for leadership as Chief of the Department of Emergency Services at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Sunnybrook was the first Canadian hospital to admit a COVID patient. Dr. Verma undertook a calm, organized and transparent approach to leading the team through the early stages of the pandemic, when there were only individual cases, the height of the pandemic, when everyone worried Toronto might be the next New York or Italy, and the long denouement that we are living through today. She has skillfully navigated the emergency department (ED) team through frequent changes in PPE requirements, new protocols, the creation and wind down of COVID hot zones, and patient flow through the ED. Her personal touch was particularly important, checking in with team members to see how they were coping, both in their personal and professional lives. Never one to sit still, Dr. Verma is currently simultaneously preparing for a potential second wave and working hard to get the ED back to normal operations as the prevalence of COVID decreases.)

Nour Khatib

Nour Khatib

is an emergency physician with multitudes of diverse experiences and has contributed to COVID education from the very start. She works on the frontlines at Lakeridge Health and Sunnybrook in the Greater Toronto Area. Her work at rural locums extends to the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Her dedication to medicine and medical education at Lakeridge Health at the early stages of the pandemic helped create a more transparent environment through education and running simulation cases for hospitalists, nurses, ICU and emergency staff. At the height of the pandemic, she traveled to the small town of Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories and exchanged best practices and lead COVID simulation exercises with up North medical staff. We would like to thank her for being kind, compassionate and driven to help across the country in these difficult times and we hope she continues to inspire women everywhere.

Her hard work and contributions have been highlighted in several articles:

Toronto LifeUntold Women ArticleCBC News report NWT COVID Prep

Catherine Varner

Catherine Varner

is an Emergency Physician and Clinician Scientist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Varner has been highlighting important issues related to the COVID-19 crisis in the media including the tough choices parents on the frontline of the pandemic must make, issues pertaining to hallway medicine and restricted visitor policies, etc. Her work has been published in CMAJ News, Healthy Debate, and The Conversation. She has also been featured on CBC Metro Morning and CBC The National— while simultaneously working on the front lines!

Heather Murray

Heather Murray

is a teacher at Queen’s and an Emergency Medicine physician at Kingston General Hospital. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, Dr. Murray has worked extremely hard to shift the Queen’s Medicine curriculum to online for the third and fourth year programs (roughly 200 students). This has been an especially challenging task for the third years, as she and the curricular team has had to create brand new content and curriculum until the cohort can resume clinical duties in January, which is no easy feat. Despite all the stress and uncertainty surrounding clinical rotations and what the next year has in store for medical students, she has been incredibly supportive and an uplifting person to see on Zoom daily. The picture shows her sitting outside the graduation hall at Queen’s on the day of the fourth year’s graduation in May as their ceremony was held virtually on Zoom.

Erin Bearss

Erin Bearss

is an emergency physician and family physician at Mount Sinai Hospital. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Bearss was instrumental in organizing the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital. As the medical director of the Assessment Centre, Dr. Bearss is able to rapidly adapt to frequent changes in direction regarding testing and access from the local and provincial levels. While leading the COVID-19 Assessment Centre, Dr. Bearss continues to work simultaneously in the Emergency Department, her family practice clinic, and is the Associate Chief of Family Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication!

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