Sign up for the Unity Health Toronto newsletter, a monthly update on the latest news, stories, patient voices and research emailed directly to subscribers. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do that by clicking here.

A clinical resource coordinator who uses music to help her palliative patients. Resident assistants whose quick thinking saved the life of a stroke patient. An administrative coordinator who is known for being a wealth of institutional knowledge. An activation team that takes the time to get to know each of the individuals patients’ wants and needs. An attending physician who is appreciated by her team for being steadfastly anti-oppression and anti-discrimination.

These are the winners of the 2024 Our Shared Values Awards at Providence Healthcare who have been recognized for going above and beyond to embody Unity Health’s values of human dignity, compassion, excellence, community and inclusivity.

Here are some of their stories in the words of those who nominated them.

Michele Bush, Clinical Resource Coordinator in the Adult Day Program

Winner of the Human Dignity Award for an individual or team who affirms that every person has sacred value and is worth of respect.

Michele always displays love, care, and empathy for our club members. For example, we had a club member who was deemed palliative. Michele made sure she received the best care and programming.

Whenever Michele would wake her up in the morning, she would take a basin of warm, soapy water and play hymns of praise, knowing that this club member was very religious. Her gentle, kind voice was exactly what that club member needed, in her dying process.

Further considering her needs, Michele always made sure that club member had a cardigan on, as she often felt cold. This was not just a task for Michele, but an important piece to ensure this club member felt loved and cared for in a matter that was as individual as she was.

Josiah Nyembwa Malemba and Peter Jay Aratea, Resident Assistants in the Houses of Providence

Winners of the Compassion Award for an individual or team that enables health and healing by understanding each person’s needs and by providing care with kindness and sensitivity.

My brother suffered a stroke in the middle of the night. The RAs on duty were fast to notice the change in his condition, in particular his slurred speech and weakness. They notified the nurse on duty, and the team quickly called an ambulance and made a call to notify me. As a result of Josiah and Peter’s speedy response, my brother was transported to emergency and quickly received treatment within the desired 4 hour window for efficacy.

I think Peter and Josiah are deserving of commendation, in particular because of the time of night. It would be easy to imagine a person attributing the slurred speech to sleepiness, and just going on with their jobs to help other residents. Instead, their quick action saved his life, and his rehab has been very good. My brother and I are beyond grateful for the perception and attention of the team on his night.

As family members, we often see the good work of the daytime staff and they receive our verbal and written appreciation more frequently. However, the nighttime staff are not seen by families, and I would like to take this opportunity to call out their exceptional work.

Kimberly Estrela, Unit Administrative Coordinator for A5

Winner of the Excellence Award for an individual or team who strives to achieve the best care and quality through innovation and continuous improvement

Kim is the heart and soul of our unit. If you need an answer to your question, guaranteed Kim will have your answer or know who to call to get your answer. The staff rely on Kim to keep their day structured and running smoothly. Kim knows information well beyond the scope of a UAC. She is well versed on IPAC policies, visitor policies, code situations, equipment, and much much more. 

Kim is also way more than a wealth of information; she is also a helping hand. There have been days on the unit where we have not been able to get a porter to assist with a bed move, and Kim would not hesitate to help.

Not only is she an educational resource for our staff but also for our patients and their families. I often hear from families how helpful Kim has been to them. She educates patients and families on their appointments, transportation, home care, IPAC, and more.

The Activation Team, Houses of Providence

Winner of the Community Award for an individual or team that embraces diversity, trust, joy and teamwork to fulfill human potential

My father lives with dementia as do most residents in the Houses, despite the challenges this brings the activation team members become the valued friends of residents as well as of families and colleagues.

Due to my father’s cognitive impairment, my father calls one team member “Steve.” Even though that is not the team member’s name, he never corrects him but instead answers to “Steve” when called by my father. On one occasion, while the unit was in Covid outbreak, I asked the staff member if he could place a sign in my father’s room to let him know that it would best to stay in his room during this outbreak to prevent him from wandering. Not only did he do this, but I was touched when I came to visit that the note was signed, “Steve” so my father would know who put the sign up.

The role of Activation in the Houses of Providence is paramount as without it, it would be just another institution.

Dr. Teela Johnson, Attending Physician for Orthopedic and Amputee Rehabilitation

Winner of the Inclusivity Award for an individual or team that fosters an inclusive, welcoming environment where everyone is treated equitably and without judgment.

I sit with Dr. Johnson every week in our multidisciplinary rounds and it is evident that Dr. Johnson treats all patients equitably and believes they should have equal access to the best healthcare and resources.

One example I can think of is a patient of ours that who was bariatric and her mobility was severely impacted by this. The patient had low income and no family support. She was previously living at home but would now need to go to a long-term facility due to her decreased independence. Dr. Johnson advocated on her behalf to have access to a weight-loss medication, which she would not meet criteria for, as Dr. Johnson truly believed that the patient would benefit from the medication and ultimately allow the patient to be able to be discharged home instead of a long-term care facility. Dr. Johnson made a valiant effort for this patient.

Dr. Johnson’s commitment to social justice, anti-racism, anti-oppression and anti-discrimination is not only evident in her clinical care but also in her commitment to building awareness and changing systems.


Related Tags