Recipient of the 2022 HEALTH CARE PROVIDER OF THE YEAR
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER OF THE YEAR
Dr. Lemsky has been working with and learning from her clients and colleagues at Community Head Injury Resource Services of Toronto since 1998. She was trained in the US, and completed the requirements for Board Certification by the American Board of Professional Psychology in Clinical Neuropsychology in 1993. Since her arrival in Canada, Dr. Lemsky has been providing clinical direction to CHIRS, consultation and training to other brain injury organizations and has an active practice in Clinical Neuropsychology through Toronto ABI Specialists (www.TABIRS.ca). The CHIRS program has received international recognition as a center of excellence in the provision of community support services for people living with brain injury. Dr. Lemsky continues to serve as a consulting expert in the development of guidelines and best practices for serving people living with brain injury in both the US and Canada. Over the past 15 years, her work has focused on addressing gaps in care for individuals experiencing problematic substance use, homelessness and justice involvement. In 2006, Dr. Lemsky founded the Substance Use and Brain Injury Bridging project. The training and clinical materials that were developed over a 15-year span by that project have been recognized internationally as important contributions to the provision of evidence-based service for people living with brain injury who also have complex needs. Dr. Lemsky and the CHIRS team have developed the Neurobehavioural Brain Injury Support Services, a community-based intervention program specifically designed to address the complex needs of people living with brain injury, substance use disorders and complex mental health needs. Her clinical work with this complex group of clients and talented clinicians has informed her training and academic writing. Over the past two years she has received support and funding from the National Association of State Brain Injury Administrators and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to provide training and develop client-materials to address substance misuse after brain injury. She regularly receives invitations to provide training and consultation in the US and Canada and has contributed articles and book chapters to the brain injury literature. For the past two years Dr. Lemsky has had the honor of serving on the board of the Brain Injury Society of Toronto. Dr. Lemsky is proudest of the contributions she has made to partnerships the CHIRS team has created with the Center for Addictions and Mental Health, Reconnect Mental Health Services, COTA, and the Concurrent Disorders Support Services. These community partnerships usually begin with serving just a few clients but inform future efforts to increase system capacity and support clients’ access to care. Her current professional goal is to raise awareness of the intersection of brain injury and mental health, and to encourage the inclusion of Brain Injury in local, provincial and federal addictions and mental health strategies.