Recipient of the 2018 HOSPITAL SOCIAL WORKER OF THE YEAR
HOSPITAL SOCIAL WORKER OF THE YEAR
I have worked in social services and healthcare for 29 years. After graduating from Queens University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 1989, I worked for Community Living Kingston, supporting children and adults who have developmental disabilities. My experiences in social services inspired me to earn my Masters of Social Work (MSW) degree from the University of Toronto in 1999. My first clinical master’s placement was at Toronto Western Hospital on the Neurosurgery and Spinal Cord Injury units. My second placement was at what is now known as Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (HBKRH).
After completing my MSW, I found my dream job on the Brain Injury Rehab Team (BIRT) at Holland Bloorview, and a passion was born for providing compassionate care and emotional counseling for children and their families living with the effects of an acquired brain injury. However, there are deeply rooted reasons for the dedication I feel towards my profession. My mother incurred a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in a car accident before I was born; nine years ago, my best friend incurred a TBI as a passenger in a vehicle that was t-boned by a drunk driver. In both instances, I lived to understand and experience the lasting impact of TBI on an individual and the family unit.
Today, I practice Solution Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) and Play Therapy, using outcome measures when appropriate towards achieving efficacy. I am passionate about constantly acquiring new skills and approaches to intervention to achieve best outcomes for clients and families. While on BIRT, I trained to become a Registered Marriage and Family therapist (RMFT), which was completed in 2008, with the American and Ontario Associations for Marriage and Family Therapy, through the University of Guelph.
I also willingly partake in clinical mentorship of University of Toronto MSW students at Holland Bloorview. I am an Adjunct Lecturer with the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Social Work.
I continually work towards bridging my passion for client care with my desire to share best practices with my colleagues and future social workers. I have strong interests in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and frequently present workshops on Compassion Fatigue and other topics relevant to the pediatric ABI population. Under Lead Developer and Lead Investigator Caron Gan, for 9 years I have provided Brain Injury Family Intervention – Adolescent (BIFI-A) training to colleagues from across Canada and beyond. I recently championed Caron Gan’s Family Needs Questionnaire- Pediatric Version (FNQ-P), at Holland Bloorview, through a funding grant from the Centre for Leadership in Brain Injury.
In March 2018, through the Centre for Leadership in Brain Injury at Holland Bloorview, I became the Lead Investigator developing the SibKit. The SibKit will be the first online resource and booklet, to the Project Team’s knowledge, to support brothers and sisters living with pediatric ABI. The SibKit can be modified to support sons and daughters living with a parent who has ABI. It can also be adapted to support brothers and sisters living with a child or adult who have other diagnoses.
I learn every day from my colleagues and students at Holland Bloorview, and am truly inspired by the children and families I am fortunate to support. I accept this nomination as I continue to strive to best support children and families living with pediatric ABI, within an interdisciplinary team.