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St. Michael's welcomes new Inner City Health program director

Toronto, March 14, 2014

By Heather Brown

Judy Shearer, program director, Inner City Health
Judy Shearer, program director, Inner City Health

The Inner City Health Program has gained a true advocate in Judy Shearer, the new program director who joined St. Michael’s from Grand River Hospital in Kitchener. Shearer brings more than 20 years of health care experience to her new role. She began her career as a registered nurse and has held leadership roles in mental health and addictions, women’s health, obstetrics, specialized geriatrics and professional practice. She is so passionate about her work that she commutes by bus from Kitchener to the hospital every day. We spoke with Shearer just over a week after she arrived at St. Michael’s.

Q. What attracted you to St. Michael’s?
St. Michael’s is a well-known and respected hospital. I was drawn to the Inner City Health Program because of how unique it is and the pivotal role it plays in supporting Toronto’s most vulnerable and at risk patients. In my previous role as associate vice-president of the Mental Health and Addictions Program at Grand River Hospital, we often looked to St. Michael’s for best practice work around caring for vulnerable populations. The CATCH-ED program, which was created to help frequent users of the Emergency Department find support within the community, is a great example of a model we were interested in learning more about.

Q. Tell us about your most memorable moment at the hospital so far?
I was trying to make my way from one area of the hospital to another. I must have looked lost because several staff stopped at various points along the way and asked if I needed help! I really appreciate how friendly and welcoming people have been.

Q. What are you most excited about in your new role?
There are so many things I’m looking forward to, but a few that stand out are working with our vulnerable patients, identifying needs to support them and putting them into practice. I am also very excited about the many opportunities to become involved with research.

Q. What accomplishment are you most proud of over the course of your career?
One of the things I am most proud of is the work I led around creating the mission, vision and values for the Mental Health and Addictions Program at Grand River Hospital. Our program really viewed patients as partners in their care. Shared care plans, peer navigators with lived experience, a family navigator and the patient, family and community advisory panel became the driving force behind improving the quality of life for the patients we cared for.

I also led the transformation of our labour and delivery unit into a single room model of care. This model allows women to stay in one room throughout their birth experience and involve their families and loved ones as much as they like. The focus is really on family-centred care and giving as much choice as possible to women.

Q. Name one thing you can’t live without.
My family, I have a wonderful husband and two amazing children. I am very blessed to have them in my life!

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.