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Meet Sandra, Project Manager, DTES Health Service Integration


Job Title

Project Manager, DTES Health Service Integration, transitioning to my new role of DTES Acting Manager, Mental Health & Substance Use.


Mental Health & Substance Use (MHSU).

How long have you worked at VCH?

11+ years.

Tell us what you do at VCH in one or two sentences:

I support DTES Primary Care and MHSU teams to prepare for the implementation of future Integrated Care Teams and Integrated Health Centres in the DTES. I assist in the development and standardization of best and promising practices, and guidelines that will support our administrative and direct service staff to continue providing excellent care to DTES residents in a more integrated way.  In the next few weeks I will be transitioning to my new Acting Manager role.

What’s your favourite thing about your work?

Working as a direct care social worker in the DTES, I had the privilege of working closely with people who are often at their most vulnerable.  One older gentleman stands out – a single, 80 year old man, who had been homeless for most of his adult life and had been residing at one DTES shelter for over three years!  His untreated, severe, and persistent mental health issues had left him incapable of caring for himself or engaging in care.  He had no primary care provider, no PHN, no family, no income, and no identification. Also because of his age and mental health issues, he was at significant risk of victimization and exploitation. 

Eventually he was hospitalized, and my team (VCH Primary Outreach Services – Shelter Team) in partnership with PHC Acute Care, the Transitional Services Team, and Priority Access, was able to help this gentleman transition from homelessness to a comfortable and stable facility where he receives the dignified and safe care he deserves.

One thing we might be surprised to learn about you:

I’m a bit of an urban homesteader: I forage, pickle, preserve and ferment. I also make my own natural balms and salves.

Three things you always have in your fridge:

Capers, grainy Dijon mustard, farm fresh eggs.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by those who strive for excellence; those whose work is guided by dedication, integrity and service to others.

Most healthy habit:

I rarely ever eat out.  My partner and I cook dinner at home every night, using whole foods and fresh local ingredients (where possible). Then we try to eat in peace, while our two dogs stare at us like they’ve never eaten a meal in their entire lives!

Favourite vacation spot:

Yellow Point Lodge on Vancouver Island.  It’s a peaceful, no electronics, all meals included, outdoorsy, summer camp for adults.  (No kids or pets allowed).

SOURCE: Meet Sandra, Project Manager, DTES Health Service Integration ( )
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