How moving to Vancouver led to a life changing career in health care

Wendy Ma looking at the camera, smiling.

Wendy Ma is a project manager in the Richmond Hospital Project Management Office. In her role, she is responsible for helping to get the hospital ready for a campus-wide rejuvenation and the new nine-floor acute care tower, the Yurkovich Family Pavilion. This is how she came to work in health care and the lessons she's learned along the way.My journey towards improving care for the Richmond community.

My journey to help improve care in the Richmond community

I grew up in central Shanghai, China with my parents and older brother where we lived in an apartment on a bustling street. When I was 16 years old, I moved to Canada to attend high school and university. While this was a hard move at first, I soon settled in as everyone was really friendly. After finishing my degree in Business Administration in Marketing, and eight years in Ontario, I packed up my life again and moved to Vancouver.

In my first few years in Vancouver, I worked in various industries before joining Vancouver Coastal Health as a project coordinator for Vancouver Community. This was a challenging and varied role that gave me a different perspective about our clients, patients and community. I can say that health care really changed my life.

How moving to Vancouver led to a life changing career in health care

Lessons from working in health care

Before working in health care, I didn't fully appreciate the complexity of vulnerable populations across Vancouver who need our help. In my early work, I supported sites in the downtown east side and got to really understand the clientele and the importance of the work our clinical teams do everyday. 

I started to understand the diversity of programs available to help people and what health care in B.C. offers to communities. Working closely with our teams and the clients they serve strengthened my empathy and care for our most vulnerable populations.

Shifting from community to acute care

Two years ago I became a Project Manager at Richmond Hospital so that I could learn more about our health system in an acute care environment and support residents and staff in my own community.

Since joining the Richmond Project Management Team, I've worked on a variety of projects including supporting our COVID-19 response and upgrading our existing facility and clinical equipment. My goal is to support our frontline staff while minimising any impacts to patients, families and caregivers coming to the hospital.

The best part of the job

The most satisfying part of what I do is at the end of the project when our care teams, patients and families are benefiting from the results. It is THE best. It takes a lot of planning to make that happen, especially on large ones like the Richmond Hospital Redevelopment Project. Working ‘behind the scenes’ on the Richmond Hospital Redevelopment Project.

Working 'behind the scenes' on the Richmond Hospital Redevelopment Project

Some of the projects I am leading are in the 'pre' phase of the Hospital Redevelopment - this is all the work that has to happen before construction can start. My recent projects focus on relocating teams and services so that we can make space for the new Acute Care tower, the Yurkovich Family Pavilion. I have supported the redesign and relocation of the hospital's Sacred Space, Outpatient Hand and Cast clinics, Outpatient Speech Language Pathology (SLP) clinic, and the allied health practitioner spaces.

Everyone is eager to see construction start on the new tower and this pre-work is necessary in order to get to that phase. Part of our pre-work is to make sure that daily hospital operations and patient care is not impacted.

The future of care in Richmond

My family and I live in Richmond, so I see the need to rejuvenate Richmond Hospital for the current and future residents and I'm really looking forward to it. I have been in the hospital's Emergency Department as both a patient and caregiver, so I know the team provides the best possible care.


women and flowers

Exploring British Columbia for the first time in Duncan.

a lady at hospital

​​Richmond Hospital: North Tower Ground Floor, next to the gift shop - renovation work is taking place to create new space for the Hand Clinic, Cast Clinic and Sacred Space. ​


Richmond Hospital, located at 7000 Westminster Hwy, Richmond