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Passionate people have helped create a community called Markham Stouffville Hospital. Now, as we mark our 30th anniversary, get to know some of the great people behind the faces as they tell their own stories.

By: Dick Synder

Carol Hirst Wilson

Over the past 29 years, Carol Hirst Wilson has had a variety of roles in the Ultrasound Department and is currently a team leader. She has seen the department grow from two ultrasound machines to the 12 in use today.

“When working as a frontline sonographer, I enjoy spending time with our patients, getting to know them and helping them solve their health issues. As a team of sonographers, we really work collaboratively — our images provide a picture for the radiologist to generate a report for our patients. We feel we make a difference. It’s very rewarding.

In 2013, we moved into a new, larger department that we helped to design, with individual scan rooms that provide the patient with a better experience. Health care is constantly changing, and we must adapt to these changes, which requires constant learning. Ultrasound is a field where expanding our services means learning new skills. It is great to be able to offer our patients teaching hospital sonography in a community setting. It really is important to keep up our skill set in order to provide the very best care to our patients.”

Meher Batliwalla

After moving to Markham in the early 1990s, Meher Batliwalla answered an ad in the local newspaper for a position at MSH. And she’s been working here as a physiotherapist ever since.

“I came to Canada in 1987. We moved to Markham and I was looking through the paper and saw a job posting. My husband said: “Why don’t you apply? You could walk to work.”

As a physiotherapist, I see patients who are admitted to the hospital. I’ve had opportunities to work with patients in various areas of the hospital, as well as participate on committees and in educational initiatives. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to provide input on the development of various new initiatives across the organization. One that was particularly rewarding for me was being part of an interdisciplinary team that implemented a cardiovascular education and exercise program for patients.

MSH is committed to education and lifelong learning, which is important in the health care industry and I have seen it positively impact the quality of care provided to patients and their families.

When people come to the hospital, they are at their most vulnerable and I recognize it can be a stressful experience for them and their loved ones. One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is to help patients ‘get back on their feet’ while supporting them both physically and emotionally.”

Dr. Mark Berber

A frequent lecturer and widely published in medical journals, Dr. Berber is one of three original members of MSH’s psychiatric team.

“Thirty years ago, I was offered two staff psychiatrist positions — one at an established Toronto teaching hospital and the other at MSH. I chose the new community hospital. MSH offered me the unique opportunity to help start and shape a brand-new Mental Health Department. The hospital opened with just three psychiatrists; today there are 13 psychiatrists and a much larger multidisciplinary team than before. Today, as a leading treatment centre in York Region, MSH specializes in community integrated mental health with a focus on reducing stigma.

My decision to work at MSH was mostly influenced by Dr. Ralph Pohlman, the hospital’s first chief of psychiatry. It was Dr. Pohlman’s vision for a department that valued collegiality, sincerity, respect and compassion that attracted me. Under his leadership, the new team developed a department that offered excellent care for patients and their families, as well as a work environment that nurtured every staff member. Every Friday all the psychiatrists still get together for lunch, a tradition that began 30 years ago.”

Read the full article from the Winter 2020 Healthy Together Markham Stouffville Magazine.