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A Life of Connections
Wanda MacDonald — Trudeau Medal recipient
I care most about making sure more and more Ontarians have the opportunity to benefit from our province’s top-flight healthcare system. Yet I’ve come to learn, over my long career, that enhancing health equity goes well beyond enabling people to access excellent health services. Genuine health equity involves recognizing and paying attention to lack of inadequate housing, education and employment as factors that contribute to poor health, particularly among the vulnerable and disadvantaged. The truth is that promoting good health for everyone means building a strong web of connections among many different kinds of service groups both within and outside our healthcare system.
I got my first inkling of this truth as a Telfer MHA student way back in 1979. The program not only enabled me to broaden my perspective on healthcare to include the concept of community healthcare, but it also empowered me to focus my studies on this emerging field and pursue it as a career. The Telfer School introduced me to what became a rich professional life full of wonderful colleagues and meaningful experiences and achievements.
I’ve done my best to repay that debt by reconnecting with the Telfer School. Having the opportunity to share my experiences in community health as a guest lecturer is one way of giving back. I also get tremendous satisfaction by serving as a preceptor for Telfer MHA students—a connection that brings me full circle. The students are a steady source of fresh perspectives, new ideas and unbridled enthusiasm, which our healthcare system needs to uncover what isn’t working, to shift resources where they can bring about the greatest benefit, and to move closer to the genuine health equity I’ve spent my life working toward. We’ve come a long way since 1979, but we have still a way to go.
Click here to learn more about Wanda and the other Telfer alumni who will be honoured at the 2017 Gala of Excellence.
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