“Heart of the City” Champions with CAMH

October 29, 2021

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health and wellbeing was top of mind. Through a partnership with CAMH (the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), The Bentway and Exhibition Place  invited health care workers from across the city to help launch Pulse Topology.

These health care providers nominated by their peers, were the first to provide their heartbeats to the exhibit, honouring their work and celebrating the ways public art can improve our lives.

The “Heart of the City” Champions included the following:

Dr. Javed Alloo

Family Physician and Medical Educator on ECHO Ontario Mental Health

“Javed’s incredible energy, sense of community, and commitment were incredible to watch over the pandemic. When others flagged, he leaned in. When others lamented, he spread compassion. He was a connecting force on our team and beyond.” 

Denise Canso

Manager of Virtual Care and the Ontario Psychiatric Outreach Program at CAMH

“Denise demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment, mobilizing hundreds of clinicians across CAMH to ensure that we could continue to provide care virtually. Denise was tireless, setting in motion extraordinary transformation that ensured that we could continue to meet the needs and support the mental wellbeing of patients and families. With her, the CAMH community was apart, but not alone.”

Sandria Allen

Nurse and Team Lead in Geriatrics at CAMH

“Sandria has worked as an RN in Geriatrics for many years and has been a dedicated member of the team. In the midst of the pandemic she made the transition into the Team lead role and left the comfort of what she knew and the team that she worked with for over 12 years to join our other unit. This was a time when taking on new challenges would likely be avoided by many; but Sandria embraced the challenge and has been leading her colleagues with grace.” Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, when older adults were disproportionately impacted, having strong, dedicated colleagues and advocates like Sandria has been so critical.”

Lee Steel

Peer Support Worker at CAMH

“Since the start of the pandemic, Lee has been a radiating force, always recognizing and appreciating the work of others, while amplifying the voices of other family caregivers, and bravely identifying new concerns, pressures, and challenges. . . Lee has done all of this part time, from her laptop computer, while working from home. She is a loving caregiver to her adult son who has developmental disabilities, and like so many other adults, he has been left with a harsh absence of supports during the pandemic.

We are grateful that Lee has been able to adapt her role with us while also pandemic parenting, because it has been crucial that we understand the realities of families, and her personal experience and connection to so many other families has helped us to do this. Lee always finds the time to listen to any member of our team and any family that needs guidance or simply needs to feel heard. She is highly respected and a passionate leader and partner in the work that we do.”

Karleigh Darnay

Youth Engagement Coordinator at CAMH

“Karleigh has been spectacular throughout the pandemic, working with our team of youth with lived experience to generate ‘for youth by youth’ resources to support COVID coping … Karleigh does this all with a compassionate, quiet, competent leadership style that evokes confidence from colleagues (youth and adult), collaborators and senior leadership.”