March 8 is International Women’s Day, a global event that recognizes the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. To celebrate, we spoke to eight incredible women on the front-lines of Sinai Health’s COVID-19 response to learn about their experiences during the pandemic.

“Since the beginning, I have had the privilege to work alongside the most amazing team of people who have led our organization’s response to COVID-19. During some very intense periods where we faced many competing priorities and challenges, I drew energy from the understanding that we had an unwavering commitment to the safety of our patients and our people.” 

Kate Wilkinson

Vice President, Quality and Clinical Programs, Sinai Health

“At the start, we came together as a team to gain control of what we could, including meticulous donning and doffing of personal protective equipment to ensure everyone was prepared, and safe. For me this past year has been about recognizing my colleagues, being kind to one another, being there for our patients and families, taking care of ourselves and our loved ones and focusing on the positive aspects in our lives.”

Dr. Christie Lee

Interim Site Director and Education Coordinator for Critical Care Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital

“When the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, our team knew there were going to be modifications to how Sinai Health provided rehab support and care. We re-evaluated our practices and provided solutions to ensure everyone’s safety. Working with our Ambulatory Care Clinic, we were successful in implementing measures to allow patients to continue pool therapy. This work allowed one rehab patient to take their first steps in over two years. I’m grateful to be a part of an amazing team at Sinai Health which upholds our value of Service and demonstrates our commitment to providing high quality, safe and compassionate care every day.”

Lauren McLeod

Infection Prevention and Control Practitioner, Bridgepoint Active Healthcare

“When the lockdown started last March, I redirected my efforts to developing tests to study the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 with Dr. Anne-Claude Gingras and an exceptionally talented team, most of whom are women. It has been amazing to see our work help answer questions on durability of immune response, vaccine effectiveness and the prevalence of COVID-19 infection across Canada. I’ve never worked on a project before with such immediate impact. Knowing what we are doing is making a difference keeps me going.”

Karen Colwill

Staff Scientist and Network Biology Collaborative Centre Manager, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute

“The beginning of the pandemic felt overwhelming with all the changes, precautions, and new expectations. I began to feel the effects of dealing with extra work and the underlying uncertainty. I also live with a vulnerable person so I was worried about bringing the virus home. I’ve come to an uneasy peace with COVID-19 and the situation we’re in now. There’s still uncertainty but there’s also hope that we’ll come out the other side. Hopefully, we all find something positive to take with us. This virus has made me take stock of the things that are important to me and the things that I appreciate and am grateful for.”

Sandy Ramdin

Physiotherapy Assistant, Bridgepoint Active Healthcare

“I am overwhelmingly proud to be a part of Sinai Health’s COVID-19 response. Last spring, I was one of the nurses redeployed to long-term care homes facing outbreaks. I have also helped in the COVID Assessment Centre, and I am one of the Department of Psychiatry’s resilience coaches who support our front-line teams. The pandemic has been a tremendously hard experience, but I am so grateful to work at Sinai Health to help patients, colleagues and vulnerable people in our city.”

Carla Loftus

Clinical Nurse Specialist, Mount Sinai Hospital

“I think it’s innate for us, as women, to be caregivers. We’re attuned to helping ease concerns. As a nurse, that’s been vital to do in this uncertainty. We relate to what women caregivers face – juggling family life and being there for loved ones in hospital. It’s important to do all we can to keep everyone safe and it’s also key to take time for ourselves and advise caregivers to do so too.”

Ashley Millington-Antoine

Registered Nurse and Screener, Bridgepoint Active Healthcare

“Working through this pandemic has been like being on a rollercoaster. At first, you didn’t know what to expect and you questioned everything. As the ride moved on you became more aware, you learned lessons and you trusted the equipment you were strapped into – that the mask and PPE would protect you. We all learned to count on each other through changes to roles, patients and processes. This last year has tested all of us but we all chose this career path to help people. I believe the pandemic has been a renewed call of service which will not end until the last person is safely off this ride.”

Krista Caulfield

Speech-Language Pathologist, Bridgepoint Active Healthcare

Happy International Women’s Day! We encourage you to celebrate the women in your life both at work and at home.