The Department would like to congratulate our clinical faculty members Dr. Jennifer Russel and Dr. Matthew Chow, both of whom were recognized as Physician Changemakers by the Canadian Medical Association. CMA’s Physician Changemakers are outstanding physicians who are “developing innovative technologies and programs, influencing public health policy and using their voices to advocate for change — all with the aim of ensuring patients have the best care possible.”
Dr. Russel is the clinical director at Compass Mental Health at BC Children’s Hospital, a multidisciplinary team providing virtual support to clinicians caring for youth with mental health and substance use concerns. Dr. Russel and her team of child and youth psychiatrists, social workers, nurses and psychologists provide multilevel, evidence-based support to community care providers, empowering them with the information, advice and resources they need to deliver appropriate and timely care to children and youth close to home. By providing this direct link to mental health and addictions resources for primary care providers, Dr. Russel’s program aims to build mental health capacity among clinicians in BC and the Yukon, and improve outcomes for young patients and their families who may not otherwise have ready access to services that will sufficiently address their mental health or substance use concerns. Read more about Dr. Jennifer Russel here.
Dr. Chow is a psychiatrist with many years of experience leading innovative youth mental health care programs in BC, and most recently has played a fundamental role in building the Youth Wellness Centre (which became the Foundry Ridge Meadows in January 2020 after the BC government awarded Maple Ridge one of its provincially-funded Foundry hubs for mental health services for young people aged 12 to 24 years). Dr. Chow worked with a team of local family physicians, as well as community agencies, schools, the municipal government and even the RCMP, to create a community-based, youth-friendly drop-in clinic offering mental health and substance use services, peer counselling, and Patient Navigators to assist youth with setting up individual appointments and linking them to local and online resources. Dr. Chow states, “Young adults in Maple Ridge were heavily involved in, and dying from, substance use, and then a bomb hit them because fentanyl washed ashore. It was one of those slow-, but then fast-moving middle-class kinds of emergencies… We’ve reduced the number of suicides, we’re getting kids into addictions and substance use programs and treating them early so they don’t end up in crisis — that’s the difference we’re making.” Read more about Dr. Matthew Chow here.