A passion for health
Fourteen years ago, Dr. KathrynDong showed up at the offices ofEdmonton’s inner-city Streetworksprogram to volunteer. It was a firstfor both the program and the medicalresident. Streetworks—which wasfounded in 1989 to tackle HIV infectionin drug users and sex-trade workersand grew to include a number ofinfectious diseases—had agreed to takeon young doctors in two-week chunks.
Taking it to the streets
Kathryn Dong is helping people in Edmonton’s inner city better
understand their health
Dong had persuaded her supervisorto let her explore public health inaddition to her specialty of emergencymedicine.
“Talking to their clients,” Dong
says today, “and listening to people’s
stories, I felt this is where I wanted to
focus my energy. If I can make a
small difference somewhere and
leave the practice of medicine a little
bit better than I found it, this is
where I want to really focus my time.”
poor health often starts long before
someone heads off to the emergency
Dong, now a practising emergency
doctor at Edmonton’s Royal Alexandra,
is starting the new Inner City Health
and Wellness Program at the hospital.
The program will offer all Royal Alex
patients a chance to improve their
underlying health issues and address
the so-called “social determinants”
of their health, such as income,
employment and education.
Andrew Otway, the CEO andpresident of the Royal AlexandraFoundation, testifies to Dong’s powersof persuasion. The foundation recentlyfunded the program to the tune of$3.5 million. “I think it would be fairto describe Kathryn as having a zealfor making an impact,” says Otway.“The motivation and drivers for heraren’t the traditional ones such asthe prestige of being a prominentphysician but rather making a realimpact on the population.”
— Jeff Collins
To learn more about Dr. Kathryn Dongand the Inner City Health and WellnessProgram, visit the Royal AlexandraHospital Foundation at royalalex.org/inner-city.
Kathryn is a woman of great
compassion, great skill and
— Marliss Taylor, Streetworks