Terry Hawrysh, P. Eng
Twelve years ago, my family life and career as a professional engineer turned upside down after being diagnosed and treated for an aggressive form of blood cancer. This required the extensive use of our provincial health care services including primary care, clinical care, clinical trials, and patient support services beyond the hospital walls. Navigating our provincial “system” left me frustrated at times and led me to reflect on what worked best, what didn’t and why. This motivated me to contribute my lived experience and expertise towards developing a more effective, accessible, and equitable patient-centric health care system. One that delivers superior patient outcomes and quality of life.
A passion of mine has been to include the patient voice in the design and operations of pre-clinical, clinical research and clinical practices. This resulted in key advisory roles with several research, government and non-government organizations such as the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ontario Institute of Cancer Research, Clinical Trials Ontario, Ontario Health, Southlake Regional Health Centre, Canadian Institute of Health Research, Health Standards Organization, and others. Upon collaborating with many patient advocacy groups, I’ve also gained a good understanding of what patients need and expect while receiving health care. Notably, a gap sometimes exists between a doctor’s clinical perspective on the delivery of good health care versus what patients perceive and expect. The advocacy services I can provide will help bridge that gap.
My heath care experience has also instilled a deep appreciation for the importance of patient / family support when faced with challenging health circumstances. During my illness and treatment, I remember the physical, emotional, and social rollercoaster I faced with my family. The support and guidance from a health care advocate would have been an invaluable service during this stressful, vulnerable and at times scary period. As a trained counsellor with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society of Canada, I have helped many newly diagnosed patients navigate our complex health care system, suggest helpful resources, and sometimes just listen and chat. The overwhelming positive feedback from these patients validates the important role an advocacy support service can play.
I look forward to providing you effective, meaningful, and flexible health care support, delivered with empathy, caring, integrity, diligence, and clear communication.