February represents Black History Month and Heart Month, both of which are close to Trixie Williams’ heart (no pun intended). Half Filipino and half Guyanese, Trixie knows how important it is to reflect on her history.

“It’s important to know the journey of your culture and how that journey has gotten us to where we are,” says Trixie. “The background and history of our people contributes to who we are today, and it’s important because culture is a part of us just as much as we are part of it.”

Scarborough Health Network (SHN) provides exceptional care for our diverse community – and our staff reflects that diversity.

“It puts us at a unique advantage that our SHN team members reflect the incredible multicultural community we serve,” continues Trixie. “Our staff can identify with our patients and understand cultural nuances and different languages. This is so important because historically, those from different backgrounds – like the Black community – haven’t received equitable healthcare and can have mistrust in our healthcare system.”

Along with providing inclusive and culturally-sensitive healthcare, SHN is home to the first stand-alone percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) program in Ontario. PCI programs are usually only available in facilities that offer heart surgery, and SHN was the first to challenge this model of care.

“PCI refers to minimally invasive procedures that open clogged coronary arteries and are done in a Catheterization (Cath) lab,” says Trixie. “Normally, facilities that don’t offer heart surgery don’t have cath labs – but at SHN, we have three labs. We’re the first and have showcased that you don’t need surgery to run a successful PCI program.”

SHN sees among the highest volumes of PCI procedures in Ontario, and the stand-alone  PCI program will serve as a new model for other hospitals to follow. With more cath labs, more patients can be seen, and wait times are reduced for these critical and minimally-invasive procedures.

As a Registered Nurse and Director of Cardiovascular & Stroke at SHN, Trixie knows the importance of heart health.

“The number one thing is to get up and move! Just 30 minutes, five days a week, of walking, going up the stairs, or even walking around the mall! The number one thing is to get your heart rate up.”

Trixie has been an advocate for SHN for years and feels the most at home in Scarborough. Coming from academia-focused hospitals early in her career, she sees the difference donations make for hospitals.

“People always asked why I came to Scarborough from the larger downtown Toronto hospitals because Scarborough gets a bad rap in the media,” says Trixie. “I feel empowered here at SHN because I know our potential, and we have the right leadership to propel us into greatness. With diverse leadership, including women and people of colour, we have representation at the table to make important decisions for our diverse staff, patients, and community.”

Trixie has been a vocal supporter of the Love, Scarborough campaign and knows it’s a turning point for Scarborough Health Network finally getting what it deserves. Thanks to incredible donors, community members, patients, and our exceptional SHN staff, our hospitals will soon match the level of world-class care provided within.

To learn more about how your donations support equitable healthcare, visit LoveScarborough.ca