After a career in medicine and a serendipitous moment, Dr. Todd set on a new path working with The Alex that is personally meaningful.
“It’s about being a trusted friend and somebody that people can count on.”
Dr Todd is a physician in The Alex’s Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinic and also works in The Alex Youth Health Clinic. Before coming to The Alex, he was a small-town GP for a number of years and then spent 15 years working in emergency medicine in Calgary. A moment of serendipity set him on a new career path – one that is personally meaningful as well as life-changing for the many people he serves.
During the COVID crisis, Dr. Todd attended at The Alex’s assisted self-isolation site, which provided isolation rooms for people who are experiencing homelessness who tested positive, were waiting for test results, had symptoms or had come into contact with a known case. There, he underwent some informal addiction medicine training. He found the experience so meaningful that when the assisted self-isolation site wound down he transitioned out of his work in the emergency room and started seeing patients in The Alex’s Youth Health Centre and RAAM Clinic.
“It’s been an amazing journey for me; it’s opened my eyes to new ways of helping people. It’s not always about prescribing medication; it’s not always about physical wounds. It’s about being a trusted friend and somebody that people can count on.”
“We work with challenging, complex people for whom there are few easy solutions. We try to find creative options to help people in a way that’s not easily addressed by the standard medical model.”
“The Alex’s multidisciplinary model is amazing: people can come here simply for medical care; they can also talk to a peer, use the internet, sit in a social space, or get a bus pass. They can get help with income assistance and housing support or in times of crisis. At the very least, somebody will be here to listen. Having somebody to listen to you may be the thing that will encourage you to come back tomorrow. That could be the beginning of a new path in life.”
What would Dr. Todd most like to see in the future of The Alex?
“My vision and hope for the future is to extend our hours, making sure that we are there whenever our patients need us. After all, people in crisis don’t operate on a Monday-Friday, 9-5 schedule. I also hope we can extend our scope of care. I think an increased presence of nurse practitioners would be a fantastic start – the care that they provide is amazing.”
“I found The Alex through work colleagues and friends who work here. I am privileged to work among them, especially with our collaborative approach. As care teams at The Alex we have easy access to each other’s thoughts and advice when we have a challenging problem. With this collaborative approach we get to know many of the patients/clients – and this helps us take better care of everybody.”
Better compassion and comprehensive care for everybody: that’s The Alex’s mission in a nutshell.