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Mary Ann Neary
Mary Ann Neary at her retirement tea.(Photo: UHN)

For 30 years Mary Ann Neary has been the example of a determined and effective leader.

One of UHN's original Clinical Directors, Mary Ann, who works her final day Friday as the Senior Clinical Director at Toronto General's surgical program, has made so many valuable contributions to the organization in her various roles that she has become synonymous with UHN's deepest held values.

Starting at the Toronto Western Hospital in Neurosurgery she quickly moved into management positions until 2004 when she became the Clinical Director of the Krembil Neuroscience Program, a position she held for eight years. During that time Mary Ann helped advance epilepsy care with the expansion of the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit and was part of the team that helped craft the original proposal for what is now the provincial epilepsy strategy.

This wasn't the only time Mary Ann represented UHN so well externally. Mary Ann also helped develop a standardized provincial definition of ALC (Alternate Level of Care). This has led to improved and accurate data, and understanding of the significance of ALC within UHN and beyond.

At a more local level at UHN, Mary Ann worked with Decision Support and Digital to develop the ALC order entry, which has helped to ensure data is up to date and this is directly sent to the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

This was just one of the ways Mary Ann brought her passion for Information Technology into her professional domain.

"Mary Ann has always looked for ways to make things better for patients, and to create a more efficient system," says Mary Kay McCarthy, Senior Clinical Direct of the Emergency Department, General Internal Medicine and Mental Health Centre at Toronto General and Western Hospitals. "These priorities have been her hallmark."

Our large and complex programs such as Neurosciences, Critical Care and now Surgical Services have been greatly enriched by Mary Ann's leadership. She always used her role as an opportunity to support her teams, create efficient systems and develop strong, effective leaders.

And of course, all of that was to serve the goal of ensuring the right environment for patients.

Mary Ann successfully led the opening of the Surgical Short Stay and worked in collaboration with key stakeholders including surgeons, managers and practice leaders to implement a new model of care using Registered Practical Nurses (RPN).

"She isn't afraid to think differently about how to do things and she consistently displays the strength of her convictions," says Mary Kay McCarthy.

Mary Ann can, and has, advocated strongly for the things and people she believes in. She will not hesitate to speak out if she believes a bad plan or idea is not going to benefit patients.

Her mentorship of younger colleagues has helped usher in another generation of strong leaders.

The loss to UHN is a massive gain to the communities who will now get her full attention.

Mary Ann's passion for cycling and advocacy will no doubt ensure safer roads for all of us and whatever she does and wherever she goes, she's left such a significant legacy here, that there's no way we won't be reminded of her on a daily basis.

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