Ontario health specialist to receive Jamaican honour
September 28, 2017
Recognition is always heart-warming.
It’s however extra special when it comes from your birth country.
Health care practitioner Dr. Rosemary Moodie said she could hardly believe her ears upon learning she would be awarded Jamaica’s Order of Distinction in the rank of commander for her outstanding contribution in philanthropy, community development and medicine in the Jamaican Diaspora in Canada.
The caller was University of Toronto graduate Elinor Felix, the chief of state protocol in the Office of the Prime Minister, who is a friend of Moodie.
“I knew Elinor growing up, but she was very formal,” said the University of Toronto associate professor of paediatrics who advocates for improving health equity and expanding quality health care access for women and children. “It was so thrilling and I am certain she could tell that I was grinning with pride.”
Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica’s capital, Moodie and two older sisters were raised by their mother, Gloria Moodie, after their parents separated.
“She made sure we understood there was no ceiling and that we could strive for anything we wanted once we were prepared to put in the hard work,” said the 2014 recipient of the Constance Hamilton Award established in 1979 to honour Toronto city council’s first female member who was elected in 1920. “Working diligently and striving to achieve the next goal were always my focus.”
A graduate of St. Hugh’s High School and the University of the West Indies with Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery in 1982, Moodie was pursuing post-graduate studies at Howard University when she married Trinidadian-born Dr. Peter Wong.
After just three months in the United States, she and her husband moved to the Greater Toronto Area.
Moodie completed her paediatrics training at the Hospital for Sick Children (HSC) and successfully pursued an Executive Masters in Business Administration at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School and a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration at Queen’s University.
The Royal College of Physicians of Canada and American Academy of Paediatrics fellow has provided medical care for critically ill newborn infants and children while working to improve medical service delivery needs in the field of obstetrics, gynaecology and paediatrics.
“I chose medicine as a career because I wanted a profession that works directly with people and I chose children because of their vulnerability and the satisfaction it gave me to help them,” said the former corporate chief of paediatrics and medical director of the Rouge Valley Health System regional maternal child program who spent 24 years as a neonatologist at HSC.
Her vibrant community paediatric practice serves residents in the Jane & Finch, Rexdale and Etobicoke designated priority neighbourhoods filled with a large immigrant population.
Beyond her medical practice and research, Moodie is a board director with St. Joseph’s Health Centre, an advisory board member with Food for the Poor, a health care consultant the HSC SickKids International and an Accreditation Canada surveyor.
As the YWCA president and board chair for four years up until 2014, she oversaw the development and opening of the organization’s Elm Centre which is Canada’s largest affordable housing project for single low-income women, females living with mental health and addiction issues and those of Aboriginal ancestry.
Two years ago, Moodie – a Harry Jerome Award winner in 2014 -- was named one of Canada’s top 25 immigrants.
Travel industry veteran Gary Sadler, who spent almost 15 years in Canada, promoting Jamaica as a first-choice destination, will be conferred with the Order of Distinction in the officer rank at the investiture ceremony on October 16 – National Heroes Day – at King’s House.
Starting his career at Sandals as a ‘playmaker’ hosting activities and entertainment at Sandals Grande Riviera (now Sandals Ochi Beach Resort) in Ocho Rios, he came to Canada in 1992 as a sales representative for Ontario before heading to Vancouver to pioneer the Western Canadian market.
Promoted to regional director of sales and marketing for the northeastern United States, Sadler returned to Canada in 1998 as director of sales and marketing and held that role until 2007 when he assumed the position of vice-president, Canada.
Back in the United States since 2008, he is the senior vice-president of sales for Unique Vacations which is the worldwide representative for Sandals and Beaches Resorts, a chain of luxury all-inclusive resorts.