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Dream Come True for New Chief of Psychiatry

25-1-2021

Dr_Corina_VelehorschiCorina Velehorschi made a promise to herself one morning 20 years ago.

As she drove by what was then Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital on Ouellette Avenue on her way to the tunnel to head to Henry Ford Hospital for her residency training, she promised she would practice psychiatry in that Ouellette Avenue building, though there was no plan for her dream to become a reality.

“I can tell you that my life has surpassed my dreams,” says Dr. Corina Velehorschi who was appointed Chief of Psychiatry at Windsor Regional Hospital, taking over the position as of January 13th, 2021.

Dr. Velehorschi has been working at WRH since 2004 and is honoured to take on the new role as she believes it is a vote of confidence in her passion for her work and in her ‘belief in the healing force of human connection.’

She leads a group of ten dedicated and caring psychiatrists whom she referred to as the “unsung heroes in the medical profession.”

“Inpatient psychiatry in the emergency room are not easy jobs,” she says. “The patients are ill, high risk with complex needs.  They arrive with challenging behaviours and are sometimes called difficult patients.”

She also expects the number of psychiatric patients to climb due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These negative mental health consequences will last months and years to come and it will add to an already overwhelmed mental health system,” she adds noting that it is time to recognize ‘mental health is health’ and the pandemic has raised the level of stress, anxiety, depression and substance issues for many people.

Her vision is based on three pillars of Education, Belonging and Expansion: 

  • Education as it shapes the environment that fosters the highest practice standards looking into daily practice and reviewing difficult cases
  • Belonging as we need to not only attract more psychiatrists but, equally as important, to retain talent.
  • Expansion via academic and community work by building on the already strong relationship with the Psychiatry Residency Training Program at the Schulich School of Medicine. She says community work is also essential for the success of the department because it leads to the continuity of care for patients through collaboration with other mental health partners.

“What really keeps us going is a sense of community, a sense that we are important, that we matter, that we are needed, that we have a meaning to our lives,” she profoundly concludes. “What has happened during this pandemic, even though technology is now more conducive to human interactions, is that the limited social connection has taken a toll on our mental health.”

Dr. Velehorschi wants to create a place where there is no hesitation to treat family members and therefore, ‘crystalizing the commitment to provide the highest level of psychiatric care by a progressive nurturing team of professionals, one patient at a time.’