The Ambassadors

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Finding the right ambassadors is key to the success of any fundraising campaign. Mackenzie Health Foundation is spearheading the $250-million Exceptional Care Belongs Here campaign to build and equip the new Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital and enhance patient care at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital. Who better to take on a leadership role and champion Mackenzie Health than the physicians who know first-hand the profound impact of philanthropic support: General and Minimally Invasive Surgeon Dr. Luke Bui; Chief and Medical Director of Internal Medicine Dr. Kar Cheong Lee; and Medical Director, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Services Dr. Peter Stroz.

As the poster boy for Picture This, the Foundation’s $5-million campaign to purchase a second, more powerful MRI, radiologist Dr. Stroz knows the direct impact physicians can have on fundraising. As chief of the Medical Imaging Department during Picture This, his photo, in which he is holding a scan, was seen on posters, elevators and television screens throughout Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital. His involvement started a conversation – among doctors, staff, patients and visitors – about the need for a new scanner for the Metrus Development Inc. Medical Imaging Department.

“Everyone comes through medical imaging at some point and needs an imaging study,” said Dr. Stroz. “I was willing to do whatever it took to help the Foundation meet its goal,” he added.

Dr. Stroz believes the residents of southwest York Region should have access to best-in-class equipment and world- class care. This led him to join the Exceptional Care Belongs Here Campaign Cabinet, the dynamic team of volunteers, led by Campaign Chair Greg Sorbara.

“They are an interesting and diverse group of people who are trying their hardest to raise this money,” Dr. Stroz said. “We just want to keep giving to our community. Mackenzie Health is providing tertiary care to much of York Region already, so people don’t have to go downtown to get the state-of-the-art treatment they get right here.”

Fellow cabinet member Dr. Bui joined Mackenzie Health in 2006. He is a past president of the Professional Staff Association and served as interim chief of staff. Dr. Bui and his wife are raising their three children (two were born at the hospital) in Richmond Hill. The town reminds him of his hometown of Owen Sound, but with big city amenities.

He admitted he didn’t know much about the Foundation before getting involved, believing its role was only to fundraise. But he quickly learned that being an ambassador was about building relationships, transparency and being accountable to the community, hospital and donors.

A regular at Foundation events and activities to share with donors the impact their gifts are having throughout the hospital – particularly in minimally invasive surgery, his area of specialty– Dr. Bui is genuinely thankful for their support. He knows that to create a world-class institution means having the right equipment, as well as the programs and services to meet community needs.

“Physicians are in a unique position interacting with patients, administration, allied health care, closing the loop,” he said. “I’m passionate about the hospital and I have a genuine interest in strengthening our relationships.”

Dr. Kar Cheong Lee and his wife have lived in Richmond Hill since they were 10 and 11 years old, respectively, and many of his childhood friends continue to call the town home.

“This is where my wife and I plan to bring up our own children,” Dr. Lee said. “As a physician and a friend, I chose to seize the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to their health and vitality today and for future generations.”

Dr. Lee’s experience as a patient at Mackenzie Health (after a rock climbing accident in Mexico) has given him wisdom beyond his medical credentials. Experiencing the same vulnerability as the patients for whom he cares has inspired him to work with physicians, nurses and teams across the hospital to create a truly patient-centered model of care.

Dr. Lee joined the Foundation’s board in 2015 as the past president of Mackenzie Health’s Professional Staff Association. He has chosen to stay on.

“I decided to remain on the Foundation board to help engage other physicians in supporting the Foundation, whether it be with time or financially,” he said. “I hope when physicians see their physician leaders actively involved in Foundation activities, it will help foster a culture of giving and demonstrate to potential community donors that the physicians at the hospital are supportive of the Foundation.”

Photo: Dr. Kar Cheong Lee, Chief and Medical Director of Internal Medicine; Dr. Peter Stroz, Medical Director, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Services; and Dr. Luke Bui, Minimally Invasive Surgeon, have made an early commitment to the campaign.