Kathryn Dong, '99 MD, '07 MSc

Associate clinical professor, Department of Emergency Medicine Addiction medicine physician, Royal Alexandra Hospital

20 September 2018

Kathryn Dong is an ER physician helping change the culture of acute care to improve health outcomes for patients with substance-use disorders.

Dong's passion for those high-risk patients that fall between the cracks of the medical system led to the creation of the Royal Alexandra Hospital's Inner City Health and Wellness Program and Addiction Recovery and Community Health Team (ARCH).

The program, which relies on the collaboration of a broad range of agencies, is inspiring the next generation of emergency department doctors. After witnessing an opioid overdose during a rural medicine rotation in Whitecourt, the U of A's Julianna Deutscher, '18 MD, used Dong's model to help her bring the town's existing services together into a more seamless support system. "I started looking at what the ARCH program is doing here in Edmonton, and we were able to bring some of that to Whitecourt."

Researchers on Dong's team are studying the program's outcomes in hopes of encouraging its implementation in emergency rooms and hospitals throughout Alberta.

"I dream of a world where you get excellent treatment for your substance use disorder, as you do for whatever reason brought you to the hospital. I would love to see this just normal practice," said Dong, a Global Woman of Vision in 2017