Pictured above: Meet the first Canadian LETsLEAD class: (L to R) Rachel Cooper, facilitator, Tracey Addison, Sacha Agrawal, facilitator, Catrina Padmore, Sean Patenaude, Rachel Bromberg, Funmi Adeniyi-taiwo, Courtney Young, Kathy Friedman, Pauline Harnum and Claire Bien, facilitator.
By Patrick Callan
The first eight Canadian fellows have graduated from the Lived Experience Transformational Leadership Academy (LETsLEAD).
Designed by the Program for Recovery and Community Health in the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, LETsLEAD helps emerging service user leaders gain an understanding of critical issues in health care and to learn and put into practice the key elements of transformational leadership.
The first half of the eight-month course consisted of 10 in-class seminars, videoconferencing with Yale instructors. Fellows explored emerging issues in mental health care systems, as well as the principles of transformational leadership such as appreciative inquiry, partnering with others and developing one’s personal vision.
In the second part of the course, fellows had the opportunity to participate in a project mentored by senior leaders at CAMH and lived experience leaders within Yale’s network. The goal of the project was for fellows to apply the theory they learned in class to build leadership skills while making service improvements both at CAMH and in the larger mental health care system.
Courtney Young, a LETsLEAD fellow and Patient Engagement Facilitator at CAMH, developed a journey map with her project partners.
“We would take a really patient-centred approach to try and measure their process from the CAMH Emergency Department to an inpatient unit and then to the Bridging Clinic to see if there were any pain points along the way and if we can make improvements,” she explains.
Courtney thought LETsLEAD was a fantastic course and really enjoyed making new connections with other fellows and CAMH leadership.
“As a CAMH patient I was really interested in getting to know more about the organization,” she says. “I also formed a really tightknit bond with my other fellows. We had lunch together every week before class, talked about our mental health challenges and about points of recovery. It’s been a very supportive and educational program.”