Know Your Heroes: Craig Madho

Know Your Heroes showcases the many different people and roles that make up #TeamUHN. We celebrate these people, who strive to make the world a healthier place every day.

Name: Craig Madho
Title: Research Analyst at UHN OpenLab
Number of years working in health care: 7
I was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, but moved to Toronto when I was two years old and grew up here.

I decided to get into health care because of the example my mom set for me as a personal support worker caring for clients who have Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Growing up, she would bring me and my sister in to read with her clients or play music for them. The clients she cared for were all fairly late stage, and so even though we visited on a weekly basis, it would always be the first time meeting “Claire’s kids”. Seeing how such simple pleasures – sitting down and reading a book with them or playing a familiar tune – could bring joy to someone in such a vulnerable position left a lasting impression, and I always knew that I wanted to work in a field that enabled me to bring people joy.

My role here at UHN is to work with older adults to understand how we can better deliver services that enable them to age in their homes.

COVID-19 has affected me by creating an opportunity to implement our research with older adults. At the start of the pandemic, the OpenLab team realized that the research and connections we’ve made could be transformed into a project to support low-income older adults in Toronto lacking access to groceries and essential items. Shortly after entering quarantine, the OpenLab team came together to start Friendly Neighbour Hotline, a Toronto-wide network that connects volunteers with low-income older adults in need of help purchasing groceries. To date, we’ve managed to do about 25,000 deliveries, helping over 12,000 individuals across the city.

The thing I love the most about my job is
that I am not restricted to a desk and can go out and meet with older adults where they live to understand their problems holistically. Meeting them in their space is so important to understanding the breadth of the barriers they experience and ensuring our solutions retain a human touch.

The most incredible thing I’ve seen at work is how older adults self-organize to plan health and social events for themselves and others in their buildings.

I’m inspired by
the individual stories and experiences of the populations we work with. Personal stories are powerful tools for making sense of and understanding the complexity that many Torontonians must navigate to access health care.

One of my personal heroes is Alan Alda because his book, If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?, inspired me greatly in university to consider different ways of thinking and communicating about science. It was also how I learned that he was a strong science advocate and was using his connections in television to make science more accessible. I grew up watching M*A*S*H with my dad, so it was pretty cool to see that Hawkeye also grew up to love talking about science.

I sometimes worry about how unaffordable our city is becoming and what that means for the vibrant, diverse culture that I love about Toronto.

I’ve found joy recently from discovering local hiking trails to explore. There are so many gorgeous trails within the city infrastructure!

My favourite movie is What We Do in the Shadows because it’s a fun and irreverent take on the horror genre that has wonderful dry comedy by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, two of my favourite directors and comedians.

My ideal day off is backcountry camping somewhere in Killarney Provincial Park.

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