Know Your Heroes: Earl Brown

Earl Brown

Name: Earl Brown
Title: Business Process and Data Analyst
Number of years working in health care: 10
I was born and raised in: Toronto

I decided to get into health care through volunteering! I was so grateful to be alive and functioning with the help of my medical heroes: Drs. Vera Bril, Shaf Keshavjee and Philip Segal.  I really wanted to give back to their institution that did so much for me.  I had been diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder which had dramatically changed my ability to perform in an orchestra or chamber music setting (affecting the earning and opportunity potential I had previously).

At the time, my life would have been hard and less fulfilling. I volunteered, worked a coffee shop and went back to school. Next, I landed a job with Toronto General Hospital’s, Admitting department, as an Information Desk Clerk. Offering a friendly greeting, “Hi! How can I help you?” and the journey has led me here today!

My role here at UHN is… Surprisingly, “Hi!  How can I help you?” is a really great way to describe the continuation of my role at UHN today.  As a business analyst, I spend a lot of time asking questions of the groups who reach out to Data and Analytics for Robotic Process Automation solutions. Currently, I am tasked to help our clinical and business units improve their units through automation. 

Essentially, I’m looking to understand:

1. What is the problem that the group is facing?
2. How does the unit and group believe this will help their team’s efficiency and alignment with UHN’s strategic direction?
3. How to map the process accurately, so that my team, their team, and other stakeholders can join in the solution generation and testing?

I’ve transitioned from predominantly working directly with patients and visitors, to working with staff and other stakeholders.

The thing I love the most about my job is asking questions for a living and engaging with people! In my previous career as a professional double bassist, my life was dedicated to being the best accompanist I could be. Realizing the soloist, group or bass section’s musical goals. Now, I get to play the same role but with staff – helping them realize their business goals!

The most incredible thing I’ve seen at work is how quickly patients get to go home after having a successful transplant. Once I became an admitting clerk, I would admit patient who were about to undergo a transplant work up. Discharging these patients was always one of the most amazing and miraculous things to behold. The level of optimism and bravery that they all exhibit to move themselves forward is always profound!

I’m inspired by the level of team work and desire to work together that UHN staff possesses. The sheer openness of all staff wishing to work together to build bigger things than they could achieve on their own is like high-level chamber musicians. I will continue to ‘practice my craft’ to help accompany and realize all of those goals and dreams.

One of my personal heroes is… I don’t have a singular personal hero, but I am grateful for the departments I’ve been involved in: Volunteer Resources, Admitting, Digital and Data and Analytics, because from when I first started at UHN until now, each and every one of those leaders from those departments have provided me the tools to thrive and grow – they have ALL invested in me personally. Like with my medical heroes, I am so very, very grateful, eternally.

I sometimes worry about health literacy and how that affects and impacts patient health care journeys – my mom’s health literacy included.  If I have to advocate for my mom’s health care, then I can imagine that there are many patients and family members who have to do exactly the same. I wonder at what point we will reach the critical mass line? Where information and understanding within patient partnerships are deeply collaborative.

I’ve found joy recently from taking my mom, brother and niece to Jamaica for a family reunion/pilgrimage. My father passed away in September 2020.  Even though it was not COVID-19 related, we were unable to attend his funeral and had to attend virtually. From that time until now, I had set aside money to make a pilgrimage to Jamaica. This August, alongside many of my cousins, I visited the house where he was born to honour his memory. It was likely the most important trip of my life to date and has proven to be the most educational and profound! The circumstance made everything surreal, beautiful and meaningful. My parents were born in paradise!

My favourite book is The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman because he is truly a bedazzling wordsmith and storyteller. That book was a great way for me to look at the world from a systems analysis point of view – easy to understand the inputs/outputs and motivations for globalization. In 2023, it appears that the world is moving in a different direction towards Nationalization (or near-shoring), however after first reading this book years ago, this has enabled me to follow global systems and their motivations much better than I ever could have imagined.

My ideal day off is keeping active, by walking (urban hiking!). Solving programming problems.  Relaxing and enjoying life with my friends and my family.

Did you know you can recognize a UHN staff member through our Honour Your Hero program? Express gratitude for the care you or a loved one received and share a personal message of thanks with the people who supported you throughout your care journey. Your gift will supported research, education and the enhancement of patient care right here at UHN.

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