Growing up on a farm in North Dundas, with teamwork and volunteerism as family values,
Lisa Paul (nee Brogan) left a policing career in greater pursuit of her passion of supporting
During the early days of 2020, the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE)
caused the closure of many Ontario medical clinics, as local physicians could no longer
As the Director at St. John Ambulance Ottawa, Lisa’s team of staff, instructors, and
volunteers work collaboratively to improve the health, safety, and quality of life for people in Canada. Through this work, the North Dundas local may have contributed to your safety
during the pandemic!
“St. John Ambulance is best known for teaching First Aid and CPR courses, but what many
don’t know is why we do it,” Lisa Paul explains.
“As a charity and social enterprise, St. John Ambulance teaches to generate revenue, which enables our ability to provide communities across Canada with humanitarian work and community services.”
In April, 2020, within hours of identifying the need to support Ontario physicians, Lisa
mobilized teams of Medical First Responders to assist the Ontario Medical Association
Since the pandemic closed classrooms in Ontario, the vacant SJA Training Center
quickly turned into a warehouse to store PPE as St. John and OMA worked tirelessly to
support the physicians with mobile and Drive-Thru PPE distributions.
Lisa recalls a favourite moment when a “pawsitively outstanding” SJA Therapy Dog
volunteer was providing side-line support for the docs at a Drive-Thru with a sign that read:
Thank YOU. We know it has been ruff. Stay pawsitive, Stay safe!
“As the docs drove by, they honked and waved, we could see their smiles right through the
mask, and sadly, in those days, they didn’t have much to smile about”, Lisa recalled.
For a century, the OMA Awards program has recognized physicians and community leaders
for contributions to the medical profession and health care in Ontario.
After being nominated by a local physician, Lisa has received the 2021 Ontario Medical Association Centennial Award, bestowed in recognition of her leadership and distinguished acts in serving the health and welfare of the people of Ontario.
“From the onset, I knew the pandemic was a dangerous situation for the physical and
mental health of Ontarians. I started exploring opportunities to help. It’s what we do, it’s who we are at St. John.
Years ago, we went to war. Every day since, we have supported
Canadians at home, and in 2020 our local team was determined to make a big impact in the health, safety, and quality of life for those affected by this pandemic.”, said Lisa.
Having not taken a moment to reflect on the impact her leadership would have, Lisa
explained “at a PPE Drive-Thru I saw a woman walking aimlessly in the parking lot holding
onto a ziplock bag with a mere 10 disposable masks in it, and she had 2 face shields in the
other hand”, Lisa recalled.
“She was crying, and through her tears she explained she had to walk-thru because she was to upset to drive-thru.” At the time, PPE was being rationed, as it was distributed to physicians to keep more physicians practicing. “The small amount of PPE she received brought her to tears, because she could keep her clinic open for a few more days.
” Lisa still speaks with emotion when she admits “It was that moment I realized
how critical the need really was, and both the personal and professional impact our work
was having on physicians in Ontario. I was always proud to support the OMA, but that
moment was significant for me.”
When asked what’s next, Lisa says “we still have a lot of work to do. Our teams at SJA are
safely back in the classroom so we are open for training, plus we are supporting vaccination clinics and other federal COVID initiatives. We will always continue to look for opportunities to assist the people in Ontario and Canada, and very soon I will see our Therapy Dogs and MFRs joining Ontarians out and about in the local community once again!”
Lisa and her team helped to distribute over 130,000 masks and 6000 face shields to
physicians during spring and summer 2020, at a time where scarce supplies of PPE and
uncertainty clouded the atmosphere; All it took was one North Dundas local to lead a team
against an invisible adversary, and the outcome was an incredible impact made in keeping
physicians and patients healthy and safe in Ontario.
To support Lisa’s team at St. John Ambulance, consider donating locally, taking a training
course or shopping for safety products. Reach St. John Ambulance www.sja.ca, 613-722-
2002 or [email protected]