John Dewsnap

John Dewsnap has worked as a Charge Nurse in the Inpatient Mental Health Unit for Joseph Brant Hospital for 20 years.  As the Charge Nurse, John oversees patient flow, supervises nursing staff and monitors the needs of the staff and patients.

John had worked on medical units, long-term care and corrections before coming to Joseph Brant Hospital.

“I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to bring what I’ve learned from the various settings to help me along the way and with my current position,” says John.

Over the years, one of the most memorable moments John remembers was helping a patient who came to their unit after suffering a terrible injury at work.  They were unable to return to their job and suffered many losses because of this.

“I remember sitting with them on several occasions, as they vented and expressed their concerns,” says John.

The team was able to help the patient with medication adjustments and getting connected with support in the community.  “A few years later, they came back to visit us on the unit, to let us know that they were back on their feet and doing well.  They told us that they were very grateful for all the help they got from the staff on the unit, and that they remembered that I let them vent and cry which meant a lot to them,” says John.

Working in the Mental Health & Addictions unit, John has found how incredible the team is.

“The staff are amazing, and we all work together to help people manage their condition.  Whether it be for education surrounding their medications or connecting them with the right resources in the community,” says John.

John notes how the COVID-19 pandemic has made things very difficult for everyone.  Seeing how many people are feeling isolated and lonely, he notes that the Mental Health & Addictions program has grown and been made more accessible for the community.

“Patients that are discharged are able to get follow-up appointments quicker and are better connected to the resources in the community that they need,” says John.  “I would also say thank you to our community and donors because it’s their support and contributions that are helping the hospital continue its mission.”


“I don’t feel happy anymore.”

It was last July, after months of suffering in silence that Abbey approached her mom and told her how she was feeling.

“I just felt numb,” she said. “There is really no way to describe the way I was feeling.”

The last 18 months have been so hard on everyone. Nothing has been normal. Nothing has felt right. And nobody has felt this more than kids.

Studies have shown that in the last year, more than 50% of children and adolescents have reported clinically significant depressive symptoms.

But thanks to the generous support of donors like the RBC Foundation, our CAP Clinic has been there to provide youth with the right care at the right time, including Abbey.

The RBC Foundation began supporting the expansion of the CAP Clinic back in 2013, enabling the program to grow from one-day a week to five-days a week, offering the children, youth and families in our community better access to care.

Over the past eight years, the CAP Clinic has seen a 400% increase in referrals, while providing a significant reduction in wait times. Prior to the pandemic, the CAP Clinic achieved zero wait time for appointments with a child and adolescent psychiatrist, nurse and social worker, down from 52 days in 2013.

The impact on children and adolescents has been particularly hard during the pandemic and, as a result, the CAP Clinic referrals have increased exponentially over the past 18 months. Loss of control, feelings of uncertainty, and changes to routine are contributing to symptoms of anxiety, low mood, adjustment disorders, eating disorders, and parent-child relational problems.

It was a feeling of loneliness and isolation that brought Abbey to the CAP Clinic.

“I remember feeling so alone. Both of my parents are essential workers and weren’t home,” she says. “I’m a very social person and I rely on others to make me happy and I was spending a lot of time in my room alone and crying.”

Abbey began with a psychiatrist, but found a connection with Gwen, a social worker in the CAP Clinic. She remembers having an immediate connection with Gwen, who was so welcoming and really made her feel like she had someone she could talk to that understood.

“A lot what helped was her validating the way that I felt,” Abbey says. “It felt so good to know that I wasn’t alone in what I was feeling and I wasn’t going to get in trouble for feeling this way.”

Over the course of her final year of high school, Abbey and Gwen continued to meet regularly, and after graduating in June, Abbey is studying Early Childhood Studies and Early Childhood Education at the University of Guelph-Humber.

For Abbey, the support of donors like the RBC Foundation has helped a great deal and made her more resilient. “All I can say is thank you,” she says. “Without the program, I don’t know where I would be. I’m sure you’re helping a lot of people, not just me.”

Oran Johnson

Burlington has given Oran Johnson so much: a career, friends, amazing neighbours, financial stability and a true source of connection and pride. So for him, volunteering as a way to give something back was a must.

Oran has served as a member of the JBH Foundation board for the past six years, and during that time has provided incredible leadership and expertise. He also leveraged his passion for golf as Co-Chair for the Annual JBH Open at the Burlington Golf and Country Club.

“I cannot be happier that I chose Joseph Brant Hospital and the Foundation Board as my avenue to try to give back and that they allowed me to be a part of it,” he said. “What an incredible community hospital Joseph Brant has become. It is the pride of our community and the envy of others and I will miss being a part of this incredible continuing transformation.”

Oran is also incredibly appreciative of the generous and ongoing support of all the Burlingtonians who have donated their time and money to make Joseph Brant what it is today. And he has a special message for the staff on the frontlines everyday.

“To the doctors and nurses, service staff and volunteers that pour their heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into providing exceptional care before and now during this pandemic at Joseph Brant Hospital, please know we all owe you a debt we may never be able to properly convey or repay.”

Susan Busby

Susan Busby has always had a passion for community, and specifically health and education.

A retired teacher and principal, Susan has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to our community through decades of volunteering her time, talent and treasure. Susan has served multiple terms as a member of both the Joseph Brant Hospital and JBH Foundation’s Board and played a key role in the Redevelopment and Expansion project.

“Participating as a volunteer has strengthened my understanding of what it means to be part of a community, working with so many committed individuals who come together to enrich the quality of healthcare at JBH, striving to make our world a better place,“ said Susan.

As Susan’s term on the JBH Foundation board comes to an end, we recognize her commitment of time, talent and treasure and thank her for her leadership and passion for engaging others to give.

Jamielynne Smith

Jamielynne is a mother of three and a Burlington resident for 30 years.  For over 10 years, Jamielynne has volunteered her time with Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation and has been a part of various event committees for the Foundation.

Jamielynne’s incredible set design skills and ideas have brought a lot of beauty and story to the Foundation’s events, including the Crystal Ball.  For the past 3 years, Jamielynne has created and decorated the themed Holiday Tree, on display in the hospital’s main lobby. Last year’s Holiday tree was dedicated to the frontline heroes of Joseph Brant Hospital.

“I’ve have never volunteered with more passionate, dedicated and fantastic people, who are collectively so dedicated and enthusiastic!” says Jamielynne. “I take a lot of pride in being able to help the Hospital through the Foundation and I hope to continue to volunteer with them for a long time”.

Kimberly Westenberg

The Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation is lucky to have a large group of dedicated volunteers. From Board and committee members to our IMPACT team, their support goes a long way towards achieving our goals.

For Kimberly Westenberg, volunteering with the Foundation goes back a long way.

“JBH is where I was born and I choose to give back by volunteering my time to the Foundation as JBH has been part of my life’s ups and downs,” she says. “I love volunteering my time in support of the events that raise money to help build a better hospital for the community I grew up in.”

It doesn’t hurt that her mom works for the Foundation.

“I would hear her talking about events and I wanted to attend and help out,” says Kimberly.

Over the past five years, Kimberly has volunteered at a number of Foundation events: Bright Lights Hot Nights, Battle of the Brains Trivia Night, Stars Under the Stars Movie Night, the Amazing Bed Race and the High Falutin’ Hoedown.

Volunteering could mean anything including set-up, tear-down, registration, fundraising, activities, and bartending, or as Kimberly puts it “basically anything I am asked to help with.”

In her volunteering with the Foundation, she has learned about the great amount of hard work and planning that goes into raising money to support our community Hospital.

“The amount of planning and passion that goes to plan a great event to allow the supporters of the hospital have a great time is amazing,” she said.

When asked what she likes most about volunteering for the Hospital Foundation, the answer is easy for Kimberly.

“I love that when I am helping out at an event that it’s always organized and you feel like a part of the team! The Foundation makes sure you are confident and happy with your assignment at the event, and it’s great watching the excitement and fun happen right before your eyes!”

According to Kimberly, the Foundation is a great place to volunteer, and get involved in your community.

“You get to be a part of a community that wants to provide better healthcare for the community. And sometimes you get pizza, and who doesn’t love pizza!”

Aileen, Rick and Hugo Barreto

For the Barreto family, having quality healthcare close to home has led to their volunteering with the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation.

“Unfortunately we have been faced with medical conditions that require us to be monitored by various healthcare specialists.  We have been very fortunate that a lot of these healthcare providers are located in Burlington, but not all, said Aileen. “We live in an amazing city that deserves a great hospital with all of these resources so we don’t need to travel to other cities.”

Aileen and her husband Rick, along with their children Hugo and Elle have been giving back to the JBHF since 2015, beginning with the CAAAR! 3 on 3 Road Hockey Tournament. And the key is the opportunity for the entire family to get involved.

“It is important that our children learn that there are different ways to help your community and that giving your time doesn’t cost you anything except heart,” Aileen said. “We love that by volunteering with the JBHF, our children feel a part of the new hospital.”

Alexandra Todd

Joseph Brant Hospital has been a part of one-third of Alexandra Todd’s life, so giving back to the hospital is something she looks back on as inevitable. Her father is a pharmacist, and her mother is a physician who received her training and started her career at JBH.

“For a period of time, JBH was at the centre of many events for my family,” she said. “As my mother was starting started her career, my grandfather was in palliative care at the hospital, so even when we would go for a walk by the lake, the hospital was always close in sight and thought.”

For Alexandra, hearing stories from her parents about how rewarding and special certain experiences with the hospital have been, and how kind the staff is going above and beyond continued as she’d spend time at the hospital with her mother.

“I was able to wait for my mother finishing checking a newborn on the weekends in the pediatric ward, and it was very uplifting to see so many smiling faces of nurses and parents with their newborns,” said Alexandra. “Despite my experiences with my grandfather, it showed me that the hospital was not always a place for sad news or illness.”

As a student at Fern Hill School, with an incredible history of fundraising, Alexandra was inspired to approach the Principal to suggest redirecting some of the funds raised to their own community hospital, rather than the charities the school had supported in the past.

“It was thanks to Mrs. Derrick who opened her door, ears and heart to a 12-year old wondering and questioning “why not, could we, what do you think” that made it happen,” she said.

As a result of her initiative, Fern Hill School made a five-year pledge in December 2014 to raise $100,000 in support of the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation.
Alexandra continues to volunteer with the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation and has recently been an active member of the planning committee for the Join the J community kick off in Spencer Smith Park last October, and as a participant on the Youth in Philanthropy discussion panel last winter.

For Alexandra, supporting healthcare goes back to the care her grandfather received over six years ago.

“I always remember how kind the staff are, going above and beyond for my grandfather,” she said. “Not only the excellent doctor but also the angel nurse who got him Yorkshire pudding to stimulate his English appetite. She was not just the nurse giving his medication, but also the one attending to his pain, suffering, and got to know him as a person.”

Jason Tieu

“We are trying to prevent patients from ending up in critical care and on a ventilator. We follow patients in respiratory distress and with low oxygen saturations. There are various therapies such as high flow oxygen and bipap that we can use to try and avoid intubation.”

Jason Tieu is a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) at Joseph Brant Hospital for just over three years.  As a RRT at JBH, he takes upon the role of the ICU RRT or the Wards RRT, which covers the Emergency Department, Labour and Delivery, NICU, Paediatrics, Medical and Surgical floors and others. He is also a member of the Code Blue, Code Pink and Critical Care Response Team.

He cares for patients of all ages and in all parts of the hospital.

“We deal with neonates, pediatrics and adults. We can be found at high risk deliveries resuscitating a newborn in the Labour and Delivery Department, receiving a patient from Paramedics with vital signs absent in the Emergency Department, intubating and placing a patient on a ventilator in the ICU and many other areas within the hospital.”

Over the years, Jason speaks on the great learning experiences he’s received from his fellow RRTs, Intensivists, nurses and other JBH colleagues.

“I’ve gained a lot of knowledge over my 3 year career at JBH and especially this past year when dealing with COVID-19 patients we’ve learned new ventilation strategies and procedures when treating this infection.”

Navigating the waves of COVID-19, Jason is proud of how everyone has been able to adapt to the situation and perform their jobs as needed.  Everyone is constantly learning new information, best practices and adapting it to their daily tasks

“The management team in the ICU are doing incredible work with planning and being ready for any type of situation that could arise,” says Jason.

When asked about any particular moments at JBH that stand out to Jason, he explains that there are so many.

“There are many memorable moments at JBH. One moment that sticks out to me happened at the beginning of COVID-19. During the first wave of COVID-19, we had a very sick patient on life support. It took months of hard work to eventually get him off the ventilator where he was able to finally breathe on his own again. One year later, he came back and genuinely thanked all the staff that was part of his care at JBH. It is moments like this that give me hope when dealing with this pandemic.”

With tiring and long working shifts, Jason notes that even the smallest gifts cheer him up.

“I have to say thank you to the donors and the community. When you’re finally done a very long shift and you see thank you cards, letters, small gifts or gestures- it’s seeing those words of thanks that makes me reflect on what I’m doing and what it means to families in my community.”

Rusiri Herath

For the past four years, Rusiri Herath has been working in the inpatient Mental Health Unit at Joseph Brant Hospital.  In her current role as Charge Nurse, she recognizes the importance of being a resource for her colleagues.

“It’s important in mental health that we are able to support not just our patients but our colleagues as well.”

During her time at JBH, Rusiri has seen how much our Mental Health program has evolved and become an incredible environment adapting to new developments in Mental Health care.

“I always learn new things from my patients and what we need to be more aware of,” she says. “Our job isn’t just centered around medication.  We’re building rapport with our patients daily and talking to them about their illness and focusing on their overall well-being.  We focus on the person, not the illness.”

Rusiri and the team are seeing the impacts of COVID-19 on their clients with social isolation and the added precautions. She stresses how it’s important to seek help, and the team at JBH is working every day to break the stigma and support the community with programs and understanding.

“We truly care about our patients.  They come to us in a difficult part in their life, and we motivate and help them thrive and get control of their life.  When we see their progress and see them leave, it’s rewarding to know we’ve helped someone in our community,” says Rusiri.

Noting also how appreciative she is of the community and donors, she adds, “Without the community, our organization wouldn’t be able to provide the level of care our patients deserve.  Contributions are what allows us to provide exemplary care to our patients.”

Rusiri talks about the feeling of community at JBH and the kindness that lives there. “It doesn’t matter who you are, everyone is welcoming and polite with smiles on their faces. It really changes your outlook when you work in that kind of environment.  When you come to JBH that’s who you evolve into, you become a better person.”