Celebrating International Women’s Day

Susan Sallaj Ginn (left), QCH Director of Planning and Facilities, tours the new B2 space with Shannon Gorman (right), QCH Foundation President and CEO.

Sue Sallaj Ginn is a woman of many firsts. She was the first woman in her family to become an engineer, and was also the first woman to become Director of Planning and Facilities at Queensway Carleton Hospital, which includes being in charge of the hospital’s protection services, emergency management, call centre operations and parking. 

Sue, who has more than 20 years’ experience in project management (11 of those years have been with QCH, where her three sons were born), has played a major role in the expansion of local health care at QCH.

“I’m very proud to help pave the road for other women in my industry,” she said, while giving a special shout out to her husband for his support. “He is that person in my corner.”

Sue has just finished overseeing a recent renovation to create a modern, comfortable and fully equipped space with 15 bed bays for admitted emergency patients to receive treatment and care. It’s not uncommon for some emergency patients to have had to spend hours, and in some cases, overnight, on a stretcher in the Emergency Department hallway waiting for the bed to become available. 

“The hospital is extremely busy,” she explained of an overcapacity issue that impacts hospitals everywhere. “When COVID hit and before we had vaccinations, a lot of people put off care and delayed coming to hospital for treatment.”

Patient stays in the new B2 medicine unit are meant to be short-term, in the 24 to 48 hour span, until they can either be discharged or moved to another unit in the hospital.  

The demand for care at QCH is likely to remain high due to the growing and aging population in the west-end region, explained Sue. The bed bay space is now available for use but the hospital still needs donor support to help cover the costs of the construction project.

QCH owes a great deal of its success to community support, Sue pointed out. “The reality is, we couldn’t do a lot of things, in terms of new equipment, replacement of equipment, renovation of spaces and even larger scale projects, frankly, without the Foundation and the wonderful donor community that we have.

“Donors’ contributions touch every part of the hospital ecosystem,” said Sue of such purchases as a new mammography machine for breast cancer screening, new stretchers and wheelchairs, and new devices for sterilizing surgeons’ equipment. “Honestly, we couldn’t do it without the wonderful donors.”

Sue has also been managing the expansion and rebuild of the hospital’s old and outdated mental health facility. The special project will reach a major milestone this summer with the completion of its new inpatient unit. The outpatient unit is slated to be finished in 2023. The redevelopment was funded in part by the $6 million raised through the QCH Foundation’s Hopes Rising Campaign.