Meet one of WCH’s Peer Navigators, Kate Mlodzik!

We are Women’s offers the WCH community a chance to get to know each other and share our stories.

Name: Kate Mlodzik

Pronouns: She/her

Title & Department: CCS Peer Support and Information Specialist

On the WCH team for: Since October 2016

1. What does your typical workday look like?

My workday is spent supporting patients who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer, newly identified mutation carriers, and those considering breast reconstruction. We talk about their situation, and I share my personal experience and how it might relate to their upcoming decisions, surgeries, and treatments. We discuss medical, emotional, and practical issues, as well as coping strategies and the importance of being active participants in their own care.  I also connect them to Canadian Cancer Society and other community resources that will help them to navigate their path forward.

In addition, I also contribute to several hospital initiatives, including BRA Day, our Breast Reconstruction Workshop, the Community Liaison Advisory Committee and as a Patient Experience Advisor.

2. What excites you the most about working at WCH?

So much!  I’m especially excited about our focus on inclusivity, innovation, collaboration, and accessibility. I’m grateful to be part of an organization where the values that are rooted in our very strong and proud history continue to shine through and evolve.

Along with the great work that’s being done at Women’s, I love being part of a multidisciplinary team that sees peer experience as a valuable piece of the supportive care process.  It’s so meaningful and fulfilling to do this work and to be part of an organization that includes progressive programs and initiatives like this.

3. How does your work contribute to creating a positive patient experience?

My work gives time and space for additional support and information, with the goal of reducing fear and anxiety, on a very difficult day from someone who’s been there. Integrating a peer role into a clinical team is very unique.  I’ve been told often, by friends who received care elsewhere, that peer support was the missing piece in their breast cancer care – “I wish I could have talked to someone who had gone through this.”  Our out-of-the-box, innovative thinking is definitely filling gaps and creating a more comprehensive and positive patient experience.

4. Tell us one to three things that your colleagues would be surprised to learn about you!

  • I’m the youngest of nine children – collaboration and emotional intelligence were baked in a long time ago!
  • As part of my ‘disrupt the disrupter’ plan, I ran my first half marathon and learned how to surf a few months after cancer surgery and treatments.
  • My current TikTok feed rotates between Harry Styles and tiny homes 😊