Meet Sue MacRae

March 1, 2024

For International Women’s Day (IWD), we asked some of our staff what their vision for a gender equal future is and how they’re helping to build that future.

Name: Sue MacRae

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Title & Department: Registered Nurse, Trauma Therapy Program

On the WCH team for: 10 years

1. What is your vision for a gender equal future?

My vision for a gender equal future would be that all humans regardless of their gender would have the same access and rights to power sharing, life-giving societal relationships, inspiring and advancing work opportunities and high-quality healthcare. My vision seeks a lived reality of equality, safety, dignity and freedom for all people, with the complete eradication of gender-based violence and abuse.

2. How are you helping to build that future, both at work and in your life?

I believe I work towards this vision every day in my work in the Trauma therapy program (TTP) at WCH as I support trauma recovery work among childhood trauma survivors across the gender continuum. Originally 25 years ago, our program offered services only to women identified individuals but over the years we have come to realize the great need for trauma services for all folks across all genders. In the 10 years I have worked at WCH I have seen that trauma impacts individuals from different genders differently, so I believe our health research needs to spend more time closely looking at these differences if we are to better treat individuals with trauma across genders. I also feel I need to personally and professionally seek to learn and understand different gender locations and continue to remain curious about how different humans occupy, understand and express their gender identity. This curiosity, I believe, is key so I can be a more compassionate and informed clinician and human being.

3. Who or what are you celebrating for International Women’s Day?

I was born into a female body and identify as a woman. International women’s day is a day that allows me to reflect on my many privileges and challenges related to my gender location. It is also a chance for me to thank the many women who have helped me in the past and present who have guided and supported me in my life. In particular it is a chance for me to honour my mother whose life in a female body was difficult but despite that she offered unconditional love to those around her.

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

I suppose something not everyone knows about me is that I have had four careers. I started my first career as a dental assistant working for my dentist father. My second career was in nursing (taking after my mom) where I did bedside nursing for a few years. After that I launched into a significant career in medical bioethics that lasted 15 years where I was a clinical bedside to boardroom consultant supporting doctors, nurses, patients, family members, and hospital administrators work through daily ethical challenges in healthcare. A lot of that work on the clinical level was working around decision making support with patients who were dying and on the organizational side, I did a lot of work on quality improvement and systems change. I also did a lot of academic research, writing, and teaching in that bioethics role and became a champion for patient centered care in the field. In the early 2000s, I shifted towards psychotherapy work—a work that combined aspects of all my previous work experience. For the last 10 years I have been working at WCH in the Trauma Therapy Program as a group and individual therapist and still love to work on quality improvement projects that help improve systems of care. I guess I consider myself to be someone who loves to keep learning and growing.