Carl Brown

Head, division of general surgery, Providence Health Care Age: 38

Seven per cent of Canadians will be stricken with colorectal cancer.

At St. Paul’s Hospital, Dr. Carl Brown is in charge of making things better for patients with the disease. He has developed innovations which have reduced the invasiveness of life-saving procedures, shortening recovery times.

“You have to have the courage to try new things, which is difficult in medicine because in general we’re all fairly conservative and we want to do the safest thing,” he said.

As well as leading a group of surgeons at St. Paul’s, Brown has also brought colorectal specialists throughout the province together so that research, resources and referrals can be shared more effectively. St. Paul’s is now the leading tertiary care centre for patients with colorectal cancer.

As president of the Providence Health Care Medical Staff Association, he leads more than 1,000 physicians, surgeons and midwives. Brown believes being able to bring people together is central to effective leadership.

“It requires some vision to see things not how they are but how they can be,” he said.

After facing challenges revolving around its aging facilities in recent years, Brown said there’s a new energy and sense of purpose at St. Paul’s.

“There’s renewal happening at the hospital and there’s a lot of excitement, where there was a lot of uncertainty five years ago,” he said. •