Women Leaders in Digital Health: Dr. Allison Crawford

Dr. Allison Crawford, Associate Chief, Virtual Mental Health and Outreach, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Dr. Crawford is an energetic, charismatic, and confident leader, who has demonstrated her long-standing commitment to advancing mental health service access using virtual care technologies.

Dr. Crawford has been a leader in virtual mental health care for many years, contributing significantly to research, practice, and policy development. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, her knowledge and expertise were instrumental in the rapid implementation of virtual care across the hospital. Dr. Crawford and her team supported the development of virtual care policies and guidelines for individual virtual sessions and virtual groups as part of a virtual care toolkit and provided training across the organization to ensure that physicians and staff were well supported in the transition to virtual care.

Dr. Crawford’s leadership also extends well beyond the walls of CAMH. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Crawford and her colleague Dr. Eva Serhal developed and published a digital health equity framework; disseminated a patient-centered, virtual client experience survey to support organizations to evaluate virtual mental health and addictions care; and have created an online repository of resources to support the implementation and evaluation of virtual care within healthcare settings.

Under Dr. Crawford’s leadership, CAMH has also launched a virtual community of practice, ECHO Coping with COVID-19, to promote resilience and effective coping among healthcare providers during the pandemic.

Dr. Crawford has demonstrated great leadership in digital health and has dedicated much of her career to advancing mental health service access through the use digital health technologies. Through her dedication and deep commitment to equitable access to quality mental health care, Dr. Crawford has established herself as a digital health leader in the local, provincial and national contexts. – Orpah McKenzie, Director of eHealth Services, Keewaytinook Okimakanak (Women Leaders in Digital Health 2019)

Dr. Crawford leads by example every step of the way. She is a practitioner, an educator, a researcher, and a leader in both virtual care and virtual education. She is both optimistic and realistic, advocating strongly for the role of virtual care, while simultaneously identifying areas where we can continue to grow and evolve within the field to ensure that services are accessible, equitable, compassionate, and culturally safe. Her passion and commitment, as well as her kind and approachable leadership style, inspires and motivates others to continually innovate and support the advancement of care in this rapid evolving digital era.

Congratulations on being voted one of the 2020 Women Leaders in Digital Health, Dr. Allison Crawford!

Learn more about the Women Leaders in Digital Health Award here.