Sarah Downey named President and CEO of CAMH

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is pleased to announce the appointment of Sarah Downey as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective September 6, 2022.

Sarah is an experienced and visionary health care executive with a passionate commitment to mental health and addictions. She comes to CAMH from Michael Garron Hospital (MGH), where she served as President and CEO for seven years. She is a widely respected health care leader with a strong track record of listening, partnering, and collaborating with diverse stakeholders. Sarah’s approach is one that enables health care organizations to achieve their goals through meaningful partnerships with physicians, staff, learners, patients, families, and the community.

“The opportunity to lead CAMH, working hand in hand with the incredible talent in this organization and with our partners, at a time of great scientific discovery and hope, to address the most important health issue of our lifetime, is truly an honour,” said Sarah Downey. “This city, province, country, and the world need CAMH now more than ever. I am proud to have the opportunity to continue this meaningful and transformational work.”

At MGH, Sarah implemented an ambitious strategic plan that redefined the hospital’s vision, mission, values and brand. She led the redevelopment of 50 per cent of the MGH campus, modernizing the hospital and enhancing health services to the community. She has worked across health and social services to improve pathways to care, and supports for patients and families. During the pandemic, Sarah led the hospital’s innovative COVID-19 response, including community-led vaccination and testing programs. She also is currently the Board Chair of the Ontario Hospital Association, which represents all the Ontario hospitals.

Sarah is deeply familiar with CAMH, having previously served as Executive Vice President, Clinical Programs, where she was responsible for the operations and performance of clinical programs, and chaired the Quality of Care Committee. She also held leadership positions in academic health science centres, including as Vice President responsible for clinical and support services at Princess Margaret Hospital and as Director of Planning and Performance Management at University Health Network.

“As the world faces the prolonged and devastating effects triggered by the global pandemic, Canada needs CAMH’s research, clinical care and advocacy. Sarah’s expansive executive experience and credibility in academic, clinical and philanthropic circles makes her ideally suited to lead CAMH as we work to revolutionize mental health care,” said Medhat Mahdy, Board Chair, CAMH. “As we prepare for this next chapter, the Board remains committed to implementing One CAMH, our three-year vision to Redefine Health, and we know Sarah will be instrumental in this work.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire CAMH team, I want to thank Tracey MacArthur, who took on the president and CEO role during the search process, for her tireless leadership and vital contributions during a critical period at CAMH.