During this time, he managed program, client and team needs, and also worked as part of the team to contain and control the spread of COVID-19 in B.C.’s 10 correctional centres.
“This really has been an exceptional year for me, professionally. Right now, I’m the regional director for the Forensic Psychiatric Services Regional Clinics, and for the last five months, I’ve held the position of interim regional director for Correctional Health Services, for centres outside of the Lower Mainland.”
Of the 10 correctional centres in B.C., five were under Angus’ portfolio. Earlier in 2020, just as the pandemic was declared, Angus stepped in as the executive director for Correctional Health Services and the Forensic Regional Clinics for three months. “It was an interesting and intense time. As I started, it quickly became apparent that we would need to focus on keeping staff and clients safe and healthy, as well as maintaining ongoing healthcare needs with the complexity of COVID-19.”
Juggling multiple leadership roles during a crisis is something that requires experience. While nothing could have prepared teams for the impacts of COVID-19, Angus’ 30 years of experience at PHSA certainly became apparent, and an asset.
"Angus truly did a great job as a reliable and capable leader in what was an intense time, and has been a wonderful role model and colleague to the whole team.”
Angus started working with forensic populations in 1991 as a social worker at the Forensic Psychiatric Services Vancouver clinic. During this time, he ran an Anger Violence Treatment Program, before moving to Nanaimo to work with individuals convicted of a sexual and/or violent offence. From there, Angus stepped into managerial roles, holding the position of executive director for Forensic Psychiatric Services at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital for two years. He has also gained dynamic experience through direct involvement in preparing for BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services to assume responsibility for Correctional Health Services prior to October 2017 as well as with the Forensic Opioid Use Disorder Initiative, the Forensic Sexual Offence Program, and the Downtown Community Court, to name a few.
Michele Frame, Angus’ assistant and administrative coordinator, has worked with Angus for several years and can attest to his experience and his approach as a leader.
“We joke about the buzzwords sometimes, but consistency has become a bit of a mantra when working with Angus. Whether that’s in client care across the province, or in how we work together on a day-to-day basis, consistency has become our guiding principle, and I think that has made the last 10 months more manageable.
“When I first started working with Angus, I heard from a colleague that I would quickly learn the difference between a leader and a manager, and I now see what they meant. Angus is a true leader — he doesn’t dictate what you should do or oversee every little detail; he leads by example and guides us all. There is real trust there, and that is really refreshing. It means we can find our own way to do the best job, and know we have his support.”
Vice President of BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, Lynn Pelletier, agrees that Angus has been an exceptional leader through recent, challenging times. “With Angus stepping up to take on the role of executive director during the emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew that operations were in safe hands. Without fail, he continually managed the rapidly evolving situation, and seemed to take changes or obstacles in his stride. Angus truly did a great job as a reliable and capable leader in what was an intense time, and has been a wonderful role model and colleague to the whole team.”
Angus Monaghan, director of the Forensic Regional Community Clinics.
This past year has seen many notable highlights for Angus and Michele.
One highlight, according to Angus, was the results they saw from the early COVID-19 response in correctional centres and forensic clinics. “The fact that we managed to contain the spread of the disease within our centres was a big success and not without incredible work on everyone’s part.
“COVID-19 has required all of us to get right in there and roll up our sleeves — not divest ourselves of responsibility. It’s on all of us to be there for all the hard work, and for each other, and that is especially true of managers and leaders. This year, I’ve taken great pride in instances where people on my team have risen to the occasion.”
“COVID-19 has required all of us to get right in there and roll up our sleeves — not divest ourselves of responsibility. It’s on all of us to be there for all the hard work, and for each other, and that is especially true of managers and leaders."
As well as having a strong team rapport, there are some secrets to keeping a level head while balancing work responsibilities.
“It helps that I work with a highly effective team. Those that report to me get the job done every time — they make me look good. But it’s still important to compartmentalize, to get away from the job, and to switch off. I’m ferociously into mountain biking both during the week and on weekends. It’s such a good sport to get your mind off things. You literally have to focus on what’s in front of you so there isn’t room for distraction.”
Nancy Desrosier is the provincial executive director with Correctional Health Services and took over this role from Angus in May 2020. She has, in her own words, had the pleasure of working with Angus over the last year.
“I consider myself extremely lucky to have Angus as a member of our team. His years of experience have made him versatile and adaptable to any situation, but what’s even more special is how he embraces new challenges so openly. He is always ready to give a helping hand and continually goes above and beyond. Not only is Angus an amazing leader, he is also a friend to many, including me. On behalf of the whole team, I want to thank Angus for his exceptional leadership and everything he does for us.”
With the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines in B.C., Angus and his team are looking forward to seeing staff and clients get immunized, enabling the team to get back to taking care of the needs of clients, without the complications of COVID-19.
“I really hope to be able to get to the point where COVID-19 is no longer a part of our work. Throughout the pandemic, we have continued making progress and delivering excellent client care, but there is no doubt the pandemic has brought an added layer of complexity to operations. My hope is that soon, we can focus all our energies on tending to the primary health care that our clients and B.C. needs help with, whether that’s general health, mental health care, or responding to the opioid crisis across the province.”
For more information about the work of Angus and his team, visit the Correctional Health Services webpage.