In life, there can be leaders and followers. Dr. Denise Wren has had the pleasure of being both.
After watching her father’s care as a family physician, Dr. Wren knew at an early age that a health career was in her future. She followed in his footsteps and became a family physician as well.
“Quite simply, it was about a desire to help people,” she explains.
Dr. Wren has been based in Waterloo Region since 1983. At first, her family practice involved pretty much everything: seeing patients, assisting in surgery, performing minor procedures and delivering babies.
Soon after, Dr. Wren dove into leadership as the chief of family practice at the then KW Hospital. Dr. Wren and several of her colleagues initially formed a call group to care for “orphaned” patients, or those without family doctors in the community.
In 1989, family physicians rapidly began withdrawing from providing hospital care. To fill the gap. Dr. Wren and four other physicians took the initiative to set up a hospitalist program. It was based on an American model of full-time in-hospital doctors as the most responsible physicians for patients throughout their stay.
“We established the first hospitalist group, initially at St. Mary’s General Hospital and at the then KW Hospital. Personally, I’ve enjoyed working with patients, understanding their needs, and gaining new clinical knowledge every day,” Dr. Wren explains.
For more than two decades, Dr. Wren has provided support as a hospitalist while holding leadership positions within the GRH and St. Mary’s General Hospital medical staff structure.
In 2014, Dr. Wren was named vice president of medical affairs for Grand River Hospital. She works closely with medical staff and other hospital leaders to put in place quality improvement practices.
Whether leading a quality improvement or providing direct care, Dr. Wren has seen changes in patients’ needs but an unwavering commitment to provide the best care.
“The people we are seeing now have greater health needs, higher acuity. I enjoy working within a team to address those needs. I think the quality of care has improved very much over the years.
“I want to pay my compliments to my leadership colleagues at the hospital. They are very concerned about the well-being of patients and staff. They make decisions carefully considering all patient and staff needs and the quality of patient care, not just the tough economic realities.”