Managing Durham’s health

Reporter: Richard East

You may have seen the ad. It features a young woman with a hijab dressed as a healthcare professional alongside the words, “We don’t care what’s on your head. We care what’s in it.” The recent recruiting campaign by Lakeridge Health has been making rounds amongst the media and a Durham College graduate is the man
managing it. Darrell Sewell is the vice-president of human resources and hospital services. His role in the campaign was to handle the medias questions towards the advertisement.
“It was an easy and obvious hook for the ad. We take no position on the values charter in Quebec. The exposure that Lakeridge received was fantastic though,” says Sewell. “It was an interesting reflection that most people who called or that we talked to thought that it was a doctor, a female doctor and of course a female doctor of a physical minority and we think that’s a huge statement about the way most people think these days now, that it doesn’t phase them at all.”
These days his job is about more than recruiting. HR is now only a quarter of what he does. Sewell also looks over engineering in infrastructure, as well as all food services and patient care support services. These responsibilities entail the cleaning of the facility, volunteer services, security services and infection control.
It gives him plenty of variety in his workday and a sense of pride when he can help the hospital continue improve patient and visitor experience, as well as further assist the people of Durham region. His most recent accomplishment was revamping the patient food delivery system, which was a plan almost two years in production and has received positive feedback.
“We’re all hardwired a certain way and certain things we’re drawn to. I’ve always been drawn to people. I like people business and things like human services and health care. I believe in helping other people and making a difference in other peoples lives,” says Sewell
After getting his science degree from McMaster University in 1987 he decided against entering the field of medicine. Instead he came to Durham College to augment his degree with a diploma, combining science and business to help people. He even became president of the student council in his final year.
“I always enjoyed business and, in particular, the people side of business. So work forces and how work forces operate and helping people be the best they can be in the work force,” says Sewell.
He later joined the board of Durham College for six years after a friend encouraged him to apply. Sewell was curious as to what it may be like to be a governor since his only experience in board meetings was being on the opposite side of governors. In 2010, he became vice chair for a year and became the chair of the board in his final year in 2012. Sewell still remains a supporter of Durham College and Durham region.
He now resides in Oshawa with his wife and three daughters after living in Ajax for 11 years. His family moved to be closer to family and friends. Sewell continues to believe Durham region to be a great place to live and raise a family, and uses that to encourage his every day work.