Founder and Executive Director, The ILC Family Centered Chronic Pain Care Program
Sandy Smeenk is the Executive Director of the ILC Family Centered Child and Youth Chronic Pain Care Program, the first charity in Ontario and Canada with the dedicated focus to bridge gaps in community based care for the 2.2 in 44 children, adolescents, young adults and families living with complex chronic pain diseases including those that are hereditary.
As Founder of the ILC, Sandy has a well-developed business sense and ability to meet project deadlines where she uses her past experience as a Human Resources Professional in government contract compliance and managing operating budgets of $1.5 M, to reach ILC’s short and long term strategic goals. Sandy works with a dedicated volunteer Board of Directors and Business and Medical Advisory Committees, where they focus on promoting and highlighting what is done well in health care and community services, while influencing the much needed change to integrate inclusionary care to this at risk population.
Since ILC’s incorporation, Sandy has led substantive initiatives that have resulted in improvements in chronic pain care, most recently including the development of the Difficult to Diagnose Disease Scientific Workshop and Conference where multidisciplinary specialists come together to begin the process of developing best practices for the diagnosis, treatment and care of a board group of chronic pain diseases, beginning with connective tissue disorder disease Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). The positive outcomes of the 2013 conference influenced directors of pain centers to revisit patient files to confirm diagnosis and care plans, where at one center alone, an increase of 200% in EDS diagnosis was realized.
The ILC and Sandy’s advocacy was pivotal in obtaining government recognition of the critical challenge of chronic pain and EDS in children and youth where they otherwise did not have this at risk population on the radar as noted by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.
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