Cathy Crowe, RN, BAAN, M.Ed., C.M.
The essence of Cathy’s entire career has been nursing for social justice.
Cathy obtained her diploma in nursing from Toronto General Hospital (1972), her Bachelor of Applied Arts in Nursing from Ryerson (1985) and her Masters of Education (Sociology) from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (1992) where she examined the role of gender, class and medicine in the health care system.
Although known as a street nurse, Cathy has worked in a number of areas in community health. Her work has included ‘taking the pulse’ of health issues affecting low-income people including shelter conditions and inadequate housing, the return of tuberculosis and bedbugs, discrimination and a high mortality rate.
She has fostered numerous coalitions and advocacy initiatives that have achieved significant public policy victories including the 1998 Disaster Declaration that resulted in a new federal program to respond to homelessness. In recognition of her work she received the International Human Rights and Nursing award from the International Centre for Nursing Ethics in Amsterdam.
A documentary film on her work titled Street Nurse, directed by Emmy and Gemini winner Shelley Saywell has had a major impact on nursing education.
From 2004-2009 Cathy was the recipient of the Atkinson Charitable Foundation’s Economic Justice Award and worked both locally and nationally on issues related to homelessness. During her fellowship she attended the American Blue Mountain Center where she wrote ‘Dying for a Home: Homeless Activists Speak Out’ (Between the Lines, 2007). She was also the Executive Producer of Home Safe Calgary and Home Safe Toronto and researcher for Home Safe Hamilton – a national documentary film and community development project on homeless families and children, with filmmaker Laura Sky.
Today Cathy is a frequent commentator, writer and guest speaker. In 2013 she was appointed as a part-time Distinguished Visiting Practitioner in the Department of Politics at Ryerson University. She received the Order of Canada in 2018.