A Physician’s Everlasting Legacy Supporting His Passion in Mental Health and Substance Use

Dr. Shiraz Mohamed, retired psychiatrist at Royal Inland Hospital is making a thoughtful gift of $200,000 to the RIH Foundation, to be used in the new Phil and Jennie Gaglardi Tower. This generous contribution will directly benefit the new Mental Health and Substance Use Department in the tower.

Mental health and substance use is the most common reason for inpatient visits to RIH; responsible for the highest number of inpatient days. The current unit in the Alumnae Tower was built in 1962. The rooms are small, dark, uninviting and physically disconnected from the rest of the hospital. Since the majority of patients are admitted through the Emergency Department, patient transportation from Emergency to their building is a challenge.

The new department includes inpatient spaces that will be transformed into warm, calming environments. Places where patients are cared for in the modern spaces they deserve: With 30 private light-filled rooms; seclusion, assessment and activity rooms; lounges, external courtyards and living spaces – all conducive to healing and recovery.

After moving to Canada from East Africa in 1973, Dr. Mohamed came to British Columbia from Ontario in 1979 in pursuit of a milder climate and the west coast lifestyle. On his way to Vancouver he submitted a proposal that would see substantial changes to the mental health program in Kamloops, which at that time was almost non-existent, with just five staff. The proposal was ambitious and he did not expect it to be accepted, but it turned out that ambitious changes were just what the doctor ordered.

Administrators leapt at the opportunity to bring him to Kamloops. He came with a vision on how to improve access to services. His work in Kamloops was a great passion in his life. He practiced at the hospital (1 South) and in the community. He was involved with projects associated with Thompson Rivers University and Canadian Mental Health in Kamloops. A highlight of his career in Kamloops was helping to bring two tertiary mental health centres to the city; Hillside Centre for acute patients and South Hills Rehabilitation Centre. This helped attract more psychiatrists and other mental health specialists to Kamloops.

“Giving back is important to me and my family. It takes a community to raise a family. Kamloops gave us that unconditionally, now it is our turn to give back”, said Dr. Shiraz Mohamed. “With these improved services available in Kamloops and the surrounding areas, RIH can offer the support required to achieve the high level of care needed for those challenged with mental health and substance use. We look forward to a future where the new Mental Health and Substance Use Unit will be the center of excellence for our region”, he finished.

During his 30 years at RIH, Dr. Mohamed was passionate about the evolution of psychiatric services in Kamloops. He served as the Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Royal Inland Hospital and Regional Clinical Director of Mental Health and Substance Use Services.

Dr. Shiraz Mohamed and his wife Nasim raised three boys in Kamloops, now reside near the coast and currently have a home in Sun Peaks, BC.

“Dr. Mohamed was a leader in the Department of Psychiatry during his 30 years in Kamloops. He was instrumental in developing programs for inpatient psychiatric treatment and played an integral role in bringing Hillside and South Hills Tertiary Care programs to Kamloops. His generous donation emphasizes his enduring commitment to the promotion of mental health treatment.” Dr. R. A. Chale, Psychiatrist and RIH Foundation Board Member.

Heidi Coleman, CEO-RIH Foundation, commented on the donation, “The journey through mental health and addiction issues is hard enough without the stigma that it carries. There is no health without mental health. We are grateful to Dr. Mohamed for his years of expertise in this field and for this very generous gift to our community. With this gift, his legacy lives on.”