Humans of CMME
This is my story...
CMME is, first and foremost, a team of humans from everywhere with all kinds of stories and experiences.
We are proud of our team and want to share their narratives, journey, progress: the wonderful beings that they are.
Stay tuned for the next story. We are excited to share it with you.
💙 Renato Barrientos
Translated from French
"I am Renato, originally from Peru. At the age of three, I arrived in Quebec right in the middle of a snowstorm. It's a day I will always remember. As we got off the plane, my mother exclaimed, 'What is this place?' I was wrapped in a coat like a little polar bear because my grandmother used to tell us, 'It's cold over there! There are igloos.' In the past, people abroad had this perception, fuelled by images broadcast in Peru. I don't really have a Spanish accent because my parents integrated themselves and lived in Pointe-aux-Trembles.
My journey has been unconventional and explosive. After secondary school, I found myself uncertain, like many young people. I went to various Cégeps: Dawson, Maisonneuve, Vieux-Montréal, and finally, Cégep de Rosemont. Later, I met my wife, Catherine. She has always encouraged me, saying, 'You need to do something. You need to try.' So, I decided to explore academic possibilities. I chose sociology which led me to discover my passion for teaching. Then, I pursued a bachelor's degree at the Université de Montréal. I took a break due to my wife's pregnancy, and then I resumed my studies. I also taught in special classes for about three years. I am a helpful person who enjoys making jokes while working. In short, I consider myself a great comedian. I believe that's what made the students and staff appreciate my approach and personality.
Afterwards, I pursued training in construction and worked as a sprinkler fitter for 4-5 months. However, I quickly realized that it wasn't the right fit for me, especially due to the hazards and intense physical demands involved. During the pandemic, I made the decision to return to studies and become a licensed practical nurse at the École des métiers des Faubourgs-de-Montréal. Studying during COVID was a special experience. Everything was condensed and online, making concentration difficult. I remember a course that dealt with interactions with children. I had an assessment where I had to demonstrate how to administer medication to a child, so I used my daughter's doll. My teacher evaluated my approach and caring attitude towards the child, imagining it as a real person. We also had practical exercises with mannequins. During the internships, we had the opportunity to work with real patients, which was a completely different experience. Our group, initially consisting of 30 students, went down to six by the end. Although people might think that a DEP (Diplôme d'études professionnelles) is easy, the reality is quite different. Compared to my university experience, a DEP as an auxiliary nurse required a much heavier workload in terms of knowledge to be memorized and constant questions asked by the teachers. I think in the future, I'd like to try teaching my profession to those who want to become nurses, but I'll let life surprise me.
One of the most important beings in my life is my dog. (Laughs!) No, that's not true! It's Catherine. Before meeting her, I was somewhat lost. When she came into my life, everything started to make more sense. She truly helped me go further. My parents were always there, but Catherine had a positive impact on my life, giving me a sense of security. To this day, we get along as well as we did in the beginning, and we continue to support each other.
When I give my all and see patients feeling heard, leaving my room with a smile, I think to myself, 'Oh my God, I did a good job.' I have no regrets or negative thoughts when I finish my day, having accomplished my work properly. I love making the people around me laugh and smile, including my children. Every day, I see them grow as I get older. It is often said that healthcare professions teach us a lot about being human. Sometimes, we can lose sight of that 'human' aspect, but it's something I'd like to preserve in the long term."
💙 Dr Philippe Doré
Translated from French
“I am Dr. Philippe Doré, but I didn't always know that I would be a doctor in my life.
From 1999 to 2002, I pursued a bachelor's degree in music. I played practically all keyboard instruments, but one could say that I am a pianist. I composed music and played the piano in a band while travelling the world.
It was at the age of 28 that my passion for science led me to resume my studies in biology. Two years later, I began my medical studies at the Université de Montréal. I completed them in 2017 with my residency in Verdun, at the age of 38. I became a doctor later than the average, but it was a career that had been a dream since high school.
Because I started playing music at the age of 9, I am often asked why I chose to become a doctor instead of continuing as a musician. After all, it would have been natural to pursue that path. However, after playing for so many years, I realized that even though music was a passion, it was not my calling. I always excelled in school and had multiple strengths and interests. I seriously considered pursuing medicine, but at the age of 28, I was not at all certain about fulfilling this dream. I consider myself privileged to have had the opportunity to become a family physician at this age. Family medicine is a very broad field that allows me today to practise psychiatry, sports medicine, musculoskeletal medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, and sexual health care.
When my patients express their satisfaction with our clinic, with friendly receptionists, efficient nurses, a nice waiting room, and easy appointment scheduling, I feel very proud to work at Mieux-Être. I also feel a great sense of pride when my patients are sincerely grateful, and I sense that I have been able to reassure them or alleviate their pain. Another personal and enjoyable satisfaction is being able to empty my email inbox and sign all my notes. It doesn't often happen that everything gets done, so it never ceases to be a small pleasure. I can easily see myself continuing this calling for the next 20 years.
My mother, who is nearly 75 years old, is one of the important people in my life and a constant source of inspiration. Despite her health problems, she does a tremendous amount of volunteering. Among other things, she works for an organization that supports end of life care, sings at church, and participates in many community activities. I have a great admiration for her, and she is the one who inspired me to help the community and practise family medicine—to go a little further than the medical aspect by developing deep helping relationships with my patients. My mother is a hero in the shadows.”
💙 Catherine Bouthillier
Translated from French
"Let me introduce myself, Catherine Bouthillier. I’ve been a social worker at Centre Médical Mieux-Être since 2022, but I began my career in 2013 at CLSC Ahuntsic-Montréal Nord in the Child-Family-Youth program. I particularly enjoy working in an FMG because I feel like I've found my place, and my opinions are considered as valuable as those of other professionals. I greatly appreciate working in interdisciplinarity with my colleagues, who often thank me for identifying certain aspects in their patients that they wouldn't have accessed without my intervention. Not all work environments are like this. I feel privileged to be able to evolve in such a respectful and dynamic space.
My mother has chronic illnesses, so I have always been there to support her. My decision to become a social worker was reinforced after meeting a social worker from the CLSC who offered me help and support without judgment. Her empathy and support allowed me to regain control of my life when I was welcomed into the Auberges du Coeur, a community organization helping troubled youth. I left home at 16, and it was that social worker who helped me find supervised accommodation. She played a significant role in my life, and I realized that I wanted to make a difference in someone's life too. Despite numerous obstacles in my personal life, I resumed my studies at the age of 21. My journey has been unconventional, but my passion for my work has allowed me to persevere and maintain my motivation. Social work is part of me.
Some people have fears about the healthcare system due to past negative experiences, but we strive to rebuild trust and create connections. Social work is a field that can take various forms and depends heavily on the personality of the individuals involved. There’s no unique way to be a social worker. Regardless of the age or the situation, whether it's someone having problems with their child, experiencing domestic violence, or having suicidal thoughts, social workers are there to help. Personally, I have this conviction that tells me, 'I can't leave them with nothing.' I actively engage, and it demands a lot of effort. I analyze their social functioning, so I look at the different aspects surrounding people's lives to understand them better. It's truly about support and provision, hoping to have a positive impact on each person I assist – whether it's through a simple sentence or an action taken.
Social work is a career that often exposes me to difficult and traumatic situations. That's why maintaining a balance between my professional and personal life is of great importance to me. My husband, who also works at CMME as an auxiliary nurse, and our two children are the pillars of my life. My spouse is very empathetic and truly understands the nature of my work. We've been together for about 13 years. We met while working at Jean-Coutu, and many years later, we’re working together again. I feel happy when I'm with my family, and I consider myself fortunate to have what I have. With my children, my childish side really comes out. I love laughing, making jokes, doing activities, and spending time with them, whether it's jumping on a trampoline, running races, swimming, or visiting the Biodome.
What fascinates me about individuals, and what will always continue to fascinate me, is that each person has their own story to tell. Nothing is ever identical. I sincerely believe that every individual deserves to be supported, listened to, and encouraged to take control of their life. The people I assist all have goals, and to me, the most beautiful gift is seeing them find themselves and regain control of their lives with dignity.
I feel immense pride when I intervene at the end of a meeting and see something light up in the person's eyes: hope. Nothing fulfills me more than seeing these individuals leave my office with gratitude and observing the positive progress they have made. It's precisely these kinds of moments that drive me to continue my profession with dedication."
💙 Precia Mbula Mbungu
“My name is Precia Mbula Mbungu, and I’ve been working for CMME for the past 3 years. I initially studied nursing at Vanier College, and life ‘happened.’ I became very interested in finance and numbers, and eventually let the nursing dream go.
I came to CMME in the middle of the pandemic where I began as an administrative assistant for COVID testing, and slowly but surely climbed up the ladder to work as an accounts assistant thanks to my finance background at the bank. Due to my hard work and attention to detail, I was given the opportunity to take care of the finance department, which I am now seeing grow into a beautiful team.
Numbers have always been something that captivated my attention. What I love about my job is the fact that it comes as a package: doing bookkeeping, handling payroll, paying service providers, dealing with our medical staff and team members - it’s a humbling experience that turns me into a stronger individual with a ton of experience in different areas.
The most important person in my life was my dad. He was the most supportive father ever. He encouraged me in every decision of my life as well as my amazing family, husband and kids, whom I can always count on to be there for me.
I find CMME to be more than just a workplace; it is also a safe environment that helps its team members grow and achieve their goals. Come join us as we become stronger!”
💙 Dre Aselin Weng
“I was born in Taiwan, lived in Singapore and Vancouver, then in 2010, I moved to Montréal. I had an undergrad and master’s in physiotherapy but I always wanted to be a family doctor, as I love the longitudinal relationships I build with my patients. I feel blessed to work in Montréal serving the communities that I care so much about, namely the deaf and hard-of-hearing population, as well as unilingual Mandarin speakers. I believe my life was a series of very fortunate events. I met the most caring and invested teachers who helped me become the person I am today by encouraging me and giving me skills. That includes my high school teachers, university professors, clinical MD supervisors, and my sign language teachers.
Other than working at CMME, I also work at a specialized CHSLD for deaf and deaf-blind residents. I have over 200 deaf and hard-of-hearing patients who use Langue des Signes Québécoise (LSQ) and American Sign Language (ASL), as well as many orally deaf lip-readers. I try my best to provide care that aligns with deaf culture, so I conduct my medical visits in ASL/LSQ and wear a special clear mask. I am familiar with the resources available in the deaf community, so I can be an efficient primary care provider who connects all the services. Both deaf and hearing interpreters are vital to my practice as they will help me communicate with foreign-born deaf immigrants who are not familiar with our sign languages (or those who have never been exposed to any sign language). With the help of a sign language interpreter, I also teach first-year medical students at McGill and show them how I serve the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. I am also a clinical preceptor in the McGill Medicine elective of social pediatrics to expose medical students and residents to the care of deaf children and teenagers.
I feel the most proud when I know I’ve made a significant difference in my patient's life/health. When I take the extra time to explain things to my patients in their preferred language, I see that they understand better and trust me more. This is what I love about my job wherein I can put my skills to good use - I love that I use five languages every day!”
Translated from French
“I am Roland. Since a young age, I have followed quite an impressive path in construction. I have operated in the field for at least 20 years. After becoming an expert in residential painting, I ventured into the trade of floor sanding. I worked as a bowling alley floor sander for several years throughout Quebec and Ontario. I also operated as a carpenter and toilet partition installer for several years in my family business. At 60 years old, you can say I have accumulated a lot of experience.
In 2019, I joined the CMME family, participating in the establishment of branches with Rémi. I took on this role to assist my daughter, who was already an employee in the business. As things progressed, I was offered a position in the company as a sanitation and maintenance attendant.
Working in a medical environment allowed me to deepen my knowledge on various medical subjects such as clinic operations, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy. Thus, my journey with Mieux-Être as an employee began during the pandemic, which was an entirely new adventure for me. I diligently disinfected rooms and installed protective barriers. I have a strong passion for maintenance because it reminds me of my years in construction. I love undertaking new projects, repairing things, and above all, learning. For instance, I had the opportunity to assemble several new pieces of furniture, which was a part of the job that I enjoyed greatly. There aren’t many trades that I haven't done, which is why I'm known as the handyman.
The most important thing to me is my family. I have been with my wife, Denise, for 35 years. Our two children, Christina and Yanick, are our pride.
I am proud to be part of the wonderful journey of Mieux-Être since its inception! We are fortunate to have witnessed this dream take shape and come true.”
💙 Kevin Richer
Translated from French
"I was just a child when my mother suffered a brain aneurysm, completely changing her life. Overnight, she went from having three jobs to feeling invalid. When I was young, I wanted to become a firefighter. However, growing up and witnessing my mother's illness, I developed a deep desire to take care of her and help her in any way I could. During that time, I witnessed her struggle and resilience, and she became a role model of perseverance in my eyes.
At the age of 25, I decided to return to school to complete my high school education and pursue nursing. I enrolled in a vocational studies’ program (DEP, or diploma of professional studies) to become an auxiliary nurse, and afterwards, I worked in agencies and CHSLDS until the day I had the opportunity to join an FMG. Through my colleagues, patients, and personal experience, I quickly realized that this was where I belonged. I have been practising as a nurse for eight years, with the past four years dedicated to the Centre Médical Mieux-Être, which I had the privilege to help build from one centre to another with an extraordinary team. I am so proud of what we have accomplished together. Even to this day, I consider myself fortunate to say that I work not only with colleagues but also with friends.
I know that I make a positive impact on my patients' lives when one of them mentions feeling heard or describes me as sympathetic. Making a difference in the lives of others is my passion, and it motivates me every day."