Wedderburn lands new role at MWI

  • Leadership role: Tawanna Wedderburn (File photograph by Blaire Simmons).

    Leadership role: Tawanna Wedderburn (File photograph by Blaire Simmons).

A chief executive “mercilessly fired” from a key role at the Bermuda Health Council has been appointed to a top job at the island’s psychiatric hospital.

Tawanna Wedderburn will become clinical director of mental health services at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute on Monday as the replacement for Glenn Caisey, who has retired after 20 years.

The announcement came almost a year after she was forced out of her job as CEO of the BHeC in December last year.

Ms Wedderburn claimed the termination was politically motivated and launched a legal battle against the health council, its former chairwoman Alicia Stovell-Washington, Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, and David Burt, the Premier.

Her request for a judicial review was denied in October, when the judge ruled the decision to sack her was not a matter of public law. Her lawyer, Eugene Johnston, said at that time her legal proceedings over the matter were “just beginning”.

Her husband, Livingston, wrote in a letter to The Royal Gazette in January: “Tawanna was mercilessly fired as the CEO of the Bermuda Health Council on December 7, 2018, leading to the Christmas holidays.”

Ms Wedderburn, who has worked at MWI in the past, will be responsible for the quality and direction of community and inpatient mental health services.

She said yesterday: “I’m excited to be returning to MWI in this leadership role as we work to update the strategy for mental health services in Bermuda.

“I already know there is a wonderful team of professionals and support staff in place providing high-quality services, and I look forward to working with them and our external partners to further develop mental health services.”

Ms Wedderburn will report to Preston Swan, the vice-president of clinical operations at MWI. Mr Swan said: “I am very pleased to welcome Ms Wedderburn back to MWI in this critical role. I would like to thank Mr Caisey for his leadership and dedicated service over many years.

“We expect a smooth transition of leadership with Ms Wedderburn’s experience and understanding of MWI and mental health in Bermuda and are looking forward to exciting times in the mental health arena.”

Mr Swan said MWI staff were in the early stages of service development with partners such as Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and the East London NHS Trust in the UK.

He added: “Ms Wedderburn is well placed to lead the team in this process as we seek to improve outcomes for people in Bermuda suffering from mental illness.”

Bermuda Hospitals Board declined to comment on Ms Wedderburn’s legal battle over her termination. Ms Wedderburn said: “The Supreme Court judicial review matter is ongoing. My pending employment by the Bermuda Hospitals Board is entirely separate from the judicial review matter.

I have no additional comments with respect to my appointment.”

Ms Wedderburn worked for the BHeC as programme manager and director of health regulation between 2007 and 2018 and became CEO in 2015.

She worked at MWI in child and adolescent services between 2002 and 2008, in roles including family therapist, and as an adoption worker and family consultant for the Department of Child and Family Services between 2002 and 2010. She was also a crisis intervention worker in Toronto.

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