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Humanitarian Dr. Susan Crouse named 2023 Acadia Alumni Distinguished Alumni Award recipient

               Dr. Susan Crouse ('85)

By Fred Sgambati (’83, ’85)

Dr. Susan Crouse (’85) is an innovative thinker who throughout an enviable career as a physician has offered help and hope to the marginalized, treating people holistically and acknowledging that simple health problems are magnified when basic needs for food, shelter and medications are not met.

Now retired, Dr. Crouse earned a BSc in biology from Acadia and an MD from Dalhousie before starting her career as a rural family physician in Sackville, NB. There were no emergency physicians there at the time, so family doctors shared the responsibility and Dr. Crouse often travelled in the ambulance with patients to Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John.

In Sackville, she became aware of the many and varied needs of the vulnerable in society and began to work a few hours a week during her off hours at Harvest House Atlantic Shelter, seeking to address the needs of the homeless, the mentally ill, the addicted, and the transgendered community. In 2007, she left her Sackville practice to further develop the medical services at the shelter while working in a private practice affiliated with the Moncton City Hospital.

Her humanity and compassion led her to found Salvus Clinic, a charitable non-profit organization that was initially situated in Harvest House, but is now located in the Peace Centre in downtown Moncton. Salvus in Latin means ‘safe and well’, and by 2017 the clinic had 12 staff and more than 2,400 clients. The clinic helps individuals with complex needs living on the streets of Moncton access healthcare, housing and support.

Dr. Crouse was also instrumental in opening a separate service for persons in the sex trade. A discrete drop-in centre, The Sanctuary, is housed adjacent to the Salvus Clinic and provides a safe place for people to find counselling, rest, a hot meal, and access to harm reduction supplies.

Additionally, Dr. Crouse represented the Atlantic Region on the Mental Health Committee of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and was also Clinical Director for the At Home/Chez Soi research demonstration project implemented by the Mental Health Commission of Canada that studied approaches to ending homelessness among people with mental illness in Canada. She and her husband have also volunteered  with RotoCleft Peru, administering care and treatment to children with cleft palates and lips.

A woman of faith, Dr. Crouse noted in a 2010 Bulletin article that some of her fondest memories at Acadia involved her participation in the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. She found that the leadership opportunities the club offered prepared her for the speaking engagements that were such a large part of her professional life. Subsequently, she has been a member and chair of the First Moncton United Baptist Church’s board multiple times, providing exemplary leadership as the church sought to reach out to the community in relevant ways.

“The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the outstanding achievements of an Acadia alum whose endeavours have distinguished them professionally or in the community and brought honour to the University,” said Alumni Association President Matt Rios (’14). “There is no doubt that Dr. Susan Crouse has had an immeasurable positive and lasting impact on her profession and the communities she has served throughout her career. She represents the highest standard of service leadership and exemplifies the generosity of spirit that sets Acadia alum apart. It’s an honour to acknowledge her remarkable accomplishments and a pleasure to introduce her as this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.”

It has been said that Dr. Crouse has a servant’s heart, dedicating her life’s work to providing succor for those in society who need it the most. She received the YWCA Moncton Women of Distinction Award in 2008, the Order of Moncton in 2016, the Dr. Donald Morgan Service Award in 2017, and the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal in 2022, in addition to the Acadia Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2023.

She is married to Dr. John Crompton and has three adult children. Her son, Samuel Crompton (’16), is an Acadia alum, and there have been four generations of Acadia graduates in her family.

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