June 24, 2020 (Gimli, Manitoba) – Aurora Recovery Centre, a private, 70-bed inpatient addictions treatment facility near Winnipeg is turning the spotlight on its Chief Operating Officer.
Steve Low has been promoted to President, effective immediately.
Aurora founder and chairman Paul Melnuk made the announcement today.
Low, an addictions clinician, treatment program developer and referral manager with over 30 years’ experience in the treatment industry, became COO at Aurora in January. Just two months later, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, dramatically altering the way treatment is given across Canada. As staff and the leadership team adapted at Aurora, Low has been overseeing and implementing clinical and business model changes that have positioned the facility in a positive trajectory as the province and country begin to re-open from the pandemic.
Melnuk believes Low is the right man at the right time.
“My intention in becoming the owner of Aurora was never to be day-to-day. It is not my strength,” said Melnuk. “Though I have a strong foundation in my own recovery, I understand enough about the medical, clinical side of addiction to realize how little I know. I am not a doctor or psychologist. Lives are at stake. That is why hiring experienced, knowledgeable people is paramount to the success of our facility.”
“In bringing on Steve Low, watching him settle in, seeing his plans and ideas for Aurora be put into action, even in the middle of this unforeseen pandemic, convinced me that now is the time to say, formally, he is our guy.”
Low, 53, says he is humbled and honoured to be given the opportunity.
“From my first look at Aurora, I was excited in a way I had never been before. The facility, the staff, the potential. It’s a gem. And the people of Manitoba…I’ve never felt so welcomed by so many, ever in my life. What a special place to live, to work. Getting the chance to become part of the Aurora team was beyond humbling. Getting to be the leader? Amazing.”
Low’s resume is extensive. Born in Quebec, raised in the Philippines and on Vancouver Island, he has counselled those suffering from substance use and process disorders in private practice and in large inpatient facilities in Western Canada for decades. Besides his extensive clinical experience, he has deep roots in Employee and Family Assistance Programs. Low has also developed relationships with the Canadian Armed Forces, police departments, major airlines, Alberta’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and many other prominent professional communities.
Low worked closely with the original program developers at two of the country’s top inpatient facilities: Edgewood Treatment Centre in Nanaimo, B.C. and Cedars in Cobble Hill, B.C. As Aurora heads into its fifth year of existence, they now have as President a man with deep connections in the national and global family of addiction medicine.
As one who has supervised and directed clinical teams in multiple facilities, Low and his wife, Donna, a renowned clinician in developing family recovery programs, and their teenaged daughter are looking forward to continuing to spread the healing message of Aurora across the country.
Low’s philosophy of treatment can be summed up in one succinct message: he believes it to be futile to try and treat substance use disorders, or chronic conditions, in an acute care model. He is a strong believer in a minimum 24-month continuum of care model to build capital and improve the likelihood of someone achieving and maintaining recovery.
“Recovery is a continuum. It is not just ‘come here for 40 days and you’re all better,’” he says. “That type of operation is just not effective. There are so many aspects to recovery. We have to treat the whole system of each person. The family. The workplace. The on-going recovery – so continuing care. That can be anything from extended care on-site to sober living options. It can include stabilization programs or recovery enhancement courses, Intensive Outpatient Programs, aftercare meetings – whatever is necessary to build up a person’s recovery capital.”
The other key component of his philosophy relates to referrals and referral agencies who recommend and send patients to Aurora.
“I have always worked with the philosophy of referral partners being an integral part of the treatment team,” he said. “Connecting with them each week, updating them every step of the way, sometimes bringing them into case conferencing, working with them from early in the treatment process in designing the member’s return-to-work plan. Collaborative partnerships have always, in my work, produced the best results.”