Lifetime Achievement Award winner 2023: Martin Green
A young Martin Green might be surprised to find out he would carve out a long and distinguished career in health-care security.
The security part was a natural fit for Green but the sights and smells of hospital hallways took some getting used to. “I was squeamish,” says Green. “The thought of me working in a hospital was terrifying.”
As a student in the 1970s, he enrolled in a law enforcement college program with ambitions to join the police. Upon graduation, he shifted over to security when he took a job at Eaton’s department store at the Toronto Eaton Centre.
Green found his footing there in loss prevention, but after six years confronting shoplifters, he was ready for a change.
An enigmatic newspaper ad for a senior security professional was his ticket out. He only learned at the interview that the job involved managing security guards at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto.
Green took the job, uncertain that it would last long, but his aversion to hospitals was short-lived. “I acclimatized to it really quickly,” he says. “That job led to a number of different jobs in health-care security and for most of the last 38 years, I’ve worked directly or indirectly for a hospital.”
Since taking the St. Joseph’s role in 1985, Green has become a familiar face on the Toronto health-care scene, working at a variety of facilities, including CAMH (then known as the Queen St. Mental Health Centre), Women’s College Hospital, Rouge Valley Health System and most recently Baycrest Health Sciences Centre.
As Green’s career matured, so did his interest and involvement in the security community. He helped to develop the colour code emergency system that is still in use today across Ontario hospitals and more broadly across the country.
A longtime member of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS), Green became more engaged in the early 2000s after a positive networking experience. The sitting IAHSS president reached out to him for advice on how to cope with a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) case, since Toronto had experienced its own SARS outbreak in 2003.
IAHSS had a Canadian presence at the time, says Green, but it was more functionally active in Western Canada. Green helped to form an Ontario chapter through a group of health-care security professionals that was already meeting on an informal basis. It began with six members and now has more than 120. “My involvement with IAHSS lit a fire for me, and I saw the value of the association,” he says.
He joined the IAHSS board as a member at large in 2012, and was asked to serve on several committees. Green was elected president of IAHSS in 2017 (one of a handful of Canadians to serve in that role) and was conferred a lifetime membership in 2019.
Green, who has also held memberships in the Canadian Society for Industrial Security and ASIS International, preaches the value of belonging to an association. Peer networking is incredibly valuable, he says, and an almost unlimited source of information and advice. “It’s also given me some tremendous friendships over the years,” he adds.
Hospital security departments transcend their proscribed roles, says Green, often due to the fact that they tend to be uniformed and stand out against other staff who mostly wear scrubs. If a visitor or a patient has a question or a concern, a security guard is an easily identifiable guide or authority figure.
“A hospital is a small city — security fills many functions to support that city,” says Green. “Even if nothing is going on, as a security manager or a security guard in a hospital, you’re giving that presence that everything is OK in the city today.”
Green retired from health-care security in 2023 and was ready to settle into an easier pace of life when another opportunity came knocking. He recently accepted a role as security manager at Toronto-based property management firm Greenwin Corp. Green says he still keeps close tabs on the health-care security scene through his professional network and friendships — which is something he can’t imagine changing, semi-retired or otherwise.
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