A leader in rural medicine

A leader in rural medicine

Queen’s lecturer named one of Canada’s most exceptional family physicians by College of Family Physicians of Canada.

By Chris Moffatt Armes

November 10, 2016


In recognition of her role as a mentor to rural physicians and commitment to education, Queen’s physician Merrilee Brown (Family Medicine) has been named one of 10 recipients of the Reg L. Perkin Award from the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC).

The annual award recognizes one family physician from each of the college’s provincial chapters who best exemplifies, “the guiding principles of family medicine.”

Dr. Merrilee Brown has been named one of 10 recipients of the Reg L. Perkin Award by the College of Family Physicians of Canada. (Supplied Photo).

“Dr. Perkin is a phenomenal resource for family physicians in Canada and, as the first director of the CFPC, set a shining example of what it means to be a family doctor,” Dr. Brown says. “It’s a tremendous honour to be recognized by my peers and to be a recipient of this award in his name.”

Since receiving her Certification in Family Medicine from the college in 1997, Dr. Brown has been devoted to supporting rural medicine through education and practice. Like many rural physicians, her scope of practice tends to exceed that of an urban family practitioner – requiring her to take on roles such as emergency rotations, hospital inpatient care, even making house calls. Dr. Brown explains that being involved in a greater scope of activities allows her a much more thorough insight as to what her patients’ need.

“In this era of super specialization, I think there is still an important role to be played by a generalist who knows the patient well,” she explains. “The advantage I have now with my patients is I’ve known many of them for two decades. I’ve delivered their babies and taken care of their grandparents. It’s a context that’s very different. Good comprehensive care by a family physician who knows you well is probably about the most efficient and effective care you can get.”

Dr. Brown says her style of practice has helped shape her approach to teaching. As a lecturer at both Queen’s and the University of Toronto, she has been at the forefront of introducing medical students, residents and other allied health care practitioners into the community for their training. The value in this, she explains, is the broader skillset the students will develop, as well as providing them with a wider context in which to consider their treatments.

“Certainly, being able to provide training by family doctors for things such as hospital inpatient care, emergency, and palliative care – rather than specialists from other fields – means that our students and residents can see how they can incorporate these lessons into their own practices,” she says.

The Reg L. Perkin Award is presented annually to 10 family doctors across Canada by the CFPC in recognition of those who provide exceptional care to patients and contribute to the health and well-being of the community. The recipients will be honoured at an award ceremony on Nov. 11, as part of the 2016 Family Doctor Week in Canada celebrations.

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Health Sciences