Many excellent Family Physicians have chosen to establish their practice in Chatham-Kent due to the range of acuity, peer support and fulfilling work/life balance. Read their stories.
Dr. Lindsay Sutherland – Thamesview Family Health Team
Chatham is small enough that Family Physicians play an integral part with regards to Primary Care, but also in the ED, inpatient hospital care, the Hospice, and for me, Low-Risk Obstetrics. It is important for me to do all of the varied aspects of medicine that I love and working in Chatham-Kent allows me to do that!
I was lucky to be able to join the Thamesview Family Health Team. It was pretty much a ‘plug and play’. We work closely with our allied health professionals and staff to deliver continuity of care as we all have access to the same medical record – which is safer for patients. We focus a lot on prevention and wellness, as well as managing chronic illness.
I choose to be a Schulich School of Medicine Preceptor because it’s an absolute joy to help future colleagues on their journey. I also hope to excite some physicians to come to Chatham, which is really an open book of opportunity.
I do Obstetrics, which means I’m on call 24/7. But I’m also a runner, which means I can be 10 km from my car, on foot, when I get a call. It’s exciting to rush in for a delivery. But I have a great colleague who also delivers and we cover for each other, so we can each unplug for weekends on occasion. A healthy doctor provides better care!
Dr. Sheri Roszell – Thamesview Family Health Team
I never thought that I would end up practicing back home here in Chatham-Kent. However after a med school elective here in Emergency Medicine and other experiences, I realized that in C-K I could have the comprehensive family practice I was looking for: office-based Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Intrapartum Obstetrics, MRP for hospital inpatients, minor procedures, palliative care.
I came for a six-month locum and kept booking myself for another six months, until my office staff stopped asking permission to continue to book. And here I am 20 years later.
I wanted to split my practice 50/50 between Family Medicine & Emergency Medicine and in Chatham I can do that. The volume and acuity in the Emergency Department keep my acute and critical care skills current. In my office, I provide acute care and chronic disease management, and work on the patient relationships that are vital to Family Medicine.
Housing is affordable in C-K and my commute is 10 minutes, maybe 15 minutes if the traffic lights aren’t in my favour. Our medical community is large enough that we have a number of specialists, but small enough that family medicine is still heavily involved in the hospital.
The choice we have in school systems in Chatham for my son—English and French Immersion public, English and French Immersion Catholic, French Catholic, and even a couple of private schools—was fantastic, without lotteries or waiting lists, or long commutes. There are lots of extra-curricular activities for him to do, including recreational and competitive programmes in many sports, dance, karate, Scouts/Guides and 4H, and music lessons.
Dr. Jean-Marc Beausoleil – Tilbury District Family Health Team
I grew up in the Tilbury area, so when an opportunity presented itself after graduation to work in my preferred model, a Family Health Team, it was a no-brainer. Besides having ties to the area, I also realized that I would have a lot more opportunities serving in an under-serviced area. A great advantage of working within a Family Health Team for my patients and me are the exceptional allied health resources available, including social workers, diabetic educators, respiratory therapists and others. The compensation model fits with my preferred way of practicing and at my Family Health Team there is an Executive Director and admin team that allow me to focus on clinical care.
In Chatham-Kent, I appreciate having access to most diagnostic testing, a broad range of specialists and excellent community organizations. The community is small enough that it is easy to navigate all of the support care services. You can easily pick up the phone and call a colleague that you know and trust.
I live outside of Chatham-Kent for family reasons, but good highway access makes commuting very easy. There are excellent schools here. I am an Ecole-secondaire-de-Pain-Court alumnus (French Catholic Board) and seem to have done okay. And don’t forget there are lots of empty country roads to teach 16-year olds how to drive.
Dr. Dennis Atoe – Chatham-Kent Family Health Team, Wallaceburg
Chatham-Kent is a wonderful place to start a practice and raise a family because patients here are incredibly appreciative of your work and the whole community watches out for you. Originally from Nigeria, I went to medical school in Grenada and worked in Canada’s NorthWest Territories before settling here. It really is the people here that make all the difference. And by “people”, I mean medical colleagues, nursing colleagues, staff, as well as patients.
I like to keep busy and do a range of things, so this is the perfect place for me. Along with my family practice, which allows me to practice a broad range of family medicine with special interest in Diabetes, I support in-patients, functioning as a Hospitalist. I also do shifts in the Emergency Department, provide treatments in Ambulatory Care and care for seniors in nursing homes to help keep them out of hospital. And since I enjoy teaching, I am an adjunct professor with the Schulich School of Medicine.
You can be as busy as you like with your medical career here in Chatham-Kent. I love having many opportunities to pursue my interests, both within the medical field and in my family time at home.
Dr. Andrew Lanz-O’Brien – Chatham-Kent Family Health Team, Blenheim
I chose to establish my medical practice in Chatham-Kent because I have deep roots here. I’m close enough to major centres that I don’t feel alone, but also far enough that I still get to manage complex cases by myself. As a Family Physician in a Family Health Team I don’t have to spend time worrying about how to staff my clinic or what equipment to buy…someone takes care of that for me. Also, there are many services for my patients to access within our Family Health Team and good coverage for my patients after-hours and when I am on vacation.
I feel lucky to have had the chance to complete my residency through the Resident Training Program because it provides excellent experience and exposure with just the right level of support.
I have great opportunities to do inpatient work as a hospitalist or admitting family physician, emergency department shifts, provide surgical assistance, or work in a specialty clinic, such as the chemotherapy satellite site at our local hospital.
Chatham-Kent communities are incredibly welcoming and grateful to have new physicians joining them. They are very safe environments with minimal crime. There is plenty of beach access. You’re roughly an hour to either Windsor or London.
Work/life balance is ideal. I have plenty of control over my schedule and am able to ensure that I am working the right amount for me.
Dr. David Huffman – Thamesview Family Health Team
I always wanted to practice comprehensive Family Medicine and certainly found that chance in this welcoming community. I am a Family Physician in a Family Health Team which allows me to access the skills of my physician and allied health colleagues in order to provide maximum patient care.
I also work in the Emergency Department, which is challenging because the acuity is high, the volume is high, and there is great diversity. In the same shift, you can be on the stroke team, trauma team, code Stemi team and still see other patients in between. We have a spectacularly collegial group of physicians that make working side-by-side a joy.
As the Director of Education, involved in the Resident Training Program, I feel privileged to learn from the students, who are so knowledgeable and intelligent that I must grow with them in order to teach.
Chatham is a safe and comfortable community for families. There are good schools and diverse extracurricular activities. I can be comfortable at home and yet easily pop over to London, Windsor, Detroit or Toronto for some adventure. I can be on the water sailing within 25 minutes of leaving my house or bike in a provincial park, and still sleep in my own bed that night.