Studies and Surveys

Biographical Sketch:  Honourable Dr. Augustus T. Rowe

Augustus Taylor Rowe (1920- ), physician, professor of family practice and former provincial Minister of Health, was born in Heart’s Content, Newfoundland, on 2 August 1920, the son of Joseph Allen Rowe and Eugenie Fogwell Rowe (nee Taylor). Dr. Rowe married Beatrice Alice Rowe (nee Adams) and they have two children, David and Sarah Jane.

Dr. Rowe completed grade XI at Heart’s Content High School, Heart’s Content, and then one year of pre-medical studies at Memorial College, St. John’s. His studies were interrupted when Dr. Rowe enlisted in the army at the outbreak of World War II. He reached the rank of Warrant Officer. Following his military service, Dr. Rowe enrolled in the University of London’s medical school, St. Mary’s Hospital, London, England. He graduated with an M.D. and qualified as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (1953). In the same year he returned to Newfoundland to served his internship at the St. John’s General Hospital, St. John’s, Newfoundland. He later continued his education with post-graduate studies in obstetrics and gynecology, completing one year in England and another year in Toronto.

Dr. Rowe began his medical career in 1954 as a general practitioner in Carbonear, Newfoundland. He was a founding member of the Carbonear Community Hospital, which opened in 1957 and was the Medical Director from 1957 until 28 October 1971. He resigned to become a Progressive Conservative member of the House of Assembly for Carbonear when the Progressive Conservative party defeated the Liberal government of former Premier Joseph R. Smallwood. Dr. Rowe was appointed Minister of Health in January 1972 and again after re-election in March 1972. He held the position until 1975 when he resigned at age 55 from Premier Frank Moores’ Progressive Conservative cabinet.

Dr. Rowe had been practicing family medicine for 20 years in Carbonear when Memorial University officials invited him to do postgraduate work in geriatrics.  He entered Memorial University in 1975 and was eventually named professor and chairman of Family Practice, which he headed from 1978 to 1985. He spent his time at Memorial University lecturing, supervising the Family Practice residents, and researching the needs of the elderly in Newfoundland. On retirement in 1985, Dr. Rowe and his wife, Beatrice, moved to Toronto and for the next four years he worked as a surveyor for the Accreditation Council, visiting and surveying hospitals and nursing homes in various provinces throughout Canada. 

Over the years, Dr. Rowe has held a variety of academic and professional positions. He has served as the President of the Newfoundland Medical Association (NMA), now called Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, and was the NMA provincial representative to the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). He was elected to senior membership of the CMA, an award given to physicians that have been members of the CMA for ten years and are at least 65 years of age. Not only do nominees need to be unanimously voted in by the CMA board of directors, but they must also have distinguished themselves in their medical careers by making significant contributions to their community and profession. In addition, Dr. Rowe was a Regional Director of the Newfoundland Tuberculosis Association, and president of the Carbonear branches of the Kiwanis Club and the Canadian Red Cross. He is an honorary member of the national organization of the Red Cross and has received his 30 blood-donations pin. From 1980 to 1981 he was a member of the Royal Commission of Forest Protection and Management. 

Dr. Rowe’s studies were paralleled by academic publications throughout his career including: Assessment of needs of the elderly in the province of Newfoundland: summation of research project of Department of Family Practice, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University, Newfoundland, 1977. After Dr. Rowe retired, the Faculty of Medicine established the annual Gus Rowe Teaching Award. It is given for excellence in the teaching of the examination, assessment and treatment of the whole patient. 

Dr. Rowe and his wife, Beatrice, live in Don Mills, Toronto.