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James Rourke

Family Medicine

Director Centre for Rural Health Studies
Former Dean of Medicine (2004-2016)

Curriculum Vitae

Room: M5M109A

t: 709-864-6341 (office)
709-864-6549 (alternate)

Brief Biography of Dr. James Rourke MD, CCFP(EM), MClinSc, FCFP, FRRMS, FCAHS, LLD

Dr. James Rourke, Professor of Family Medicine (2004-present) served as Dean of Medicine (2004-2016) at Memorial University of Newfoundland.  

Since moving to Newfoundland and Labrador, Dr. Rourke has traveled extensively throughout the province and in New Brunswick to visit the medial school’s teaching sites. This has included visits to do medical clinics in rural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador.

He is Chair of the AMEE Aspire to Excellence Panel on Social Accountability of Medical Schools (2011-present), a board member for Team Broken Earth (2014-present), and a member of the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) (2016-present).

Dr. Rourke was the Chair of the Canadian Medical Forum (CMF) (2011-2016). He was Chair of Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) 2009-2011 and a leader in the management and implementation of the Future of Medical Education in Canada (FMEC) MD Education and PG Education projects.

Dr. Rourke has a long-standing interest in rural medicine and medical education and is a recognized leader at provincial, national and international levels. He was Chair (2004-2007) of the WONCA (World Organization of Family Doctors) Working Party in Rural Practice that has organized 13 world rural health conferences and was involved in developing a joint WONCA/WHO project “Health for All Rural People” and co-editor of the Rural Medical Education Guidebook. As Project Director, Medical Education Design Team (2000-2001), for the Northern Ontario (Rural) Medical School Project proposal, Dr. Rourke was very involved in the initial development work that led to approval to build the Northern Ontario Medical School.

Dr. Rourke grew up on a farm and attended a one room rural public school. He graduated with his MD from University of Western Ontario in 1976, where he completed his Family Medicine training in 1978 and his Masters of Clinical Science (Family Medicine) in 1993. He is certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada in Family Medicine (1978) and emergency medicine (1985) and was awarded Fellowship in 1990, Fellowship of Rural and Remote Medicine of the SRPC (FRRMS) was awarded in 2009.

Dr. Rourke was an active rural family physician (including obstetrics and emergency work) in Goderich, Ontario for 25 years with his wife and partner Dr. Leslie Rourke. Their practice was one of the primary UWO Rural Family Medicine teaching sites. He was the founding director of the Southwestern Ontario Rural Regional Medical Education, Research, and Development Unit. Founded in 1997 this became a strong, integrated undergraduate and postgraduate rural and regional medical education network.

Dr. Rourke served as the assistant dean of Rural Regional Medicine at the University of Western Ontario (2002-2004) where he was a professor in the Department of Family Medicine.

Dr. Rourke has received many honours and awards, including Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, Fellowship (2010) [The Academy’s Fellows elects on the basis of professional achievement and commitment to service, time and expertise to provide assessments and advice on difficult public policy challenges of concern to all Canadians in the area of health and health care];  The University of Western Ontario, Honorary Degree (2009) Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD) [This award is Western’s highest honour.]; Society of Rural Physicians of Canada, Rural Leadership Award (2009) [This award recognizes persons or organizations which have made a significant contribution to rural medicine in Canada]; the College of Family Physicians of Canada, W. Victor Johnston (2007) "to honour renowned Canadian or international family physicians who have made an outstanding leadership contribution to the discipline of family medicine in Canada or abroad", the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario Council Award College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario Council Award (2004) “to honour outstanding Ontario physicians who have demonstrated excellence and come closest to meeting society's vision of an "ideal physician”’; the D.I. Rice Merit Award from the College of Family Physicians of Canada; the UWO Award of Excellence in Teaching by Part-time Faculty; the UWO Martin J. Bass Recognition Award for Exceptional Contribution to Family Medicine; and the Community Teacher of the Year from the Ontario College of Family Physicians. He has had over 100 medical journal articles and text book chapters published.

Publications Since Coming to Memorial
  • Furey A., Rourke J., Green B. "Chapter 50: Legacy: What are you leaving behind?" In J.D. Robinson (ed.), Orthopaedic Trauma in the Austere Environment: A Practical Guide to Care in the Humanitarian Setting. Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016: 669-676
  • Boelen C, Pearson D, Kaufman A, Rourke J, Woollard B, Marsh D, Gibbs T. "Producing a socially accountable medical school" AMEE Guide No. 109, Medical Teacher 2016. Available:
  • Strasser, R., Couper, I., Wynn-Jones, J., Rourke, J., Chater, A.B., Reid, S.  Education for rural practice in rural practice.  Education for Primary Care 2016;27(1):10-14.
  • Rourke, J., Rourke, L.  (letter to the editor) “Hiring patients may compromise physician-patient relationship MD (Dialogue Volume 11, Issue 3, 2015)”.  Dialogue 2015;4(11):9.
  • Furey, A., Rourke, J., Larsen, H.  Building the Capacity to Manage Orthopaedic Trauma After a Catastrophe in a Low-Income Country.  Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma October 2015;29(10):14-16.
    Busing, N., Harris, K., MacLellan, A., Moineau, G., I. Oandasan, J. Rourke, A. Saxena.  The Future of Postgraduate Medical Education in Canada.  Academic Medicine 2015;90(9):1258-1263.
  • Reid S., Worley P., Strasser R., Couper I., Rourke J.  Chapter 1.1.1. ‘What brings us together’:  The values and principles of rural medical education.  WONCA Rural Medical Education Guidebook.  World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA):  WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice, 2014. (  accessed May 22, 2014). 
  • Rourke L., Rourke J.  Chapter 2.3.1:  Boundaries and balance: Managing relationships in rural practice. In Chater AB, Rourke J, Couper ID, Strasser RP, Reid S (eds.) WONCA Rural Medical Education Guidebook. World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA): WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice, 2014. (  accessed May 22, 2014). 
  • Couper I, Strasser R, Rourke J, Wynn-Jones J.  Rural health activism over two decades:  the Wonca Working Party on Rural Practice 1992-2012. Rural and Remote Health 15: 3245. (Online) 2015. Available:
  • Rourke, J., Rourke, L.  “Chapter 14:  Rural and remote locations” in “A Practical Guide for Medical Teachers fourth edition” (Editors:  John Dent and Ronald Harden)  Elsevier Ltd. 2013: pp. 112-120.
  • Rourke, L., Leduc, D., Constantin, E., Carsley, S., Rourke, J., Li, P.  “Getting it right from birth to kindergarten What’s new in the Rourke Baby Record?”, Canadian Family Physician 2013; 59(4):355-359.
  • Rourke, J.  “AM Last Page:  Social Accountability of Medical Schools”, Academic Medicine 2013; 88(3) Last page.
  • Rourke, L., Rourke, J.  “Chapter 23:  Relationships and Boundaries” in “Community-based Medical Education a teacher’s handbook” (Editor:  Kelly, L.) Radcliffe Publishing 2012: pp. 197-208.
  • Rourke, J.  “Key challenges in rural medical education”, International Journal of Child Health and Human Development 2011; 4(1):9-14.
  • Rourke, J.  “INTRODUCTION:  Key challenges in rural medical education: in “Rural Medical Education:  Practical Strategies: (Series Editor:  Joav Merrick) Nova Science Publishers, Inc. 2011: pp.xiii-xx.
  • Rourke, L., Leduc, D., Constantin, E., Carsley, S., Rourke, J.  “Update on well-baby and well-child care from 0 to 5 years: What’s new in the Rourke Baby Record?”, Can Fam Physician 2010;56 1285-1290.  Available from:
  • Rourke, J.  “WHO Recommendations to improve retention of rural and remote health workers – important for all countries”, Rural and Remote Health 2010;10:1654.  Available from:
  • Rourke, J.  “How can medical schools contribute to the education, recruitment and retention of rural physicians in their region?”, Bull World Health Organ 2010;88:395-396.
  • Rourke, J., Rourke, L., R.  “Chapter 16:  Rural and remote locations” in “A Practical Guide for Medical Teachers 3E” (Editors: Dent, J., Harden, R.)  Elsevier 2009: 121-129.
  • Stretch, N., Steele, M., Davidson, B., Andreychuk, R., Sylvester, H., Rourke, J., Dickie, G.  “Teaching children’s mental health to family physicians in rural and underserviced areas.  CJRM 2009;14(3):96-100.  Available from:
  • Rourke, L., Godwin, M., Rourke, J., Pearce S., Bean, J.  “The Rourke Baby Record Infant/Child Maintenance Guide: do doctors use it, do they find it useful, and does using it improve their well-baby visit records?  BMC Family Practice 2009, 10:28 doi:10.1186/1471-2296-10-28.  Available from:
  • Mathews, M., Edwards, A.C., Rourke, J.T.B.  “Retention of provisionally licensed international medical graduates: a historical cohort study of general and family physicians in Newfoundland and Labrador”, Open Medicine 2008; 2(2):E37-44.
  • Rourke, J.  “The ideal family physician”, Canadian Family Physician 2008; 54:18-19.
  • Mathews, M., Rourke, J., Park, A.  “The contribution of Memorial University’s medical school to rural physician supply”, Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine 2008; 13(1):15-21.
  • Rourke, J.  “Increasing the number of rural physicians”, Canadian Medical Association Journal 2008; 178(3):322-325.
  • Mathews, M., Park, A., Rourke, J.  “Retention of International Medical Graduates Following Postgraduate Medical Training in Newfoundland and Labrador”, Healthcare Policy 2007; 3(2):50-57.
  • Heng, D., Pong, R.W., Chan, B.T.B., Degani, N., Crichton, T., Goertzen, J., McCready, W., Rourke, J.  “Graduates of northern Ontario family medicine residency programs practice where they train 2007”, Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine 2007; 12(3):146-152.
  • Pong, R.W., Chan, B.T.B., Crichton, T., Goertzen, J., McCready, W., Rourke, J.  “Big cities and bright lights: rural- and northern-trained physicians in urban practice 2007”, Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine 2007; 12(3):153-160.
  • Rourke, L., Leduc, D., Rourke, J., Constantin, E.  “Health supervision from 0 to 5 years using the Rourke Baby Record 2006”, Canadian Family Physician 2006;52: 1273-4.  Jointly published in Paediatric Child Health 2006;11(8):487-8.
  • Rourke, James,“Social Accountability in Theory and Practice”, Annals of Family Medicine 2006; 4:S45-S48.
  • Mathews, M., Rourke, J.T.B., Park, A. “National and provincial retention of medical graduates of Memorial University of Newfoundland”. Canadian Medical Association Journal 2006; 174(4); 357-360.
  • Chan, T.B., Degani, N., Crichton, T., Pong, R., Rourke, J.T.B., Goertzen, J., McCready, B. “Duration of rural training during residency”.  Canadian Family Physician 2006; 52:210-211.
  • Strategies to increase the enrolment of students of rural origin in medical school: recommendations from the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada, James Rourke for the Task Force of the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada. CMAJ 2005:172(1):62-65 (pdf)
  • Rourke, J.T.B., Incitti F., Rourke L.L., Kennard M.  Relationship between practice location of Ontario family physicians and their rural background or amount of rural medical education experience. Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine 2005; 10(4);231-239.
  • Zorzi, A., Rourke, J., Kennard, M., Peterson, M.E., Miller, J. “Combined Research and Clinical Learning Make Rural Summer Studentship Program a Successful Model” Education for Health 2005; 18(3);329-337.  Joint issue with Rural and Remote Health 2005; 5:401.  (Online), 2005.  
  • Rourke, J., Frank, J.R. “Implementing the CanMEDS physician Roles in Rural Specialist Education: The Multi-Specialty Community Training Network” Education for Health 2005; 18(3);368-378.  Joint issue with Rural and Remote Health 2005; 5:406.  (Online), 2005.  
  • Rourke, J. “A Rural and Regional Community Multi-Specialty Residency Training Network Developed by the University of Western Ontario” Teaching and Learning in Medicine 2005; 17(4);376
  • Chan B.T.B., Degani N., Crichton T., Pong R.W., Rourke J.T., Goertzen J., McCready B.  Factors influencing family physicians to enter rural practice.  Canadian Family Physician 2005; 51:1246-1247.
  • Hutten-Czapski P., Pitblado R., Rourke J.  Who gets into medical school?  Canadian Family Physician 2005; 51:1240-1241.
  • Steele Margaret, Stretch Neal, Andreychuk Rick, Sylvester Heather, Rourke, J., Dickie Gordon, Davidson Brenda.  “Teaching Children’s Mental Health to Family Physicians in Rural and Underserviced Areas.” Canadian Psychiatric Association Bulletin 2004; 36(5);8-9.
  • Grafton D., Rourke J., Troughton, M.  Rural community and health care interdependence:  an historical, geographical study.  Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine Summer 2004; 9(3):156-
  • Rourke J. An honour and a privilege.  Canadian Family Physician 2004; 50:983.
  • Curran V, Rourke J.  The role of medical education in the recruitment and retention of rural physicians Medical Teacher 2004; 26(3):265-272.
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