News at Medicine - October 2013 - Awards ceremony honours doctors

Awards ceremony honours doctors
October 24, 2013
Dr. Roger Butler, associate professor of family medicine, has been selected as the Family Physician of the Year for Newfoundland and Labrador. The award was presented during the 2013 Family Medicine Education Forum, held at the Humber Lodge Oct. 16-20. The Family Physician of the Year awards recognize outstanding College of Family Physician of Canada (CFPC) members who exemplify the best of what being a family doctor is all about.
In presenting him with the Family Physician of the Year Award, colleague Dr. Gary Tarrant, who has worked with Dr. Butler over the last 33 years, described him as like a country doctor of old with compassion for patients and a dedication to house calls. “He is one of the most knowledgeable physicians in field of geriatrics with great clinical skills and a dedication to teaching. He is a visionary in the field of geriatrics.”

To a standing ovation, Dr. Butler said thanked all the people who have helped him, especially his wife Christine. “It was a golden age when I came to medical school. I’ve had the good fortune to work with excellent people and I go to work having fun every day.”
Dr. Butler (Class of 1977) started his medical career in Brookfield with Dr. Yong Kee Jeon, chief medical officer, as his mentor. “He taught me the essential skills of clinical decision making and how to care for the patient.”
In the early 1980s Dr. Butler’s father was seriously ill and in 1985 the university offered a position in family medicine for which he successfully applied. “This enabled my two young sons to have time with their grandfather who died in 1990. I spent the first seven years in the Family Practice Unit doing the full scope family medicine including emergency and obstetrics.”
In the early 1990s an opportunity arose to work with Dr. Bill Eaton at the Miller Centre, as the Discipline of Family Medicine needed to expand its presence in that institution. This clinic expanded to three when Dr. Gary Tarrant joined the group in the late 1990s. Dr. Butler was clinical chief at that time of the Rehabilitation Program/Continuing Care Program and Geriatric Program, as well as Bell Island site for the Health Care Corporation of St. John's (which later became Eastern Health). 
In December of 1999, Dr. Butler’s academic mentor Dr. John Ross died; with other colleagues he wanted to do something of significance in his memory. “The opportunity came in 2005 when the stars lined up between the university and the Health Care Corporation of St. John's to develop a family medicine clinic on the 6th floor of Southcott Hall. “The vision was to have a co-operative environment which would enable the physicians who worked in the academic clinic to continue to provide ward coverage as well as teaching residents, interns, nursing and allied health students at the Miller Centre. This synergy blossomed and today we also train nurse practitioners and pharmacy students at our site.”
The Ross Family Medicine Centre was formally opened in 2006 in honour of the late Dr. John Ross, who had his first letter of offer of employment in Newfoundland signed by one Dr. Leonard A. Miller, for whom the main centre is named. 
“I have had a lifelong interest in geriatrics,” said Dr. Butler. “I went to England as a family medicine resident to do a three-month elective in geriatrics in 1977 before the first geriatric training program began in Canada. When I went to Brookfield I was in charge of the new nursing home which opened there in the early 1980s, called Bonnews Lodge (Bonavista north, east, west and south). I did a six- month sabbatical in 1997 with some time in Halifax with Dr. Ken Rockwood, and basically put the core elements together for a geriatric rotation in family medicine at Memorial.”
Dr. Butler said his interest in geriatrics evolved as he saw firsthand how seniors were being inappropriately managed in the health care system and how their sheer numbers were exploding. “It was important that our medical system gear up to meet their needs. Most recently I did a one-year sabbatical during 2009-2010, focussing on how to improve the care of our seniors in acute care hospitals. I did this partly in Australia and New Zealand where I spent six months and the remainder I spent studying in Newfoundland. I then reorganized the geriatric experience at Memorial and we expanded to include more core rural sites which now include Port aux Basques, Corner Brook, Baie Verte, Botwood, Twillingate, Gander, the Waterford Hospital Site and the Leonard A Miller Centre site in St. John's.”
Dr. Butler and his colleagues are now starting the process of developing a core six-month rotation from the initial one month that is now offered as additional skill set training. “I have been involved with the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, Eastern Health and the provincial Department of Health to try and develop programs to help our frail seniors who have no family physician in the community, as well as improve their care in the emergency room and hospital wards.”

In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Butler is a resource person for the local and national Alzheimer's societies. His research interests include polypharmacy and providing real time support for seniors in their homes via computer technologies. “I think seniors in Newfoundland and Labrador are the best patients in the world. I love to go to work each day and enjoy the privileges a career in family medicine offers.”

The Family Medicine Education Forum is an annual education event offered in partnership with the Discipline of Family Medicine at Memorial University and the Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter of the College of Family Physicians.
An Award of Excellence from the NL College of Family Physicians was presented during the Awards Dinner to Dr. Jared Butler of Grand Falls-Windsor.  These awards recognize CFPC members who have made an outstanding contribution in a specific area including patient care, community service, college activities, teaching, research or other elements of the academic discipline of family medicine. Dr. Butler has a special interest in sports medicine and allergy medicine and is currently chief of emergency at the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre.
Three awards from the Discipline of Family Medicine were presented during the Awards Dinner. Dr. Steve Darcy (Class of 1991) received the 2013 Dr. Gus Rowe Award. This is the second consecutive year that Dr. Darcy has received this award, which is presented each year by the family medicine residents to physician teachers in the program who are exemplary physicians, laudable teachers, and have an interest in sharing those aspects of their skills and ideals which are particularly pertinent to good family practitioners.
The 2013 Dr. Craig Loveys Awards was presented to Dr. Steve Parsons, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, based in Grand Falls-Windsor. This award is presented annually by the Discipline of Family Medicine to a specialist in recognition of excellence in teaching family medicine resident. 
The 2013 Dr. Yong Kee Jeon Award was presented to Dr. Sonny Colllis, a family physician in Torbay. This award is presented annually to a family physician for excellence in teaching family medicine residents.
A number of student awards from CFPC were also acknowledged. Gordon Stockwell will receive the Medical Student Scholarship, and the Medical Student Leadership Award will go to Dr. Robin Clouston. 

Dr. Roger Butler, right, received the NL Family Physician of the Year Award, presented by Dr. Gary Tarrant.

A CFPC Award of Excellence was presented to Dr. Jared Butler of Grand Falls Windsor. From left: Drs. Charlene Fitzgerald, Shelley Sullivan, Jared Butler and Dr. Marie-Dominique Beaulieu, president of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. 

Dr. Steve Darcy, right, received the 2013 Gus Rowe Teaching Award, presented by family medicine resident Dr. Raie Lene Kirby.

Dr. Mohamed Ravalia presented the 2013 Dr. Craig Loveys Award to Dr. Steve Parsons, right.

Dr. Cathy MacLean presented 2013 Yong Kee Jeon Award to Dr. Sonny Collis.