St. Jacobs among the stops in pitch to young doc­tors

The Woolwich Observer - - FRONT PAGE - VERON­ICA REINER

HAV­ING VIS­I­TORS IN FROM out of town? Chances are one of the stops on any tour of the area will in­clude the St. Jacobs Farm­ers’ Mar­ket. It’s no dif­fer­ent for those host­ing a group of med­i­cal res­i­dents in an ef­fort to sell them on set­ting up prac­tices in Water­loo Re­gion.

The mar­ket is one of the lo­cales that’ll be fea­tured in this week­end’s “An­nual Fam­ily Emer­gency Medicine Res­i­dent Week­end” hosted by The Greater Kitch­ener Water­loo Cham­ber of Com­merce. The re­cruit­ment tool is now in its 20th year.

The busi­ness or­ga­ni­za­tion will be shepherding 16 med­i­cal res­i­dents and four emer­gency medicine res­i­dents and their part­ners to a va­ri­ety of Water­loo Re­gion lo­ca­tions, look­ing to sell them on the ben­e­fits of mov­ing here and set­ting up shop. It’s not just about op­por­tu­ni­ties for the doc-

tors, but about pro­mot­ing the qual­ity of life is­sues for the whole fam­ily.

“We’re not only re­cruit­ing the doc­tor, but we’re also re­cruit­ing the fam­ily and their part­ner,” said Ian McLean, pres­i­dent, and CEO of the lo­cal cham­ber. “On the physi­cian side, we show them the prac­tice op­por­tu­ni­ties, the re­search op­por­tu­ni­ties, the hospi­tals, so the med­i­cal side of things. For the part­ners, we will show them the com­mu­nity, cul­tural ameni­ties, neigh­bour­hoods, and the ru­ral di­vide.”

“The week­end is a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity for these first and se­cond-year fam­ily medicine res­i­dents to get bet­ter ac­quainted with the com­mu­nity and our health care fa­cil­i­ties,” added Mark Chris­tensen of Wal­terFedy, chair of the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee, in a re­lease.

The week­end will show­case the St. Jacobs Farm­ers’ Mar­ket, the Delta Ho­tel, the Grand River Hos­pi­tal, and the Com­mu­nitech Hub at the Tan­nery, to name a few.

Due to med­i­cal in­vest­ments in the com­mu­nity such as the School of Phar­macy at the Uni­ver­sity of Water­loo and the School of Medicine in Kitch­ener, run in con­junc­tion with McMaster Uni­ver­sity, many vis­i­tors will have some ex­pe­ri­ence with the Re­gion of Water­loo in pre­vi­ous med­i­cal train­ing.

Given some up­com­ing chal­lenges, in­clud­ing an ag­ing base of cur­rent prac­ti­tion­ers, re­cruit­ing new physi­cians is al­ways a pri­or­ity, says McLean.

“More doc­tors are start­ing to re­tire,” he ex­plained. “So when a doc­tor re­tires, it usu­ally now re­quires a doc­tor and a half to re­place their pa­tient loads, be­cause many of the new doc­tors are not tak­ing the same types of pa­tient loads.

Frankly, there are not many new doc­tors that want to take on a pa­tient load of 2,000 or 2,100, which is what many of the older doc­tors and re­tir­ing doc­tors would have.”

Other chal­lenges in­clude a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion in the area, though that in­creases the num­ber of job op­por­tu­ni­ties for doc­tors.

The cham­ber has helped to re­cruit more than 200 fam­ily physi­cians since be­gin­ning its ef­forts in 1998 when 40,000 res­i­dents did not have ac­cess to a fam­ily prac­ti­tioner. Cur­rently, the num­ber of res­i­dents now look­ing for a fam­ily doc­tor is es­ti­mated to be around 20,000.

“We have a lot of ap­peal here,” said McLean of his pitch to med­i­cal res­i­dents. “Our job as a cat­a­lyst for this pro­gram is to make sure that we show­case what this re­gion has to of­fer re­gard­ing hous­ing, set­ting, school­ing, prac­tice op­por­tu­ni­ties, job op­por­tu­ni­ties for spouses, and re­ally show­case what Water­loo Re­gion is in terms of liv­ing, work and play.”

The week­end is sup­ported through the cor­po­rate and mu­nic­i­pal in­vest­ment in Cham­ber Health Care Re­sources Coun­cil pro­grams and ini­tia­tives.

The re­cruit­ment week­end be­gins to­mor­row at 3 p.m., with the ma­jor­ity of the tour tak­ing place on Satur­day be­fore wrap­ping up on Sun­day.

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