Doctors Nova Scotia endorsed Church Point, N.S. family physician Dr. Michelle Dow as its new President during the association’s annual conference on Saturday, June 4, in Digby, N.S.
Dr. Dow’s solutions-oriented, team-focused outlook has served her well in her 28 years as a family practitioner – she was named Nova Scotia’s Family Physician of the Year in 2014 – and she’ll be putting that outlook to work in her new role as President of Doctors Nova Scotia (DNS).
Her wide-ranging career has perhaps uniquely prepared Dr. Dow for this role. She began practising as a solo rural family physician in Church Point, N.S. for the first 17 years of her career. She then transitioned to practising family medicine at Woodlawn Health Centre, an urban group practice in Dartmouth, while her husband attended law school from 2005-08. Now, she works with five other physicians and a nurse practitioner at Clare Health Centre, a collaborative-care clinic in Meteghan Centre, N.S.
In addition to regular family practice, Dr. Dow’s work includes house calls and visits to nursing homes, ER and OR-assist shifts, as well as after hours on-call services. It all adds up to a breadth of experience that will provide valuable context as she works to understand the unique needs of DNS’s membership.
Dr. Dow is actively involved in physician recruitment and retention as a mentor for medical students and residents. She is the Medical Director for the Clare Health Centre where she practises as well as Medical Oversight Physician for Emergency Health Services (EHS).
Her presidency follows several years of involvement with Doctors Nova Scotia. Prior to her term as President-Elect, she served a four year term on the Board of Directors and she served as a member of the Information Technology Steering Committee.
Through the Canadian Medical Association’s Physician Leadership Institute, Dr. Dow has taken a full range of courses including Managing People Effectively, Self-Awareness and Effective Leadership, Negotiations and Conflict Management and Leading Change and Innovation.
Dr. Dow’s presidential to-do list is not insignificant. First up: Ushering the master agreement and academic funding plan contract negotiations to a close – something she has been preparing for all year both officially, by attending DNS information sessions and meetings of the Members’ Advisory Forum, and unofficially, in her work as a member of the GP Council and in casual conversations with her colleagues.
In the longer term, Dr. Dow wants to encourage physicians in the province to get more involved in DNS. Encouraging physicians, especially women, to engage in leadership roles throughout the medical system is another of her priorities, as is helping young Nova Scotians develop good habits at an early age.
Dr. Dow and her husband of 32 years, David, a lawyer, have two adult children – Alexandre, 26, is just finishing his second year of psychiatry residency in Sherbrooke, QC, and Eric, 24, is finishing his master’s degree in translation at the University of Ottawa.
As she starts the last decade of her rural collaborative family practice she feels compelled to give back to the profession. She wants the practice of medicine to be a rewarding and enjoyable career for the doctors of the future, just as it has been for her.