The Department of Family Medicine at Queen's University is an interdisciplinary collaboration of health professions, teachers, researchers, clerical and administrative staff who are based both at the university and in the community. Our vision is to be a Department of Family Medicine acknowledged for its excellence in primary care delivery, education, and research.
Our raison d'etre is our Postgraduate Education Program. Its direction is defined by the principles of Family Medicine and by the changing needs of society and our residents. Our current program includes special interests in rural and remote medicine, emergency medicine, anaesthesia, women's health, care of the elderly, palliative care and care of people with developmental disabilities. We contribute to primary care research. Our expertise in communication skills teaching and teaching in the ambulatory setting is shared with all physicians through their undergraduate education at Queen's University. Our experience in faculty and program development extends to international programs. For over three decades, Queen's University has been delivering the future of primary care.
In 1967, the Family Care Unit opened its doors in cramped quarters at the Kingston General Hospital site. Family Care Unit received recognition from Queen's University and the College of Family Physicians in 1973 and the Family Medicine Department at Queen's became official. Dr. Ernie Haynes was appointed as the first Professor and Head. Dr. Haynes mandate was to enlarge the post-graduate residency program and oversee the construction of the Family Medicine Centre.
The new Family Medicine Centre would be a state-of-the-art facility designed to house physicians, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, nutritionists, social workers and research all under one roof. Dr. Haynes spearheaded the introduction of third year residency programs in Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesia and expanded residency training to remote areas in Northern Ontario. In addition, community physicians in private practice were eager to teach medical residents and thus community teaching practices were established in Moose Factory, Sharbot Lake, Dryden, Picton, Napanee and Perth. Obstetrics training was expanded to include training for residents in Belleville, Peterborough and Oshawa.
By mid 1980, through funding from the Ministry of Community and Social Services, medical staff at the Rideau Regional Treatment Centre in Smiths Falls became members of the Department at Family Medicine. This partnership provided residents and medical students with the opportunity to learn about treatment of children born with severe mental and physical disabilities. In the latter part of the 1980's, the North Kingston Community Health Centre was created to meet the needs of residents in this typically underserviced area of Kingston.
The medical curriculum again evolved to include a Palliative Care Team, based out of Hotel Dieu Hospital. The Palliative Care Team was comprised of family physicians who saw the need for specialization in this area. The Team included a nurse specialist, pharmacist, social worker, and pastoral care, providing much needed support to end-of-life patients and their families. The Palliative Care Team provided valuable training to residents who previously saw little training in this area of patient care. This led the way to the development of the Care of the Elderly Program and opened the door for development of a new medical curriculum that included expanded programs dedicated to Women's Health, Obstetrics and Aboriginal Health.
Several faculty members in the Department of Family Medicine have been extensively involved in the provision of medical aid to communities in war torn countries abroad through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Through support from CIDA, the Queen's University Family Medicine Development Program in Bosnia and Herzegovina was born. This Family Medicine Program has expanded over time to include the Universities of Sarajevo, Tuzla, Mostar and Banuja Luka, providing training to residents, nurses and other healthcare professionals.
The Department of Family Medicine has now become a Family Health Team, supported by the Ontario Ministry of Health. This reform in primary health care enables groups of physicians and other health care professionals to provide multi-disciplinary care to patients around the clock.
Another important milestone in the Department of Family Medicine storey is the development of the Centre for Studies in Primary Care. With research funding from the Ministry of Health and Canadian Institutes of Health Research, a network for studies in primary care has been developed that includes physicians from Sharbot Lake, Napanee, Picton and Gananoque.
Together, the Centre for Studies in Primary Care research programs, Family Medicine Programs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Family Health Team training experience in outlying communities, make the Faculty of Medicine, Family Medicine Residency Program at Queen's the most popular in the country.
(Source: Dr. Janet Sorbie, Professor Emeritus, Department of Family Medicine, 1977-1996 and Head, 1986-1991)