New president, new priorities for medical association

Staff ~ The Burnside News
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Dr. John Finley new president of Doctors Nova Scotia

Doctors Nova Scotia installed Halifax-based paediatric cardiologist Dr. John Finley as its new president during the association's annual conference in June at Digby Pines.

"I'm honoured to take on the role of president and represent my colleagues throughout Nova Scotia," Finley says. "There are so many important discussions happening around health care in our province and country. I'm happy to be able to lead my colleagues in improving patient care."

The Lunenburg native has spent the last 34 years providing care to the youth of the province at the IWK Health Centre. He has been a leader in medicine for many years through teaching as a professor of paediatrics at Dalhousie University, pioneering applications for remote diagnosis of heart disease in children, and authoring a book on new methods of teaching auscultation of heart sounds.

At a time when health must change to keep up with growing demands and economic pressures, Finley plans to focus on bringing physicians to the forefront of leading that change.

"Who better to help shape health-care delivery than doctors who are on the ground every day working to improve the lives of their patient," Finley says. "We owe it to our patients."

In May, the province released Shaping Our Physician Workforce, its action plan to establish physician resource planning. Finley sees this as an example of the important role physicians have in ensuring patient care is there when and where patients need it most.

"Physicians have been involved in the development of the resource plan every step of the way and we'll continue to represent the needs of our patients and communities," Finley says.

In his free time, Finley enjoys spending time with his wife and two adult children. His many outside interests include performing with Halifax Irish band Dicey Reilly, sailing and kayaking in Mahone Bay, cycling, skiing and traveling.

Doctors Nova Scotia also honoured five physicians and one community group during the annual conference.

This year's honoured physicians were Drs. David Marsters, Port Williams; Louis Fernandez, Halifax; Richard Hall, Halifax; Winston Parkhill, Halifax; and Dora Stinson, Halifax.

"These awards recognize the innovative and talented physicians we have in Nova Scotia," Finley says. "I'm proud to be able to acknowledge the outstanding work of my colleagues and share their accomplishments with the rest of the province."

The award winners' contributions range from Marsters' initiatives to improve the care of people affected by stroke, to Hall's ground-breaking work in academic critical care medicine in Nova Scotia, to Sinton's dedication to premature newborns.

"There are many physicians in the senior category of Doctors Nova Scotia who deserve this award," says Dr. Louis Fernandez, winner of the Doctors Nova Scotia Senior Membership Award. "To be chosen is a great honour and I am extremely humbled by it.

In addition to recognizing physicians, the Association also awarded Friends of Ellenwood Park with Doctors Nova Scotia's Strive Award. Friends of Ellenwood Park is a committee that works to oversee off-season recreation use at Ellenwood Provincial Park in an effort to increase and promote healthy lifestyles in that community. The group consists of more than 20 volunteers who advocate for many forms of active transportation and outdoor physical activities at the park.

"Receiving this award is validation that we're on the right track with providing programs and opportunities that will encourage our communities to engage in physically active lifestyles," says Stephen Sollows, past chair of Friends of Ellenwood Park.

"We're confident that having these types of resources in our area will encourage adventurous and active lifestyles for people of all backgrounds, ages and cultures," he adds.

Doctors Nova Scotia is the professional association representing all doctors in the province. It is the oldest medical association in Canada. The association represents about 2,500 physicians serving patients across the province, and 700 medical students and residents.

Organizations: IWK Health Centre, Dalhousie University

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Halifax, Lunenburg Ellenwood Provincial Park Mahone Bay Port Williams Sinton Canada

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