D O C T O R S I N
T H E N E W S
Order of Canada
for Dr. John Lewis
Dr. John Lewis, C.M., M.D. C.M.
John F. Lewis, C.M., M.D.
C.M., was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada on October 23, 2008
for his contributions to health care and health education at the local
and provincial levels and for his role in establishing many essential
community-based medical services at home and abroad.
John F. Lewis, C.M., M.D. C.M., was
appointed a Member of the Order of Canada on October 23, 2008 for
his contributions to health care and health education at the local
and provincial levels and for his role in establishing many
essential community-based medical services at home and abroad. There
will be an awards ceremony later this year in Ottawa for the
presentation of this honour.
Dr. Cheri Bethune, who nominated him for
the award, said Dr. Lewis is a noteworthy individual predominantly
because of his commitment to people. She noted that two remarkable
examples of Dr. Lewis’ capacity to be both visionary and pragmatic are
in his work in the Shea Heights community on the outskirts of St. John’s
Newfoundland. ”This economically deprived community arose as a shanty
town on a cliff outside the major port city. Dr. Lewis worked with the
local priest, Father Shea and several community activists to bring
essential health care services to this community. He started a clinic in
the school classroom and then lobbied for further resources. This
community emerged from health indices that paralleled the third world to
Canadian standards within 10 years of the inception of the clinic.
Thirty-five years later his model of interprofessional primary health
care is a model of practice that most envy. His compassion and vision in
working with the community is fondly remembered by the elders.”
Dr. Lewis also brought his notion of
service to his role as a faculty member in the Discipline of Medicine.
“Along with the late Dr. John Ross, O.C., he built an award-winning
family medicine training program that first and foremost addressed the
health care needs of the province of Newfoundland,” said Dr. Bethune.
“It was unique in its delivery as the ‘laboratory for learning’ for
students was the small communities across the island. This program was
visionary in 1970 and many similar training programs have used this as a
model. Memorial University retains this reputation as training the most
well prepared rural doctors in Canada.”
Dr. Lewis taught and wrote about
reflective practice. “He lectured about evidence-based medicine long
before it became de rigueur and he constantly challenged
students, colleagues and himself about how to practice most
Dr. Lewis acts locally but also thinks
globally in his commitment to the people of Africa, said Dr. Bethune.
“He worked as a physician in Tanzania early in his career and several of
his children were born there. He returned again to Africa after his
retirement from the university to serve again both in Uganda and Kenya.”
Dr. Lewis was honoured by his peers in his
nomination for the Murray Stalker Award of the College of Family
Physicians of Canada, which is the most prestigious award given by this
national body recognizing exemplary commitment to family medicine.
Dr. Bethune said Dr. Lewis recently
returned from what he claims is his last sojourn to Africa; although
many faculty members doubt his retirement. “He will likely continue to
provide wonderful locum tenens service to rural communities
across Newfoundland for the next few years. This allows him to indulge
in his other passions that include cross-country skiing, fly fishing and