Content from the Ontario College of Family Physicians
The Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) has named Dr. Dieter Poenn of Little Current, Ontario, the 2018 Reg L. Perkin Family Physician of the Year. The award is the OCFP’s highest honour, presented annually to a family doctor who provides exceptional care to patients, while significantly contributing to the health and well-being of communities and society. Dr. Poenn has been an associate clinical professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa since 1997 and an assistant professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine since 2005.
“Working in rural and remote areas is one of the most difficult jobs in Canadian medicine. One requires a high-level of expertise, broad skill set, excellent interpersonal skills, and leadership abilities,” said W. E. Osmun MD, Associate Professor, Emeritus, Western University. “Fortunately for Manitoulin Island, Dr. Poenn has all these attributes.”
Advancing rural interdisciplinary care in a historically underserviced region
During his 30-year career, Dr. Poenn has provided all facets of rural medicine – from his office-based practice and the emergency department and in-patient care at the Manitoulin Health Centre, to the Wiikwemkoong Health Center and the Manitoulin Centennial Manor.
A compassionate physician with unlimited patience, Dr. Poenn was an early advocate for interprofessional collaboration. His support for nurse practitioners ultimately allowed him to be instrumental in establishing Manitoulin’s first family health team. Extending the scope of this team to involve physician assistants has further enhanced the delivery of care in his community. For Dr. Poenn, collaborating with and maintaining practices on the local First Nations of Wiikwemkoong and Aundeck Omni Kaning has also been a career long priority.
Dr. Poenn is also as committed to learning as he is to teaching, pursuing extra training to provide the Island community with endoscopy, sports medicine, coroner services as well as nursing home care. He has trained students throughout his entire career, initially with the University of Ottawa and later with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. As a result, many regional physicians have been learners in his clinic. More than a doctor, Dr. Poenn is a community builder who enjoys helping others experience the beauty of Manitoulin. A ski, hockey and kayak coach, he has helped build and financially contribute to maintaining local hiking trails for residents and visitors, along with his colleagues. Dr. Poenn is the proud father of four young adults who are also pursuing careers dedicated to helping others.
“Dr. Poenn’s collaborative, team-based approach to medicine and his leadership in providing quality care particularly among vulnerable and marginalized patients in his community, make him an inspiring role model for all family physicians,” said Dr. Glenn Brown, OCFP President. “His lifelong dedication to sharing his knowledge, experience and skills with students and colleagues has enhanced the medical care available on Manitoulin Island. For these reasons and more, it is an honour to acknowledge Dr. Poenn’s contributions and achievements with this award.”
Named in honour of Dr. Reg L. Perkin, College of Family Physicians of Canada Executive Director from 1985 to 1996, the award is the OCFP’s highest honour. The recipient is chosen from among the OCFP’s seven Regional Family Physician of the Year award winners, one from each region in Ontario, who are recognized for providing exemplary care to their patients and are passionately involved in activities that contribute to excellence in family medicine. Dr. Poenn is the regional award recipient for North East and North West. The 2018 Reg L. Perkin award was presented by Dr. Jennifer Young, incoming OCFP President at the OCFP’s President’s Installation and Awards Ceremony on November 14, 2018 in Toronto.