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2015 Family Physician of the Year

Awarding community advocates

Each year, we recognize a family physician who consistently makes a significant contribution to his or her medical practice and community. TheFamily Physician of the Year Award was initiated in 2007 to recognize the impact of small-practice and rural physicians. We highlight family physicians who provide extraordinary medical care, set an exceptional example in the practice of family medicine, teach medical students and residents, and advocate for the health of their community.  

Dr. Jim MacKillop (MD'81)

For Dr. Jim MacKillop (MD’81), the joy and satisfaction of being a family doctor comes from getting to know his patients over the course of many years, not just as patients but also as friends, neighbours, and members of his community.

Although he has been a family physician for many years in a group practice in Sydney, Dr. MacKillop’s medical career has taken him down many unexpected paths. One of Dr. MacKillop’s earliest forays into administration happened almost by accident following his return to his hometown of Sydney in 1983. He could see right away that there was a need for more organized emergency services in the area and set to work with colleagues to develop a better system.

While launching his family practice and working in the emergency department might have been enough to keep him busy, Dr. MacKillop couldn’t resist getting involved in sports medicine when the opportunity to work with the Moncton Alpines Hockey Club presented itself in 1983.

Dr. MacKillop put his organizational skills to the test in 1987, as assistant VP of the Canada Games Medical Division. The same year, Dr. MacKillop embarked on his longstanding career as a medical educator, joining Dalhousie Medical School’s faculty as a part-time lecturer. Since joining the faculty, Dr. MacKillop has held an appointment in the department of family or emergency medicine since 1987. From 1997 until September 2014, he was the Cape Breton site director for the family medicine residency training program.

Last year, when he stepped down, the residents took him by surprise by presenting him with the Jim MacKillop Preceptor of the Year Award, which will be presented every year in his honour to the preceptor residents feel most exemplifies excellence.

Most recently, Dr. MacKillop has been advising the Cape Breton District Health Authority on how best to arrange primary care services, and served as VP of Medicine up to the district’s transition to the Nova Scotia Health Authority.

Dr. MacKillop plans to stick around to help make that happen in Nova Scotia. He is tapering back a little bit, to have more time to spend with his wife, three grown children, and the grandchildren who are starting to arrive.