It is with huge thanks and a touch of sadness that we congratulate Dr. Fred Burge on his official retirement from Dalhousie Family Medicine (DFM) on July 31st. After a fortuitous meeting with Dr. David Gass in 1990, Dr. Burge began his tenure with the Department of Family Medicine as a clinician and research director, a role he held for an impressive thirty years before stepping down as he transitioned to retirement.
Under his leadership, the Primary Care Research Unit (PCRU) flourished into the research powerhouse it is today. Dr. Burge devoted his years as research director to selflessly ensuring the PCRU was actively growing and forming strong relationships with other research stakeholders, both locally and nationally. He has left a strong connected foundation that includes many young leaders to continue his work.
Some highlights of Dr. Burge’s illustrious career include a 2013 collaboration that secured funding from Dalhousie University’s Strategic Research Initiative Fund to create a new Primary Healthcare Research Collaborative that became known as Cor-PHC. CoR-PHC brought together existing Dalhousie cross-faculty researchers conducting primary health care research and focused on strategic policy-oriented projects to influence the design, evaluation and scaling up of new models of interdisciplinary team-based primary healthcare. Building on the success of CoR-PHC Dr. Burge co-led a successful application to the Canadian Institute of Health Research Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (CIHR SPOR) that continued to build on the successes of CoR-PHC. As a result of this award, Building Research for Integrated Primary Healthcare (BRIC NS) was formed to improve the health of people with complex healthcare needs. Dr. Burge ensured that BRIC NS was closely connected with DFM and we look forward to ensuring this continues in the future. Dr. Burge was also a founding co-investigator on the team of Transdisciplinary Understanding and Training on Research Primary Health Care (TUTOR-PHC), the first CIHR funded interdisciplinary training centre for primary care research. Under Dr. Burge’s leadership, we have seen the annual Primary Care Research Day grow from its inaugural event of thirty delegates to an event that now tops 200 delegates from across three provinces.
In 2016 as a testament to Dr. Burge’s lifetime devotion and significant contributions as a leader in Family Medicine, he was awarded the inaugural Dr. Charles & Mrs. Jean Gass Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nova Scotia College of Family Physicians.
Dr. Burge will be continuing to do some part-time research work with DFM until the end of 2021, so while officially retired, some of you will still see him around and about.
Dr. Burge’s strong yet humble collaborative leadership style has left an example for all who follow. Congratulations and all the very best from each and every one of us at DFM!
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