Burnaby Division of Family Practice Empowering Healthcare Happiness Healthy Living Medical Ethics patient-doctor relationship Preventive Health Screening Tests Self-care

Empowering Patients with Knowledge

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When you think about the work of your family physician, you probably envision the one-on-one care he or she gives to each individual patient. It may be a clinic, hospital or – more rarely – home visit.

That still remains the priority of virtually every family physician: the wellbeing of every patient in his or her practice, but you might be surprised to hear that the circle of care is expanding. More physicians in our community care about the health of the entire community.

The Burnaby Division of Family Practice is a non-profit organization founded in 2011 and funded by the General Practices Services Committee. Its members are the family physicians who serve our community.

With the other founding board members, I wrote our organization’s vision and mission statements. Our vision for the Burnaby community: patients and physicians achieving health and happiness. Our mission: to engage, support and mobilize family physicians in co-creating a network that will support the wellbeing of all members of the Burnaby community.

Although I’ve recently stepped down from the board of directors, I continue to lead the Burnaby Division’s Empowering Patients public health education program. Recognizing that the public receives confusing and often incorrect medical information from the media, we sought to provide unbiased information

Our vision is that by raising general health literacy (public knowledge about healthy living and how best to use the healthcare system), we can improve the health of our community. We may be able to reduce the burden of chronic disease in the future.

Since we started the public education program in October 2014, we’ve delivered 11 public presentations in our community’s libraries, schools and community centres. The topics have included healthy eating, healthy relationships, emotional wellness, healthy physical activity, patient-doctor communication, making the most of your hospital stay, medical ethics and common chronic health conditions, such as diabetes.

Summaries of each of these presentations is available on the Burnaby Division of Family Practice’s website There you will also find the dates for future talks in the series and links to our videos on emotional wellbeing, making the most of a hospital stay and important symptoms for which you should seek medical care.

I’ll be speaking on “Making Sense of Symptoms and Screening Tests” at 7 pm on Tuesday, December 8th at the McGill Library on 4595 Albert Street in North Burnaby. Growing up in North Burnaby, this was my “home library” close to the Eileen Dailly Pool and the Confederation Community Centre. I’ll go over the “review of systems”, the questions that physicians include in a complete physical examination. Because no one gets routine physicals anymore, most people are never asked these questions about the symptoms that may indicate important medical conditions.

When patients receive episodic care at drop-in clinics, they may not be aware of what tests they should be having and when. For this reason, I’ll also review the key screening tests that are recommended at different ages.

To register for this free talk, please contact the McGill library at (604) 299-8955 or