Tobermory’s Dr. Elaine Blau Named Regional Family Physician Of The Year

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Media Release,
Ontario College of Family Physicians 

Tobermory, Nov. 22, 2022 – Dr. Elaine Blau of Tobermory has been named a 2022 Regional Family Physician of the Year by the Ontario College of Family Physicians.

“The Ontario College of Family Physicians thanks Dr. Blau for her dedication and service. At a time when our healthcare system is in crisis, family doctors continue to go above and beyond for Ontarians,” said Dr. Mekalai Kumanan, President, OCFP. “We appreciate her extraordinary leadership during these challenging times.”

Nominated by their peers, the Award is presented annually to doctors across Ontario who provide exemplary care to their patients and contribute to excellence in family medicine. Dr. Blau is the award recipient for Erie St. Clair and Southwest Ontario. 

Described as a “true generalist,” practising for a significant portion of her career in rural communities, those who know Dr. Blau best note that she cares deeply that patients get the highest quality of care while keeping that care anchored in the community. 

A well-respected family physician, educator and mentor, Dr. Blau has developed an incredible reputation, notes Dr. Merrilee Brown in her letter of support, “Working with Elaine is a lesson in compassion, in listening deeply and caring profoundly and respectfully for patients and trainees.”

As a known mentor to those less experienced than her and an educator of future family doctors at McMaster University, Dr. Blau sees the value in leading work at all levels and for that reason has taken on work at the local, regional, provincial and national level in an effort to improve family and rural medicine.

Over a 30-year career, Dr. Blau has had a substantial impact on patients, medical learners, her colleagues and her communities – stretching her community through her leadership and advocacy for health care in rural communities. 

For more information, visit the OCFP website. 

The following is an excerpt from 2022 OCFP Awards Ceremony remarks:

Since leaving Saskatchewan and relocating to Ontario some 30-plus years ago, Dr. Blau has become an ardent advocate for strengthening access to quality health care and medical services in rural communities. She is an influential proponent of rural medicine training, and, according to her peers: “a true champion for the needs of rural physicians.” 

A full-scope rural physician, Dr. Blau first practised in Mount Forest, before moving to Hamilton in 2004 to teach at McMaster University, and then settling in Tobermory in 2015. She works at the Peninsula Family Health Team’s clinic, delivers compassionate palliative care in patient`s homes and in long-term care at Grey Bruce Health Services. 

 Dr. Blau instructs and supervises family medicine residents in those practice settings. She is one of the highest-ranked clinical teachers in McMaster’s family medicine program and holds many key leadership roles in national organizations promoting and improving rural medicine. 

That includes serving as co-chair of the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada`s Rural and Remote Medicine course, considered the world`s largest annual rural medical conference. 

For Dr. Blau, improving the capacity to train family practice residents in rural environments and finding new ways to enrich the quality of instruction are key priorities for rural medicine. She advanced both goals as the Rural Sites Programme Director for McMaster: adding rural sites in Simcoe and Owen Sound to the roster of residency education options and was instrumental in developing workshops that featured skills-based simulations that continue today. 

Helping to meet local healthcare needs, Dr. Blau provides inpatient services at Lions Head Hospital and does 24-hour shifts in its emergency room. This contribution helps guarantee year-round access to quality care for local residents and the additional influx of tourists. She also responds to the occasional dive emergencies, providing care at the local hyperbaric chamber. 

… all part of the job of a rural family doc.

Congratulations again on your Award, Dr. Blau.