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Dr. Kathleen Gallagher, Nova Scotia Family Physician of the Year 2013


Hon. Michael L. MacDonald: Honourable senators, when the College of Family Physicians held its annual medicine forum this past November in Vancouver, they recognized and honoured the provincial recipients of their Canadian Family Physician of the Year Awards. The Nova Scotian honoured as Family Physician of the Year was Dr. Kathleen Gallagher of Bedford, Nova Scotia.

It is difficult for me to envision a more deserving recipient. Making meaningful connections with people is at the heart of Dr. Kathy Gallagher's practice. Throughout her career, Dr. Gallagher's dedication and loyalty to her patients has guided her achievements in family medicine. All one has to do is go online and read some of the comments of patients who rate their doctors.

The comments Dr. Gallagher receives are universally positive: her patience, compassion, kindness, diagnostic abilities and professionalism are common themes among those who describe their dealings with Dr. Gallagher and her practice.

A graduate of Dalhousie University, Dr. Gallagher spent her first year of practice as an emergency-room physician in Saint John, New Brunswick. The following year she committed herself to family medicine, returned to Nova Scotia and established a practice in Bedford, where she works and lives until this day.

The flexibility of family medicine is part of the appeal for Dr. Gallagher. She has had the opportunity of experiencing many different roles during her career. Currently she is involved in clinical work, and making house calls is part of her regular schedule. Over the years she has provided obstetrical care, emergency room work, hospital care and nursing home care in addition to her office practice.

Dr. Gallagher is known as a doctor who really takes the time to listen. It is this combination of compassion and curiosity that aids her in identifying particularly challenging diagnoses.

A member of the College of Family Physicians of Canada for more than 20 years, Dr. Gallagher has also been involved in numerous committees and boards, as she constantly strives to improve the delivery of medicine to the public of Nova Scotia. Her involvement has helped her learn about comprehensive care, chronic disease management and has helped her shape medical policies. She was President of the Nova Scotia College of Family Physicians from 2004 to 2006.

Dr. Gallagher has been married to her husband Doug for 20 years, and together they are the proud parents of Laura, 17, and Sarah, 15. Dr. Gallagher is actively involved in CrossFit, plays ringette in the winter, softball in the summer and soccer all year round. She is also a hockey mom, as both of her girls are great little hockey players, and Kathy spends a lot of time at the rink with both of them.

I have known Kathy Gallagher all of my life. She was pleasant, kind and intelligent as a child, and those characteristics remain fully part of her makeup to this very day. On the two occasions when I ran provincially in Dartmouth—Cole Harbour in 1993 and 1998, and when I ran federally in 2004, she would always find time to go out campaigning with me and would insist on doing so, in spite of her very busy schedule. We never won, but we always had so much fun when we would go out campaigning together.

Kathy is an admirable person, and there are so many things I have always loved about her. What I love most of all is that, although she is now 50 years of age and quite accomplished in her own right, she still calls me what she has always called me since first learning how to speak: Uncle Michael.

Kathy is the oldest of three children of my sister Betty and her husband Fred Gallagher. On behalf of her friends and family and grateful patients, I want to thank the College of Family Physicians in recognizing Dr. Gallagher for the quality of her work and the significance of her contributions.