New docs ‘in the house’

News / General
By Christine Maloney

Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) added more than 25 new, highly trained doctors to its ranks last year

Dr. Nazanin Alavi had been working as a psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto for a few years when the opportunity to return to KHSC and Queen’s University presented itself – an opportunity Dr. Alavi knew she couldn’t pass up, having completed her graduate medical education in Kingston.

“The team at KHSC is really skilled and enthusiastic, which is vital to improving the care we provide to patients and families,” said Dr. Alavi, who has been a psychiatrist in KHSC’s adult mental health program at the Hotel Dieu Hospital (HDH) site since April. She also leads emergency psychiatry at KHSC’s Kingston General Hospital (KGH) site, and credits the team of nurses, social workers and doctors in the emergency department for “working well together to ensure people get the care they need at a critical time in their lives.”

The more than 25 new doctors recruited last year come from locations across Canada, and around the globe, with individuals coming from as far away as Europe and South America. They represent a number of areas of expertise, including psychiatry, cardiology, gynecology, surgery, neurology and respirology.

Dr. Gavin Winston, an epileptologist – a neurologist specializing in epilepsy – relocated from the United Kingdom in May to work and live in Kingston. “It’s ideal to be able to live in a city the size of Kingston but still have the professional opportunities often associated with bigger centres, and be part of an expanding epilepsy team,” said Dr. Winston, who has been working in the epilepsy monitoring unit at the KGH site, and in southeastern Ontario’s first seizure clinic, which he helped establish at the HDH site.

For Dr. Juan Pablo de Torres Tajes, a respirologist who relocated from Spain with his wife, the opportunity to work with Dr. Denis O’Donnell was a key deciding factor in coming to Kingston. Dr. O’Donnell’s internationally recognized work on respiratory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), was well known to Dr. de Torres before accepting his position.

“We are fortunate to have the ability to attract world-class academic physicians and provide them with opportunities to excel as part of amazing clinical teams, to work on innovative health research projects, and to teach and mentor the next generation of doctors, all in the beautiful and caring city of Kingston,” said Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, KHSC’s Chief of Staff.

Having the support of the Queen’s Department of Psychiatry, and being able to continue her research on online psychotherapy for people living with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), contributed greatly to Dr. Alavi’s decision to return to the limestone city.

Another returning recruit is Dr. Laura Gaudet, a Queen’s graduate who also completed her graduate training in Obstetrics and Gynecology in Kingston and who was most recently practicing in Ottawa. ”I’m excited about the research opportunities my new position brings,” said Dr. Gaudet. “We strive to provide the best possible care, and as we learn more, questions arise about what is the best possible care; we need research to answer those questions in the best interest of patients and families.”

Dr. Gaudet relocated to the area with her husband, four children, and the family’s sheep farm. They settled their home and farm in one location less than 30 minutes from work, which she says they weren’t able to do in Ottawa and has benefited their family life greatly.

“Recruiting doctors can be very competitive,” said Dr. Fitzpatrick. “I’m proud to work in a collegial environment and live in such a wonderful community. I’m also very pleased with the collaborative efforts of KHSC, Queen’s and the Southeastern Academic Medical Organization to attract the best and brightest.”