Hello. My name is Dr. Alan Katz. I have been a family physician for 29 years, having trained in Cape Town, South Africa. Since coming to Canada I have had the privilege to work in many different settings as a family doctor. I started off in a rural practice in Saskatchewan before spending eight years as a physician at the Mount Carmel Community Clinic in Winnipeg’s core with a socioeconomically deprived community but also to focus on Family Practice Obstetrics. While working at Mount Carmel I completed an MSc in Community Health Sciences through part-time study.
I chose to further my education to satisfy my curiosity and desire to not only practice medicine according to the latest evidence (the term evidence based medicine was just emerging at this time), but also to generate new evidence about how to practice family medicine. During this time, I also started teaching in my community practice and realized that I wanted to be a fulltime academic with a focus on helping others become outstanding family doctors. I joined the Department of Family Medicine 21 years ago.
My research carrier took off after spending six months at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) on sabbatical. I was fortunate to mentored by Dr. Noralou Roos, the founder of the Centre and an internationally renowned health services researcher.
Throughout my career I have been engaged with the College of Family Physicians of Canada which has provided an opportunity to meet and learn from many of the Canadian leaders in the discipline over the years. This has given me a big picture perspective on family practice; what we can do as family doctors and how we should be doing it. Despite taking on the Directorship of MCHP (the first medical doctor to do so!) over a year ago, my routes are still in family medicine and I am still in clinic one day per week. My research is now divided between primary care research and bigger picture health services and population health research, but my passion for the health of the population clearly originates in family practice and the doctor patient relationship.
I have been fortunate over the years to take on leadership positions in the College (President of the Manitoba College of Family Physicians, Chair of the Section of Researchers of CFPC) and University (Chair of the Health Research Ethics Board and my current position). All of these have been rewarding, learning experiences that I highly recommend.
My research has taught me lots about family practice, but ultimately for me it is still the backbone of our healthcare system and based on that special relationship that we nurture with our patients over many years.