Dr. Malinowski honoured by College of Physicians

Dr. Jason Malinowski at St. Francis Memorial Hospital

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) presented the Council Award to Dr. Jason Malinowski on September 7 at the Council meeting in Toronto. CPSO said that Malinowski, a passionate advocate for rural medicine, has distinguished himself as a clinical leader who has developed programs and systems that have contributed to the continuous improvement of his region’s integrated health system.

The Current spoke to him before he and his family went to Toronto for the award presentation. Malinowski said he had no advance notice that he had been nominated for the Council Award by the Barry’s Bay and Area Physician Recruitment Committee.

In recognizing him with the award, CPSO cited Malinowski’s passion for rural medicine. Malinowski said,

I have always felt that patients shouldn’t necessarily have to travel for treatment so we try to provide as much as we can locally.

Malinowski graduated from Queen’s University in 1999, and completed his family medicine residency and 3rd-year Palliative Medicine fellowship at Queen’s as well. When he was training as a medical student, he met his future wife, Andrea, who was working as a nurse in the Kingston Hospital  He knew nothing about the Valley until then. At the time the hospital was building the clinic and Malinowski began practising in Barry’s Bay in 2002. He said it was a kind of “perfect storm of things for me to be here…. I’ve been here sixteen years this summer.”

His professional interests include Quality Improvement in medical care, Healthcare Leadership, Medical Education, Social Media in Healthcare, and Hospice Palliative Care. He holds academic appointments with Queen’s University and the University of Ottawa, and was named “Community Teacher of the Year” by the Ontario College of Family Physicians in 2012.

Malinowski regularly brings medical students and residents to Barry’s Bay not just as part of his teaching commitments but also because of his involvement in the local physician recruitment program. CPSO recognized this in their press release, saying that he is “a highly regarded assistant professor of medicine at Queen’s University and uses this role to expose younger physicians to careers in rural medicine.” Referring to an interview he gave to the CPSO magazine, Malinowski said he feels that every time our region is mentioned, it increases the visibility of the Valley to potential physicians. He told The Current that “every licensed physician in Ontario will get either a paper or an electronic copy of the CPSO magazine.”

Among the criteria for the Council Award, the CPSO lists Communicator, Collaborator, Gatekeeper/Resource Manager, and Health Advocate. We asked Malinowski about the many tasks he manages to juggle. He said,

When Dr. Joe Cybulski announced some time ago that he was retiring from the Medical Director position at Valley Manor, we made a decision to combine that position as a trial with the Chief of Staff position at the hospital because we were looking after a lot of the same population … and resource allocation/management. Also I was hoping to find commonalities in strategy and advocacy for our area. Healthcare is one of those areas where the silos can be huge: A doesn’t talk to B doesn’t talk to C; or A and B and C are all fighting for the same dollars.

He said if he can facilitate breaking down those silos, the community benefits.

Regarding his role as a resource for palliative care, Malinowski said,

I felt always that people in our community should get the same quality of healthcare — or better – than if they were in a big city. I think the ‘better’ part has been the success of our hospice palliative care program and how the community has come together to do full service palliative care with the volunteers. We can provide the highest quality palliative care.

When asked what message he had for the community, Malinowski said,

I’m humbled by this award. But I’m only one piece of the whole healthcare puzzle in Barry’s Bay And Area. And I think we’ve got such a great healthcare team from whatever institution you work for in this area that I’m proud to accept this award on behalf of the whole healthcare team in this area.

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