Following a year hiatus, the RPAP Award program resumed in 2010. After careful consideration, the selection committee chose an individual who has created a legacy of good health in his community as the recipient of the RPAP Rural Physician Award of Distinction.
Dr. Robert Wedel of Taber was named recipient of the 2010 award in recognition of his creativity, broad scope of clinical practice, and for his broad basis of accomplishment in a number of areas including teaching, research, palliative care and administration.
As of 2010, Dr. Wedel had served Taber and a surrounding rural community totaling approximately 16,000, including very large Kanadier Mennonite population, who were settling in large numbers from Northern Mexico.
For three decades, Dr. Wedel had distinguished himself as a rural physician, teacher, researcher and community supporter. Keeping himself very active, Dr. Wedel has been involved over the years with several local and provincial boards and committees. The roles he served include: Fellow and Past-President of the College of Family Physicians of Canada's Alberta Chapter; Past President of the Chinook Physicians' Association; and Co-Chair of the Chinook Primary Care Network.
Dr. Wedel also helped spearhead a number of primary care related research projects in Taber, including the development and delivery of several rural palliative care service projects, and studies on physician perceptions of the burden of being on call. The integration and team approach to care influenced what is now the provincial Primary Care Initiative.
In the words of Sandra Mintz, Executive Director of the Chinook Primary Care Network in 2008, Alberta should be proud to call itself home to such a truly inspired and dedicated individual:
“Dr. Wedel can legitimately claim to have left his mark on our province, influencing an evolution of the delivery of primary care in a significant way… Between his many professional, academic, and board-related pursuits--all aimed at improving a difficult and complicated health care system--Dr. Robert Wedel still always manages to put his patients first.”
Although no video was produced in 2010 for the award recipient, an extensive day of celebration was planned with events being held in both Lethbridge and Taber to accommodate the many across southern Alberta who wished to extend their congratulations to Dr. Wedel.
The RPAP worked with Chinook Primary Care Network, Associate Medical Centres and the Taber community to co-sponsor a “Come and Go Tea” at the Lethbridge Lodge hotel in honour of distinguished Dr. Wedel; followed by a “Meet and Greet” and awards dinner and presentation at the Taber Civic Centre.
At Dr. Wedel’s request, proceeds from this awards dinner, after payment of expenses, were donated to a new legacy project-- the Dr. Robert J. Wedel Good Health Community Room--at the Taber Hospital. The Wedel Room will provide space for group therapy and other activities as well as promote self-care.
Dr. Wedel continues to practice in Taber, serving as Medical Director for the Chinook Primary Care Network.
Click here to view the entire RPAP Rural Physician Award of Distinction playlist and other great videos on our YouTube channel.
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