A rural Alberta physician who exhibited tireless commitment to healthcare on two continents was named recipient of the 2012 Award of Distinction
Dr. Martinus Reedyk, who in 2012 had practised family medicine in the Three Hills, Alberta community for over two deacdes, was named recipient due in part to his foresight, innovation and perseverance as a practicing family medicine and chief of surgery. Dr. Reedyk was also commended for his community volunteerism and leadership in physician attraction, recruitment and retention.
A 19 September 2012 article by Cait Wills and Grant Alford, courtesy of the Three Hills Capital, profiles Dr. Reedyk on the eve of a regional celebration in the doctor’s honour:
Region to honour Dr. Martinus Reedyk
"The physician should look upon the patient as a besieged city and try to rescue him with every means that art and science place at his command." Alexander of Tralles
Like the popular quote by one of the most eminent of ancient physicians, Three Hills’ Dr. Martinus Reedyk practices the concept of holistic medicine by looking at the patient as an individual, rather than a list of symptoms. Thanks to this focus, he has earned the respect and admiration of the thousands of patients he has treated during his 23 years in the community as a family physician, surgeon and psychotherapist.
In recognition of his tireless good works, the Alberta Rural Physician Action Plan has awarded Dr. Reedyk the 2012 Award of Distinction. The RPAP Award of Distinction is presented annually to an Alberta rural family physician who lives and has worked in rural Alberta for at least 12 years, and who demonstrates a superior commitment and contribution to the community through medical practice, teaching of other health professionals, conducting research and volunteering in the community. The RPAP board is pleased with the selection of Dr. Reedyk and knows that he, like many of the physicians working and living in rural Alberta, exemplifies the hard work and community engagement required by a successful award recipient.
“We are very pleased that the Kneehill County Community Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee chose to submit Dr. Reedyk’s name for consideration for the 2012 Award of Distinction,” says Dr. Clayne Steed, chair of the RPAP Board of Directors. “He has worked tirelessly to support physician recruitment and retention efforts in the Kneehill County area, while treating his patients with the highest level of care. He truly typifies the best of a rural physician in Alberta.”
“I am pleased to be the recipient of the 2012 RPAP Award of Distinction,” says Dr. Reedyk. “Thanks to the support of my family and the group of medical professionals who I have the pleasure of working with every day, I can continue to concentrate my time on helping heal patients, which has always been my desire.”
Dr. Reedyk graduated from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta in 1969, before he and his wife, Anne, moved to Nigeria, which had recently gained independence from Britain and was nearing the end of a long and bloody civil war. Reconstruction of the country was delicate, and Dr. and Mrs. Reedyk joined in to work tirelessly at a mission hospital with three physicians that covered an area with a population of one million people. After eight years, the Reedyks returned to Canada and Dr. Reedyk began practicing in High Level. When their daughters reached high-school age, the family moved to Three Hills.
Moving to Three Hills meant that Dr. Reedyk could work closely with a stable team. “We had a good complement of physicians, and Dr. Husband took over anaesthesia from Dr. Webb,” he says. “We thank God for the good colleagues we have had here over the years.”
In 2004 Dr. Reedyk established a full-time psychotherapy practice and, in 2007, accepted the role as an assessment physician for The Physician and Family Support Program, where he serves his peers by field calls from physicians and their families when they are in distress, and matching their needs to appropriate resources.
But in 2010, there began an “exodus” of physicians. Dr. Reedyk, who describes himself as “the last remaining physician of the old guard,” consulted with the retention and recruitment committee and worked with them to strategize on how best to attract new physicians to the area. “Fortunately a few physicians had already been attracted prior to the departure of the former physicians [and] Drs. Calhoun and Savage had a lot of connections, which helped in recruitment,” says Dr. Reedyk. “Dr. Dada had come prior to the others leaving and so also helped in recruitment,” which meant that, despite the shortage of physicians Three Hills and the area faced, “it was possible to attract four additional physicians.” This was, says Dr. Reedyk, “a team effort,” although committee members credit him for his tireless efforts, support and encouragement during the physician shortage crisis.
“I am very pleased and proud of how our community stepped to the plate to solve the crisis in physician manpower we went through two-and-a-half years ago,” says Dr. Reedyk. “I hope that there can be continued interest and support for this very vital service in the community and that it will never be taken for granted.” Dr. Reedyk currently serves as the Community Medical Director for the Kneehill, Starland and Special Areas in assisting physician in negotiating the many difficulties of their medical practice and responsibilities.
Looking to the future, Dr. Reedyk sees a need for a “thriving medical community” throughout the Kneehill region, large enough to make the demands on the physicians sustainable. “We have an active emergency room and need the acute-care unit to provide care for those who need admission. Due to our birth rate and the number of young families, we need an active obstetrical program and a surgical program to provide Caesarean section backup for deliveries,” he says.
“We are working hard with the Central zone of Alberta Health Services to see that these core services are continued. Long-term care services are needed, but with supported living in the community, that might look different in the years to come.”
While Dr. Reedyk focuses much of his time on his patients in the Kneehill region and in Nigeria, where he continues to provide medical consultancy work twice a year, the doctor’s three daughters and 11 grandchildren are his shining light. And, he says, without the support of his wife of 44 years, his accomplishments would be lessened considerably. “I am blessed with a gracious and beautiful wife,” he says. “I thank God for her every day.”
Dr. Reedyk was honoured at a dinner and community open house at Keivers Lake (outside of Three Hills) on September 22, 2012. He continues to practice in Three Hills to this day.
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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