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Department Spotlight: Dr. Annabeth Loveys

Annabeth Loveys, 100th graduate of the MClSc in Family Medicine program

Where were you born and raised?

I was born and grew up in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador.

What degrees do you have?

Bachelor of Music (honours vocal performance) - University of Western Ontario (2003)
Doctor of Medicine - Memorial University (2007)
Family Medicine Residency - Memorial University (2009)
Master of Clinical Science - University of Western Ontario (2016)

Tell me a bit about yourself.

I am a 34 year old proud Newfoundlander. I am a family physician, a singer, a knitter, and a synchronized swimmer. I am a devoted wife to the most supportive husband in the world, stepmother to two wonderful boys, and mother to an 18 month old amazing little girl who likes to keep me on my toes.

Where do you practice medicine and in what scope?

I’ve been practicing at Kelligrews Medical Clinic since 2009. We are a group of eight family physicians, with a variety of ages and interests. My particular interests include women’s health, family practice rheumatology assessments, and minor procedures.

What are your research interests?

I was inspired by my work in Rheumatology. Moved by the long waitlists and lack of access for my patients, I completed a preceptorship in Rheumatology in 2010 and began to see patients in our group practice for initial assessments, diagnosis, and management. The response was so positive that I was encouraged to take referrals from across the province to help patients while they waited for a Rheumatologist. My research interests stem from my experiences, and focus on referrals between family physicians, improving access for patients in rural areas, and reducing wait times.

Why did you choose to pursue graduate studies in the Department of Family Medicine at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?

I have always had an interest in teaching and wanted to improve my skills. We have started taking undergraduate students at our clinic and I felt that having some additional skills would be beneficial. I also love to be a student, I like learning new things, meeting new people, and challenging myself. This program seemed to be a perfect fit and, as an added bonus, brought me back to Western again.

Can you tell me about your experience in the program?

This program was both challenging and rewarding. To say that completing the program in just over three years while working full-time, getting married, buying and moving into a new house, and having my first baby was at times difficult, would be an understatement. My thesis became a family affair, with my step sons and husband stuffing survey envelopes, my husband editing my thesis page by page, and spending many new baby overnight feedings typing with one hand.

This program challenged me to learn and try things that I hadn’t previously considered including research. To my surprise, I found that I really liked doing research and having the support of the program faculty made my research adventures all the more enjoyable.

I loved meeting the other students in the program, learning what inspires them and what their practices are like, and collaborating with them on group projects and forum discussions. We became a sort of support network for each other, enhancing each other’s learning, supporting each other’s struggles, and sharing in each other’s revelations.

What inspires you in your work?

I am primarily inspired by my family and the wonderful people who have influenced my journey. I have had some wonderful teachers in both my undergrad, medicine, and masters programs, and have learned many valuable lessons from each of them that I incorporate into my work every day.

I am constantly inspired by the full-service, rural family physicians that I have had the pleasure to know. I love family medicine; I love the freedom and variety that it offers. Family medicine gives me the chance to make a difference in my patients’ lives including getting to know them, and sharing their moments of joy and most frustrating challenges.

What has been your greatest experience to date in your practice/research?

It is so hard to pick just one great experience in my practice. I like to perform procedures that can keep patients from waiting for specialists, travelling to the city, or having to go to emergency rooms. I like the hands on aspect of procedures and knowing that I can do something that day to make a difference.

With regards to my greatest experience in research, I remember the anticipation and joy that I felt every time I went to the mailbox to check for completed survey responses for my quantitative study. It was gratifying to know that other physicians were interested and wanted to participate.

What do you do when you aren’t working?

I am certainly not someone who likes to sit still. I strongly believe that in order to be an effective family physician, I have to have interests outside of medicine to keep me grounded. When I graduated Medical School I was given the title, “most likely to knit a sweater for each of her patients,” because I always had yarn and needles in my hands. Things haven’t changed much since then, except that I now have a spinning wheel too. Music continues to be an important part of my life. My husband and I sing with Cantus Vocum Chamber Choir and this summer will be travelling to Europe on a performance tour. We also sing in our church choir every Sunday. I am a member of the Sea Stars Masters synchronized swimming team and even though we are not competition material, we have a lot of fun. Our family is a board game family; we play a board game almost every night and have a large stash of games taking over several rooms in our house.

Also, you are the 100th graduate of the program, so if you'd like to add anything else.

I am honored to be the 100th graduate of the MClSc program and am really looking forward to the convocation in June. I am proud to have Dr. Kidd be at the ceremony to hood me. He is an inspiration for lifelong learning while maintaining a balanced life with varied interests. He was my Chemistry professor in my first year at the University of Western Ontario and sang with me at Metropolitan United Church during the four years of my undergraduate degree. He also worked in the Faculty of Graduate Studies with Ian McWhinney and Martin Bass in the 1970s and helped to launch the Family Medicine master’s program.