Chair's Message – Family Medicine and Public Health

“Every cloud has a silver lining.” This is an apt sentence for current times as we have a large cloud hovering over us with the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the silver linings in this cloud, in my view, has been the enhanced connection between public health and family medicine that has developed as a result of this public health emergency.

Family Medicine is the bedrock of primary care, providing preventive health care as well as on-going care for acute and chronic health episodes for individuals and families. Public health is charged with dealing with the health care needs and prevention needs of populations. Both disciplines should be working together in lockstep and communicating frequently as they do in Europe and many other parts of the world. This hasn’t always been the case in Canada, until recently when both disciplines have moved together to deal with this pandemic, hence the silver lining.

The pandemic has brought about a welcome interaction between public health and family medicine, certainly in London-Middlesex and more broadly. This is publically evident through the appearance of provincial and federal public health officials in almost every newscast and public forum and frequently in family medicine educational sessions and meetings.

Here in London-Middlesex there was early communication between public health and family medicine about the assessment, testing, diagnosis and management of potential COVID cases in primary care offices and clinics and long term care settings. Regular communications have been enhanced through newsletters, webinars, grand rounds, presentations and meetings. Family physicians paid attention and responded collaboratively with rapid changes in office and clinic practice to meet public health recommendations. Family doctors also responded to calls to provide service to meet community needs in hospitals, assessment centres, long term care settings, and vaccination clinics, with public health support.

The pandemic has also been a catalyst to unite the various providers in primary care, including family physicians, nurse practitioners, first responders, pharmacists and many others.

I, for one, sincerely hope this partnership and collaboration between public health and primary care extends beyond the pandemic and positively influences the health of our patients, our communities, and our population in general for a long, long, time.

As always I welcome your comments and feedback at or Twitter @DOCSJW.