Chatham family physician believes training medical residents in smaller communities can improve health care for patients

At her peak, Dr. Kathryn Bailey was delivering up to 100 babies a year in Chatham. After 30 years of practising family medicine in Chatham, Dr. Bailey is now delivering the babies of the babies she delivered decades ago.

Dr. Bailey, adjunct professor at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine, has developed a new model for obstetric care in the region. Her family medicine practice at Thamesview Family Health Team is a teaching site for the School’s Family Medicine Residence Program and Schulich Medicine Distributed Education. It is the only site in the region that includes a focus on obstetrics for interested family medicine residents.

Dr. Bailey believes that obstetrics can be an important part of a family medicine practice, giving a physician a broader and more complete view of the patient. “Delivering a baby is the start of your introduction to the entire family,” said Dr. Bailey. “As a family physician, you develop a relationship and become a part of the family structure.”

In a smaller city, such as Chatham, being a part of the community helps Dr. Bailey be a better physician and better educator, teaching her residents that a strong relationship with their patients is the key to providing the best health care. “During my residency in Toronto, I would see a tiny snapshot of a patient, and not know who they are,” said Dr. Bailey. “In Chatham, I see patients at their workplace, meet their families, and get to know them as a whole person. That knowledge helps me train medical residents to treat the entire person and the entire family.”

Knowing her patients beyond the examination room, and in many cases since birth, gives Dr. Bailey a unique and comprehensive insight into her patients. “Our residents have to develop a rapport and spend time with their patients,” said Dr. Bailey. “A complete understanding of a patient is the essence of family medicine and obstetrics, and allows physicians to provide the best medical diagnosis and care.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Tristan Joseph, Media Relations Officer, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, t. 519.661.2111 ext. 80387, c. 519.777.1573, tristan.joseph@schulich.uwo.ca

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The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University is one of Canada’s preeminent medical and dental schools. Established in 1881, it was one of the founding schools of Western University and is known for being the birthplace of family medicine in Canada. For more than 130 years, the School has demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence and a passion for scientific discovery.

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