Q What’s the most valuable thing you’ve ever lost?
“I lost my passport when I was in South Africa. I hadn’t appreciated the significance of that until I was due to fly out a day or two later and didn’t have any identification. I was in Durban and the Australian embassy is in Pretoria.
“With a lot of help, we were able to put the documentation together and courier it to Pretoria and I got a passport within 24 hours.”
Q If forced, what song would you sing at a Karaoke bar?
“I think probably I’d fall back on Waltzing Matilda, I would feel safe.”
Q How can you personally tell if a job applicant is fibbing?
“I think it’s the twitch in the left ear, isn’t it?”
Q Invite three people - living or dead - for dinner. Who would they be?
“Nelson Mandela. He’s obviously an international statesman and he’s also a great cricket fan.
“William Osler, a great Canadian physician who took a lead role in medical education about a hundred years ago, first in the U.S. at Johns Hopkins Medical School and then at Oxford in the U.K. An enormous intellect, student and writer about medicine. And the other person is William Shakespeare. I imagine it would be an erudite conversation.”
Q Why did you want this job?
“It wasn’t because I was attracted to the deep-freezing winters. It was really because what I had done before in Australia was establishing a multi-site, rural-based, clinical school providing medical education, nursing, pharmacy (and) various elf-disciplines. The opportunity to come here and set up a multi-site full medical school seemed like the next logical step. I enjoyed living and working in Canada (London’s University of Western Ontario), so the idea of coming back was quite attractive.”
Q What parallels do you draw between delivering rural health education in rural Australia and Northern Ontario?
“Since 1992, I’ve chaired an international committee of an organization of family doctors focused on rural health and practice. What I’ve found is the major issues of rural health and education are pretty much the same the world over. The No.1 over-arching issue is better access to health care for people living the communities and that includes access to physicians and health-care providers.”