With the recent change of leadership in the Department of Family Medicine, I write to pay tribute to our trusted colleague, Dr. Martin Dawes. A strong leader, wise risk-taker and eternal optimist, Dr. Dawes leaves behind an impressive record of accomplishments that have greatly enhanced the reputation of the Department and the McGill Faculty of Medicine.

Dr. Dawes assumed the position of Chair of the Department of Family Medicine in 2002. He came to our Faculty from the University of Oxford, where he co-developed and co-directed a multi-disciplinary Master’s program in Evidence-Based Health Care, while serving as Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine there. During his tenure at McGill, he managed the needs of over 400 faculty members and oversaw a residency program that has close to doubled in size and that became fully accredited by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Deeply committed to enhancing the Department’s research capacity, Dr. Dawes’ vision and leadership led to the creation of a research thesis-based Master’s program in Experimental Medicine (Family Medicine Option), the first of its kind in Canada. In 2009, he spearheaded the inaugural McGill Family Medicine Summit to further promote the underrepresented specialty across Quebec and introduce students to the unique research paths available. As part of his mandate, Dr. Dawes established research on primary care informatics and was an avid proponent of strengthening links between research and clinical practice. He also was a strong supporter of the Primary Care Research program, which currently resides in the Department of Family Medicine.

Dr. Dawes put Family Medicine research on the map at McGill while, as Chief of Family Medicine at the McGill University Health Centre, he merged clinics from two hospital sites into one community-based unit and introduced an open source academic electronic record for doctors and nurses. His clinical research continued to focus on pharmacogenomics in primary care, hypertension and knowledge translation. With more than 80 peer-reviewed publications to his name, he is current Chair of the North American Primary Care Research Group Program Committee and an esteemed speaker at major conferences on evidence-based medicine around the world, including in the United Kingdom, Spain, Singapore, Australia, India and Sweden.

We warmly wish Dr. Dawes the best in his new position as Head of the University of British Columbia’s Department of Family Practice. Dr. Dawes’ enthusiasm and strong work ethic will surely be missed, and I have no doubt that he will assume his new role with just as much passion, dedication and wit.

Richard I. Levin, MD

Vice-Principal (Health Affairs)

Dean of the Faculty of Medicine

McGill University