by Andrea Di Ubaldo
Baryshnikov. Nureyev. Sosnowski?
Had Dr. Mark Sosnowski, this year’s Alberta winner of The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) 2008 Family Physician of the Year award, not become a physician he would have pursued his other passion – ballet.
“I love to dance,” Sosnowski grins. “I don’t have much skill, but I have a lot of enthusiasm. My wife would agree with that for sure.”
It’s a good thing Sosnowski, clinical assistant professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Calgary, chose medicine, because he’s obviously very good at it. He will be honoured with the CFPC award for his commitment to family medicine at the CFPC’s annual Family Medicine Forum in Toronto during the CFPC’s 5th Annual Family Doctor Week Nov. 24 to 29.
Family Doctor Week proudly acknowledges the outstanding contributions of Canadian family doctors for their dedication to patients and the delivery of high quality health care, and Sosnowski fits that description—or rather, fills that prescription—perfectly.
“I didn’t expect it would go this far when I found out I was nominated. It’s overwhelming and exciting,” he says shaking his head in disbelief.
Each year, the The Reg L. Perkin Awards (the Family Physician of the Year awards) are presented to one physician from each province.
Learning from patients
Sosnowski has known a lot of his patients their whole lives. He has seen the young ones grow into adults. Some have even gone on to marry each other and he is glad he has been a part of those experiences.
“Our experiences shape us and my patients have taught me how to be a good family physician. I think they’ve taught me more than I’ve taught them. They’ve helped develop my character and my compassion,” Sosnowski smiles. “There’s something about knowing your patients for a long time – it’s a huge strength for family medicine.”
Helping family doctors through the Mosaic PCN
Since graduating from UCalgary with an MD in 1978 (Minks), Sosnowski spends his time heading a full family practice and visiting Calgary hospitals and nursing homes providing palliative and long-term care to patients. He is also one of the leaders of the new Mosaic PCN (Primary Care Network) in northeast Calgary, a program that gives family doctors in the community more help to deal with the increasingly complex variety of illnesses they must look out for.
“This program will offer family doctors more tools to provide better care overall to their patients from birth to death,” he says proudly.
Teaching the doctors of tomorrow
Sosnowski is a teacher and mentor. He is thrilled to be connected to faculty residents in community practice, providing advice where needed. He sat on a search committee for the current Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and was very flattered and pleased to be a voice for community family doctors in that process.
“Students are great and challenging. They all seem way smarter than I was around that age,” Sosnowski chuckles. “They’re all well-rounded, great individuals.”
For current and upcoming medical students Sosnowski says family medicine is a great choice.
“You are challenged and get to do something different every day, and maybe most importantly, you make great relationships,” he says proudly.
A compassionate physician, active program leader and caring mentor, it’s no wonder Sosnowski has been named Family Physician of the Year in Alberta. And to think, Sosnowski says he never thought he’d make it into medical school. “I thought the other guys were geniuses and I’d snuck in under the wire. One of my biggest accomplishments was actually graduating!”
About the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary
The U of C’s Faculty of Medicine is a national leader in health research with an international reputation for excellence and innovation in health care research, education and delivery. Through its educational programs, the Faculty of Medicine trains the physicians and scientists who will lead the next generation of health practitioners. Through its clinical work, continuing medical education programs, and close relationship with the Calgary Health Region, the Faculty of Medicine moves new treatments and diagnostic techniques from the laboratory bench to the hospital bedside efficiently and effectively, improving patient care.
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