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Timmins family doctor honoured for decades of service

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The Ontario College of Family Physicians recognizes doctors who demonstrate excellence in their regions. One Timmins doctor stood out in the northeast.

Dr. Richard Kvas has spent three decades in the city serving patients in various roles and inspiring medical students to work in the region.

Kvas began his 30-year career as a student from London, Ont., who followed the love of his life to Timmins.

“As a student, I tried it out, I loved it. Loved the outdoors, loved the soccer, flag football, the hockey and taking care of patients,” he said.

Kvas helped create a tele-medical stroke program at the local hospital to better connect patients with specialists. His work takes him all over the city.

“You end up doing lots of different roles, including emergency work,” he said.

“You know, you deal with the stabbings and the shootings, the big cases and then (I) delivered four or five babies in the last week or two. Trying to find time to do all these things, right?”

Kvas said the north needs more doctors, more support staff.

“Even the dean of NOSM, Sarita Verma, said, ‘Rick, it’s going to take three people to replace you,’” he said.

“And that’s a bit of a joke, but it’s not. It’s the reality.”

It’s also why Kvas tries to inspire medical students to work in the region and he has become a sought-after mentor.

“I think I show students a fun way to work, but also find that balance between work and play,” he said.

“I do try to bring them out to High Falls, bring them out to hikes, kayaking. Get involved in your community -- the key is to get involved. You get out of it what you put into it, in life. And this is what the NOSM students notice, is we’re very collegial, here, we get along. This is a great working community (and) that we all seem to work together. We plug holes, we figure out solutions.”

Kvas said being nominated by his peers is validation that his effort is making a positive impact.

“It’s a big honour to be recognized by my colleagues and my coworkers. So, I’m quite honoured and a big shout-out thanks to all.”

Kvas said he will continue serving the community, hoping to one day see enough physicians in town to take over his practice. 

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