For the first time a Williams Lake physician has been named as a recipient of the BC Rural Health Award.

The BC Rural Health Award program has recognized four physicians from across the province including Dr. Glenn Fedor with lifetime achievement awards for their excellence in rural medicine.

“Usually with the lifetime achievement award we require that people have worked for 15 years within rural medicine,” said Sharon Mah,  communications manager with the Rural Coordination Centre of BC (RCCbc).

“This year all four of our recipients have been longtime rural physicians within each of their communities, probably 30 years plus including Dr. Fedor.”

Dr. Fedor moved from Alberta to Williams Lake in 1981 and initially only intended to spend two years in the city.

38 years later he is still serving as Senior Medical Director with Interior Health.

Fedor is also a founding member of the Central Interior Rural Division of Family Practice (CIRD).

“For us, one of our motivations for hosting these awards is just to recognize the work that rural physicians do,” Mah said.

“Their scope of practice is quite a bit larger than what you would find say in an urban center in part because they do cover emergency medicine on call as well as hosting an office practice.”

“Many of the physicians who’ve won this year they often take on additional skills and provide additional support through a GP specialty practice, so Dr. Fedor, for example, took on additional training to provide anesthesia services and obstetrical services as well as emergency medicine,” she added.

“That’s something you would often see in an urban GP but these kinds of skills are really essential for BC rural communities because there’s a smaller population of doctors so their scope of practice has to be quite a bit larger.”

Fedor received the award with Drs. Robert Calder of Osoyoos, Daphne Hart of Smithers, and Stu Iglesias of Bella Bella during the BC Rural Health Conference on Friday, May 24.

As well as being presented with a physical award, all reward recipients also received a $2,500 grant to be used for hosting a community celebration or supporting a community resource.

This marks the sixth year that RCCbc has recognized BC rural physicians and communities for their contribution and dedication to rural medical practice with the BC Rural Health Awards.

“This year we actually got some very solid nominations, and our awards committee has been ‘quote-unquote’ complaining about how difficult it is to pick people to receive these awards because the nominations have been so strong and they feel that everyone who did submit a nomination really deserves to be recognized for the work that they’re doing,” Mah said.

“So it’s a good problem to have.”