Celebrating World Family Doctor Day

May 18, 2018


May 19th is World Family Doctor Day.

On World Family Doctor Day we join together to celebrate the role of family doctors all around the world in ensuring the health and well-being of our patients and communities through the delivery of high quality personal, comprehensive and continuing health care. We also stop to say thank you for the contributions that each family doctor makes every single day.

WONCA, the World Organization of Family Doctors, has chosen the theme for this year, “Family Doctors – leading the way to better health”.

At the University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine, we have taken this theme even further by asking our faculty members to identify the features of a great family doctor.

You can read below the contributions by Drs. David Posen, Allan Grill, Ruth Heisey, Batya Grundland, William Cherniak and Nick Pimlott about what makes a great family doctor.

I invite all of you to continue the conversation online and share some media assets that WONCA has made available.

Family medicine differs around the world depending on the context where each of us works, whether in rural or urban locations and the specific needs of the populations we serve, especially the most vulnerable members of our communities. What binds us is our commitment and passion for the work we do and our mutual desire to provide the best possible care to each of our patients, the people who trust us for their medical care and advice.

We have much to celebrate as we join with our colleagues around the world in acknowledging the importance of family medicine and our contributions to global primary health care.


Michael Kidd

Professor and Chair

Department of Family and Community Medicine


Name three features of a great family doctor.

“The family doctor has to be dedicated, conscientious, and thorough in caring for the patients and their families.” Dr. David Posen

“Patience. Availability. Trust.” Dr. Allan Grill

“In the words of Sir William Osler, “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” As family doctors we know our patients and their families over time so we understand how to work together to optimize health.” Dr. Ruth Heisey

“As a family physician, I am most proud of the relationships I have developed with my patients over the years. Sharing in their stories is something I feel very privileged to be a part of. I hope that by listening to them and supporting them in their personal journeys I have helped them to move forward: whether it be with objective measures of health but also, and maybe more importantly, in their personal sense of health and well being.” Says Dr. Batya Grundland

“The ability to look past the purely clinical aspects of health and see a patient as a human being, with a life outside of the clinic/hospital setting. A keen interest in numerous aspects of health, both clinically in delivering care and broadly in the social determinants of health. Being able to work collaboratively with multiple health professionals in a team environment” Dr. William Cherniak

“A critical thinker; A humanist; Wide-ranging curiosity.” Dr. Nick Pimlott

"As a clinician the golden rule is to treat your patients as you would wish to be treated, were you to be experiencing physical or psychological challenges. Lastly, medicine is a fulfilling and yet demanding career, It's ok to struggle sometimes and ok to ask for help! Know and respect your limits; we are the caregivers, we need to take care of ourselves first in order to provide the best care possible to others. Remember the plane; reach for your own before you can help others!" Dr. Susan Goldstein


Happy World Family Doctor’s Day!