Dr Roger Thomas is the 2013 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement in Family Medicine Research Award. This award honours individuals who were our trailblazers and leaders in family medicine research, and who made a significant career contribution to family medicine research during their active career years.
Dr Thomas obtained his medical degree and interned at the McMaster University Medical School in Hamilton, and also holds a Bachelor’s degree (Honours) in economics from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom and a doctorate in sociology from Yale University in Massachusetts. Dr Thomas has been described as a titan, a pioneer, and a world-class guru in systematic review methodology and his work as a family physician and family medicine researcher has had significant local, national, and global impact.
Dr Thomas’s interests in remote and rural medicine have taken him from the small community of Burgeo in Newfoundland and Labrador to the developing world setting of Malawi in southeast Africa. He was the recipient of a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Distinction Award for his work on a program with the University of Calgary to help upgrade the skills of physicians originally trained in Cuba. Many of those students have now returned to southern Sudan to care for a poor, war-ravaged population, many of whose members have had little or no access to health care services.
A leader in the development of systematic reviews (invaluable tools for busy physicians), Dr Thomas has studied a remarkable and diverse range of subject areas, reflective of the patient problems encountered in family practice. These areas include preventing and reducing tobacco, alcohol, and drug use among children and adolescents; yellow fever vaccines; and the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine. He has also studied palliative and end-of-life care in Canada, care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, and the teaching of surgical and emergency procedures. He has also studied the impact of telehealth and primary care reform on the health system, physicians, and their practices.
A former director of research at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Dr Thomas is currently a professor of family medicine and a coordinator for the Cochrane Collaboration at the University of Calgary, where he supervises undergraduates and residents. A preceptor and a mentor, Dr Thomas continues his work in research, practises at the Calgary Foothills Primary Care Network After Hours Clinic, carries out home visits, and provides nursing home and palliative care.
Lifetime Achievement in Family Medicine Research Award
These awards honour individuals who are trailblazers and leaders in family medicine research, and who have made a significant career contribution to family medicine research during their active career years. These awards give public recognition to both their work and to the discipline of family medicine.