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News Releases

REF NO.: 178

SUBJECT: Honorary degree for Memorial’s dean of Medicine
DATE: June 8, 2009

Dr. James Rourke, dean of Medicine at Memorial University, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws on Wednesday, June 10, at 5 p.m. local time (3:30 p.m. EDT) from the University of Western Ontario (UWO). The ceremony will be streamed live on June 10 and may be viewed at www.uwo.ca/.

Dr. Rourke’s citation will be given by Dr. Carol Herbert, dean of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at UWO, when she presents him to Chancellor John Thompson for conferring of the degree.

The news article announcing the honorary degrees for the spring convocation at UWO acknowledged Dr. Rourke’s career as a rural family physician in Goderich, ON, from 1979 to 2004. During this time he continued to teach at Western. His work as Western’s assistant dean of Rural Regional Medicine led to the development of the Southwestern Ontario Medical Education Network. 

            Dr. Rourke, who recently started his second term as dean of Medicine at Memorial, received a Rural Leadership Award from the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC) in April 2009. He is a champion for rural medicine nationally and internationally and has helped the SRPC develop the national rural health strategy, present the strategy to the Parliamentary Standing committee on Human Resources, Social Development and Persons with Disabilities and convince the Council of the Deans of the medical schools in Canada to adopt the strategy in principle.

Dr. Rourke grew up on a farm and attended a one room rural public school. He graduated with his MD from University of Western Ontario in 1976, where he completed his Family Medicine training in 1978 and his master’s of Clinical Science (Family Medicine) in 1993. He is certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada in Family Medicine (1978) and emergency medicine (1985) and was awarded Fellowship in 1990.

Dr. Rourke has received many honours and awards, including the College of Family Physicians of Canada’s W. Victor Johnston Award (2007) “to honour renowned Canadian or international family physicians who have made an outstanding leadership contribution to the discipline of family medicine in Canada or abroad;” the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario Council Award (2004) “to honour outstanding Ontario physicians who have demonstrated excellence and come closest to meeting society's vision of an ‘ideal physician’;” the D.I Rice Merit Award from the College of Family Physicians of Canada; the UWO Award of Excellence in Teaching by Part-time Faculty; the UWO Martin J. Bass Recognition Award for Exceptional Contribution to Family Medicine; and the Community Teacher of the Year from the Ontario College of Family Physicians. He has had more than 90 medical journal articles (most peer reviewed) published.

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