Faculty A-Z

Norah Duggan

Associate Professor Shea Heights Community Health Centre

Family Medicine



Shea Heights Community Health Center Discipline of Family Medicine Faculty of Medicine Memorial University of Newfoundland St. John's, NL A1B 3V6

After six years of rural practice at Twillingate, Dr. Norah Duggan and her family have moved to St. John’s where she is a full-time faculty member in the Discipline of Medicine working out of the Shea Heights Clinic.

Dr. Duggan graduated from Memorial in 1995 and went on to do her family medicine residency here. She had an ongoing interest in Twillingate dating from before entering medical school, and she did her rural rotations in that community. “I really liked the type of medicine being done at the Notre Dame Memorial Hospital and my husband really liked the community as well, so we decided to go for a couple of years and see how we liked it – and we just kept staying.”

Twillingate is one of the areas identified for Primary Health Care Enhancement, where doctors work collaboratively with other health care professionals including nurse practitioners. For the past 10 years, Dr. Mo Ravalia has been the primary rural preceptor at the site and from the beginning Dr. Duggan felt well supported in her practice. “The practice is shaped by personalities and it’s a very giving environment, very community-oriented. I learned a lot from all the health practitioners.”

The hard decision to leave Twillingate finally came when employment prospects for Dr. Duggan’s husband, high school teacher Dave Mckeown, looked bleak and their oldest child Brody was about to start school. “After six years, the main issue was spousal employment. We tried very hard and I got to do what I wanted most for six years so it wasn’t fair to him to stay.”

Dr. Duggan said the decision to move was not based on opportunities for their children – in addition to Brody, the family includes Gary, age four, and baby Cloey. “There were a lot of opportunities in Twillingate and I don’t think the children would have missed out on any extra-curricular activities.”

In her new academic position, Dr. Duggan finds she has more reponsibility for undergraduate teaching and administrative duties as well as more involvement in planning various aspects of core content and more formal teaching sessions. Although she spend les time in clinic than she did in Twillingate, one upside of the move is that she is now able to follow her prenatal patients through to birth and afterwards. “I like being involved in those first few critical days when the mother is trying to establish breast feeding.”

In future, Dr. Duggan hopes to become involved in research within family medicine, but acknowledges that she is just in the infancy stage of developing some research ideas.