When Dr. Malcolm Ogborn first came to Canada from Australia in 1984, on a research fellowship to Dalhousie University in Halifax, he only figured on staying a couple of years.
Maybe it was our cool, northern climate that kept him here, or maybe it was the fishing, but after twenty-five years spent in three different provinces across the vast breadth of this country, it appears Malcolm and his wife are here to stay.
In January, Malcolm was appointed medical director for Northern Health’s renal program. He came to Prince George after nearly two decades in Winnipeg where he established a pediatric nephrology program and became the founding director of the Manitoba Institute of Child Health. In Prince George, in addition to his renal responsibilities, he is also involved with the University of Northern British Columbia as associate vice president of research.
Among his priorities at Northern Health, says Malcolm, is ensuring the renal system has a strong patient-focus, and finding solutions to the geographic challenges of “delivering services to communities spread across an area that’s 25 percent larger than France.”
Another priority is expanding the availability of community services for chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients. Currently when a patient in a northern community is diagnosed with CKD, they must travel to Prince George to visit the CKD clinic. With the distances involved, this is a trip many patients don’t want to make.
“My feeling is if CKD patients don’t need the technical services that are only available in Prince George, they shouldn’t have to come here,” says Malcolm. “So we have to develop systems to bring the CKD program closer to where people live in the North.”
Malcolm and his wife have three grown children who live across the country. Their daughter lives in Fort St. John and has recently had a child of her own. That made the decision to move to Prince George an easy one: “We decided we wanted to be a part of our granddaughter’s life,” explains Malcolm.
And coming from Winnipeg, there was no adjustment required for the northern climate. “We love it here,” says Malcolm, who this winter with his wife discovered downhill skiing.
And then there’s the fishing. BC offers new challenges for Malcolm, who is an avid angler. He’s currently gearing up his camper and boat for a trip this summer to some of the more remote lakes in the region.
“After 19 years on the prairies catching walleye and pike, now I have to learn how to catch trout and salmon.”