Dr James Robert Busser was born 25 July 1960 in Windsor, Ontario.
Dr James Robert Busser was born 25 July 1960 in Windsor, Ontario. He studied medicine at the University of Western Ontario and specialized in internal medicine at Western, Dalhousie, and the University of British Columbia, where he also gained a master’s degree in health care and epidemiology. He then joined the UBC faculty, Department of Medicine, and was appointed to the medical staff of the Vancouver General and St. Paul’s Hospitals.
James (Jim) was a dedicated physician, an acclaimed teacher, and a health systems advocate. He served on numerous BC boards, foundations, committees, and advisory groups including the BCMA, BC Medical Foundation, BC Society of Internal Medicine, and the Clinical Faculty Association, of which he was a founding member. He was a three-time delegate to the CMA General Council, and he was the president of the Vancouver Medical Association for the past 5 years. He also served on the MSC Advisory Committee on Diagnostic Facilities. Jim was heavily involved in the reform efforts within Doctors of BC. He was also actively involved with, and a supporter of, the BC Civil Liberties Association, Médecins Sans Frontières, and UNICEF. He was a recipient of multiple research grants and had presented and published papers on a wide range of topics in his field of expertise.
Jim met his wife, Joanne, in Vancouver and they married in 1990. They welcomed the births of their two sons, Piers and Owen. Jim was a warm and caring individual who, despite his extensive clinical and academic commitments, was passionate about spending time with his family. He was very active as a parent volunteer in local youth community sports activities, including hockey and baseball.
He was able to maintain that commitment and still devote time to the difficult and demanding area of medical politics. His calm demeanor and gentle manner were combined with strength of character and a firm dedication to honesty and integrity in all that he did. He was an innovator and unique leader in his own right. He was accomplished in the field of information technology and an expert in open source software and its development. His expertise in epidemiology and statistics allowed him to review and analyze data using a scientific and mathematically valid approach.
He was a unique leader. Many are familiar with the impasse described when a so-called irresistible force meets an immovable object. Jim correctly understood that such a situation was inconsistent with the laws of physics and, when applied to medical politics, he repeatedly proved that he was right.
Everyone who knew Jim understood how special a person he was. He was a great listener. Like all accomplished internists, he analyzed all of the available data before he reached a conclusion, and he was intellectually gifted enough to reject ideology when it was in conflict with reality. He had strong beliefs but never let them become prejudices. Truth, honesty, and integrity were the qualities that we all admired in him. His involvement with the BC Civil Liberties group arose out of a passionate pursuit of justice.
Jim’s friends and family came to further admire his strength as he bravely battled his serious illness, while at the same time always caring about others, especially his family, more than himself.
James Busser passed away in June 2017 at the Vancouver General Hospital surrounded by his loving family. After attending his celebration of life, a physician colleague wrote about the event, “I was already aware that he had been an exceptional human being, yet it was a remarkable revelation to listen to the recollections of those who rose to speak of their connections with him. Over the course of a lifetime one [seldom] comes into contact with another person who leaves a sense that one has been touched by someone and something very special, no matter how briefly. James was such a person in mine.”
We echo those words. His friendship, his kindness, his honest wisdom, and his strength will be missed by all who knew and admired him.
—Brian Day, MB
—Charles Webb, MBChB
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