Dr Rodney Andrew, 1938–2017

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 59, No. 6, July August 2017, Page 320 Obituaries

Rod was born in London, England, in 1938 and graduated from Tetten Hall College in grade 12.

Dr Rodney Frederick Andrew died peacefully at home on 28 March 2017, surrounded by his loving family, following a year-and-a-half-long struggle with ALS, which he fought valiantly and with dignity, determination, and quiet resolve.

Rod was born in London, England, in 1938 and graduated from Tetten Hall College in grade 12. He excelled as a gifted academic and starred in sports including track and field and rugby. Rod entered medical school in 1956 at the University of London and the Royal London Hospital. He graduated with his MBBS in 1962, and following his 1-year internship in Kent, UK, Rod enrolled in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He attained the rank of captain, became a regimental officer, and was posted to Yemen from 1963 to 1966.   

Rod then immigrated to Canada, where he entered clinical practice as a family physician in Red Lake, Ontario. He relocated to Vancouver from Red Lake in 1967. He practised in Vancouver for the next 40-plus years, in addition to his work teaching and being an administrator. Later, he worked part-time doing locums in Vancouver. His patients loved his gentle and compassionate manner and were proud to call Rod their family doctor.

Rod loved teaching medical students and residents. He taught UBC Family Practice residents at St. Paul’s Hospital for 37 years and was appointed director of the St. Paul’s Family Practice Residency site from 1994 to 2004. He later became the director of the International Medical Graduates (IMGs) Family Practice Residency site at St. Paul’s from 2005 to 2011. His students admired, respected, and adored Rod. He received the Dr Peter Grantham Award for Teaching Excellence at UBC in 2002 and was subsequently recognized nationally by the College of Family Physicians of Canada in 2008 with their Award of Excellence for Exceptional Contribution to Family Medicine.

Rod also excelled in administrative medicine thanks to his strong organizational skills and his natural leadership abilities. He served two terms as the acting head of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at St. Paul’s, was elected president of St. Paul’s medical staff from 1997 to 1999, and tirelessly sat as a member of the St. Paul’s Medical Advisory Committee for 14 years. In total Rod remained on the active staff at St. Paul’s Hospital for 47 years.

As an IMG, Rod was keenly interested in assisting other IMG physicians. He was the first director of the BC IMG Residency Ready Assessment program between 1996 and 2012. Under Rod’s guidance the program became the model for assessing IMGs across Canada. Rod conducted summative practice assessments on IMG provisional-class family physicians for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC because of his reputation as an astute but fair and pragmatic assessor. Rod later became the first full-time clinical director of the Practice Ready Assessment–BC program in January 2015. He guided this program during its infancy and oversaw the program’s inaugural spring 2015 iteration, which assessed and graduated 15 new IMG family physicians for entry into independent clinical practice in BC.

Rod held the rank of full clinical professor in the UBC Department of Family Practice, was a certificant and fellow of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and was bestowed one of this College’s most prestigious awards in November 2016: BC Family Physician of the Year. Rod treasured this award because he was recognized by his fellow physicians; the award confirmed in his mind that his decision to become a family physician was the right one.

In short, Rod was a dedicated lifelong physician, doing what he loved to do, be it as the composite, skilled, and compassionate family doctor to his patients; the mentor, coach, teacher, and preceptor to hundreds of medical students and residents; the experienced and hardworking medical administrator; the person most responsible for the infusion of hundreds of grateful and competent IMG physicians now practising medicine in BC; and the humble, witty, caring friend to so many of us physician and allied health care colleagues, and to his family.

Rod followed many sports and enjoyed golfing with his good buddies, hiking “like a mountain goat,” walking at a brisk pace, fishing, and spending many weekends with his family and friends at his Mount Baker cabin. In his earlier days, Rod ran marathons, including the Boston Marathon in 1980.

Rod is survived by his wife, Cecile, his children and large extended family, and his beloved grandchildren, all of whom he treasured, loved, and adored. His family, the medical community, and the community at large have lost a dedicated family physician and a great friend and colleague. Those whom Rod touched have been enriched from knowing him. Rod’s spirit lives on and we continue to be inspired by his enthusiasm for life.
—Jack Burak, MD, CCFP, FCFP

Jack Burak, MD. Dr Rodney Andrew, 1938–2017. BCMJ, Vol. 59, No. 6, July, August, 2017, Page(s) 320 - Obituaries.

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Karen Butcher says: reply

I just learned that Rod Andrew passed away in 2017. Rod was our family Dr from 1973 - 1997. Rod was always so patient and was always there with a kind word and good advice. So very sad to hear this. My son is named Andrew after Rod. He attended my wedding and the birth of my son. So sad.

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