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Be part of the change: Q&A with Dr. Brian Fitzsimmons

May 1 is National Physicians’ Day, and we are marking the day by talking to Dr. Brian Fitzsimmons about his career as a staff gynecologist at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre.
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Q: Describe your role within the organization, including length of time in role.  

A: I’m currently the director Advanced Family Planning Program BC Women’s and have been on staff as a gynecologist since 2002.

​Q: What is your biggest accomplishment to date? 

A: I’d say starting the Fellowship in Family Planning at BC Women’s – the only family planning training program in Canada. The family planning fellowship trains gynecologists to care for women with complex reproductive needs. We also train gynecologists in complex contraception and to care for women with early pregnancy complications.

Q: What inspired you to become a doctor? 

A: My parents – knowing that I wanted to make a difference in the world, not just in my own community.  When I was young, I had opportunity to work with Red Cross youth and had a chance to go to Kenya at age 16, but my parents encouraged me to pursue my studies and dream to become a doctor and then I could travel and bring much needed medical skills. I did follow that dream and have been able to work in underserved communities in Zambia, Tanzania and Guatemala. But I realize that there is much needed work to be done here even in Canada when it comes to women’s reproductive health care – and this led me to focus on the work I do at BC Women’s on abortion care and contraception.

Q: What does it take to be successful in this role? 

A: Passion, vision, support from colleagues and family. I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by so many inspiring people throughout my career – and have had incredible inspiration and support from my partner who is also a physician at BC Women’s. Having mentors such as Dr. Garson Romalis, and Dr. Lorie Kanke, trailblazers in my specialty and my former teachers have also been people I look to for inspiration. Nurses like Barb Hestrin who had vision to start the CARE program and develop it as a provincial program and centre of excellence set the foundations for the work that I’m able to do and expand. Their fearlessness and dedication to reproductive justice continue to serve as a beacon for my work.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job? 

A: Gratitude from the patients after surgery. Knowing that procedures, which seem technically easy and simple for us, can be life changing for patients. Also – knowing that our program at BC Women’s has such a strong reputation that we have trainees from all over Canada wanting to come and train with us.

Q: What would you say to a potential candidate interested in joining BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre?

A: There are so many changes happening and opportunities to come. Be part of the change and participate. ​

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