Killaloe doctor helping people live well with major illnesses

Dr. Blair Voyvodic shifts focus to mental health services

Staff Reporter

Dr. Blair Voyvodic shifts focus to mental health services

Staff Reporter

KILLALOE – A Killaloe doctor is using the the power of communication to help local people through some of their darkest times.

Dr. Blair Voyvodic is shifting his focus from a general practitioner to offering health counselling for major illness, or to put it simply – talk therapy.

January marked Dr. Voyvodic’s 20th anniversary in the Ottawa Valley. He was born in Oakville, but grew up traveling. In the 1970’s, he completed an undergraduate degree in physics at McGill University, and then did his medical training in Ottawa.

A world traveler, the doctor provided his expertise to places around the world, including northern Canada and southern countries.

He said he always knew he wanted to become a physician.

“It really gives you access to working with people at pivotal times in their lives,” Dr. Voyvodic said. “You are very close to people working as a doctor.”

After practicing in Ottawa for five years, he made the move to Valley, where he has been practicing for 20 years. When he came up to the area, he met with Dr. Bruce Harris. At the time, there were only four doctors covering the emergency department and Harris made it clear that any help would be appreciated.

So for his first seven years in the region, Dr. Voyvodic decided to help.

“I started doing emergency,” he said. “The first couple of years I would come out from Ottawa to work in emergency. Then I kind of shifted primarily here [in Killaloe] after that.”
He also helped at the Whitney medical centre, where he still fills in on occasion.

In 2000, there was a citizens group that formed in Killaloe to develop the Rainbow Valley Community Health Centre. The group was successful in getting funding from the Ministry of Health in 2005. Dr. Voyvodic came on board and was a physician there from 2005 until 2010.

“Community health centers are very important to me,” he said. “They deliver the kind of services that people think of from a family doctor but in a different model. Rather than being attached to one doctor, working with a community health centre draws in doctors, nurse practitioners, other health care workers and the disadvantage is that you don’t always see the same doctor, but the advantage is if one person leaves, the centre carries on in theory.“

This story continues in the January 12, 2012 issue of The Valley Gazette.