Spotlight: Dr. David Pontin is named Family Physician of the Year

Blog Post

NTHSSA proudly congratulates Dr. David Pontin for being named one of Canada’s Family Physician of the Year for 2022 by the College of Family Physicians of Canada in early November. The award is received by physicians across the country for their extraordinary work and contributions in their community. Dr. Pontin is the first territorial physician to receive the award.

 “I am deeply honoured to receive this award and I’m truly grateful. What makes this particularly meaningful is that was my peers who nominated me for it.  It is deeply humbling to be recognized in this way by my colleagues who I look up to, whose knowledge and experience I frequently turn to and whose truly heroic efforts have kept the system going these last few years through the pandemic.”

“It is long overdue for a northern family physician to be given this award. You can’t be a family physician in the NWT without being really good at what you do. We don’t have the same resources and support that family docs have in larger jurisdictions, and because we do our work in some of the world’s most remote areas, we’ve learned to provide excellent care to our patients by working at very broad scopes of practice. I’m hopeful that this award will help showcase the creative and innovative work family physicians do in the NWT and help highlight the great opportunities that are available here.”

Zack Bordman, a Family Physician in Yellowknife, who was one of ten people who nominated David said, “Dave is an exemplary colleague, leader, and mentor and is highly deserving of this award. He is dedicated to his patients, his team, the Yellowknife medical community and the Northwest Territories as a whole. He is inspiring to others and his welcoming, relatable, positive, and friendly demeanour encourages others to be their best and come serve the North alongside him, which makes him extremely valuable and highly deserving of recognition as the Family Physician of the Year.”

Dr. Pontin also played an integral role in leading the team for the NWT Family Medicine Residency Program that had received the 2021-22 Premier’s Award for Excellence. “It was an award received for collaboration and it truly was a team effort.  The creation of this program involved communities, Elders, multiple levels of government in the NWT and Alberta as well as many faculty and staff at the University of Alberta.  My hope is that over the years, this program will prove to be a game changer for the NWT’s efforts to recruit and retain physicians here. We have limited opportunities for Northern students to train in the NWT because there is no medical school north of sixty in Canada.  As a result many bright northern med students lose their connection to the community as they go to school for years in southern Canada and few return as a result.  With this program, we hope that it will partially fill this gap and create opportunities for Northern medical students to come home, train here and then stay and practice.”

“These awards are to remind people of the excellence that happens up here every day that sometimes goes unnoticed.”