Dr. Barry Bruce
Dr. Bruce received his MD from UWO, and established a family practice (and a family) with Dr. Carol Bruce in Carp Ontario in 1973. He was Chief of Staff ,Queensway-Carleton Hospital, Lead Physician West Carleton FHT, (awarded Family Practice of the Year, 2010), received the Ontario “Physicians Care Award”, carried the Olympic Torch for the CMA, received “Family Physician of the Year” for the Champlain Region and the Order of Ottawa, both in 2013.
Professionally, he does primary care clinical work, planning, and research, leads a local Primary Care Network, works on various LHIN and MOHLTC committees and was a clinical running instructor. He leads the “Physical Activity and Therapeutic Exercise” team for the West Carleton Family Health Team, and is the clinical lead for a Community paramedic program embedded in the WCFHT.
As co-chair of the "Rural Healthy Living Coalition" (RHLC), nutrition, food equity and food insecurity were important agenda topics. This lead to the development of a working group of local food experts and advocates, and eventually spawned the development of the Deep Roots Food Hub.
- What made you want to be a part of the Deep Roots Food Hub?
I am aware of the importance of nutrition and the determinants of health and I am a part of a family health team that practices in West Carleton. West Carleton has been declared a “food desert”, so food insecurity is expected to be higher than other areas because certain people find it more difficult to find fresh food and to store it.
I am a part of the Deep Roots Food Hub because there’s an opportunity to greatly improve the food system in West Carleton. It greatly interests me to think about how we might improve the food system by linking production, storage, distribution, and education.
- What does food security mean to you?
Food insecurity means a greater likelihood of poor health, and has been linked to obesity in adults and children. Obesity is linked to many diseases like diabetes, poor maternal and prenatal health, poorer fetal outcome and other cardiovascular diseases.
It also affects the health care system because they have determined that food security costs a health system three hundred to a thousand dollars per year per person.
- Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
There was a family physician Dr. Ian McWhinney who was important in the United Kingdom. He went to the medical school in Western Ontario to show the science of family medicine. He was one of the major factors of why I chose to be a family doctor because he made it sound interesting and useful.
- What has been the most influential moment of your life?
I was Chief of the Queensway-Carleton Hospital for a few years. I became interested in the role of care in hospitals and secondary aspects like specialization which helped me hone my administrative skills. You cannot just practice medicine straight out of school; you have to have an influence or control over how and where you practice and the resources that you can bring to bear on the behalf of your patients.
- What is your proudest accomplishment?
The accomplishment I am most proud of is growing the practice from a bare field to a family health team that serves roughly 18,500 patients and was awarded the best family practice in Ontario in 2010. The family health team includes exercise, psychologists, pharmacists, dieticians and those are very helpful to our patient population .
It links to the Deep Roots Food Hub because it allows a patient who might be struggling financially or otherwise to experience a positive change in their health if they have access to reasonably priced produce that is available year round. Rather than just treating the outcomes of nutritional problems, it is best to try to prevent the problems in a population of patients by creating a more favorable setting for good nutrition.
The whole purpose is make these resources fairly distributed in West Carleton so everyone has the same opportunity to eat well.
- What goals are you working towards in terms of your professional career?
We’re always trying to do the best for the patients who are members of our practice. It seems that one way we can do that is to improve the determinants of health that are non-medical but have a great influence on someone’s health.