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February 10, 2012
For immediate release

Prince Edward Island attracts new physicians

Health and Wellness

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Since the beginning of the year, five new physicians in a variety of disciplines have relocated their practices to Prince Edward Island, says Health and Wellness Minister Doug Currie.

“Five new doctors in one month is a testament to the hard work of the Department of Health and Wellness Recruitment and Retention office and reaffirms that Prince Edward Island is and continues to be a great place to practice medicine,” said Mr. Currie. “Some physicians, like people in any other profession, come and go because they’re in demand across the country. The important thing is that our province continues to attract talented health care professionals.”

During the month of January, Dr. Tom Bronaugh and Dr. Aaron Sibley began treating patients in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Emergency Department; Dr. Anna Coolen started practicing obstetrics/gynecology in Charlottetown; Dr. Janet Walker was hired at the Cancer Treatment Center as a medical oncology clinical associate; and anesthesiologist Dr. Vandana Vaishnav joined the team at the Prince County Hospital.

Dr. Aaron Sibley enjoyed his one-month LOCUM at the QEH emergency department last May and was keen to come back. He had been living in Edmonton, Alberta the past eight years with his wife Colleen, who recently gave birth to their twin babies Simon and Sophie. They relocated to Prince Edward Island last November.

Dr. Sibley, whose sub-specialty is emergency medical services (EMS,) worked with air and ground paramedics in Alberta. He is now practicing emergency medicine at the QEH, where he enjoys good morale with his new colleagues.

“There is a really collegial atmosphere and good camaraderie with the doctors and a young, enthusiastic nursing staff,” he said. “I knew this would be a place that would be very progressive in emergency care.”

He wants to use his experience and training to help advance pre-hospital care in the province.

“This a real solution to rural issues,” he said. “Health care here is well funded, there is great equipment and people are well trained. I don’t know whether they realize it, but Islanders receive a high level of health care.”

Halifax native Dr. Anna Coolen, who is in her third week of her new obstetrics/gynecology practice at the QEH, is pleased with her decision to set up shop in Prince Edward Island. She and her husband, who is working in orthoptics at the Charlottetown Polyclinic, decided this would be a good place to raise their young family. They considered moving to Fredericton, Kentville or Halifax, but were drawn to Prince Edward Island where she worked as both a medical student and resident.

Dr. Coolen was swayed professionally by the supportive group of physicians and cutting edge medical equipment with which she now gets to work.

“This is a clear demonstration of the success of our medical education program in Prince Edward Island. Having medical students and residents complete rotations within our health facilities certainly supports our recruitment efforts,” said Mr. Currie. “As minister, I welcome these new physicians and want to let them know I intend to work with them to make sure our innovative health system functions efficiently and continues to offer Islanders the best care possible.”

Media Contact: Beth Johnston
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