Dr. Robert Buckman
It is with profound sadness that the Faculty learned of the recent passing of Dr. Robert Buckman. Dr. Buckman was a beloved medical oncologist at the Princess Margaret Hospital, and Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He qualified as a physician from Cambridge University in 1972 and completed his training in medical oncology at The Royal Marsden Hospital in London, including laboratory research leading to a Ph.D.
In 1985, Dr Buckman emigrated to Canada to join the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. In 1994 he was made Canadian Humanist of the year and in 2003 received the Fleming medal of the Royal Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Science. Throughout his career, he wrote many articles on various aspects of medicine and oncology, concentrating in the last fifteen years on doctor-patient communication and breaking bad news. An undergraduate course on breaking bad news, which he designed and taught, was recognized with a University of Toronto Aikins Teaching Award in 1989.
Across our campus, the grief is immeasurable. Dr. Buckman touched so many lives and had a significant impact on his patients, colleagues and especially on our students. He will be deeply missed. We extend our sincere sympathies to his wife and family.
Submitted by Dr. Sarita Verma, Deputy Dean of Medicine
Dr. Howard Dombrower
On Sunday October 2, 2011, Baycrest and the University of Toronto’s Division of Geriatrics lost a dear and beloved colleague, Dr. Howard Dombrower. Howard - or Howie as he liked to be called when being addressed informally - did his geriatric training at the University of Toronto which he completed in 1998 and I hired him as a staff geriatrician in that same year. From the earliest days of his career Howard demonstrated an inordinate energy and desire to take on new tasks and challenges and quickly made his mark at Baycrest with his ability to engage in administrative leadership positions in the Hospital and in the Home for the Aged where he held medical program director positions. He held many positions at Baycrest including being a member of the Community Outreach Team and being medical program director of the Rehabilitation Program.
In 2011, Howard assumed the role of medical program director of the new Slow Stream Rehabilitation Program, a novel undertaking at Baycrest and was named Executive Medical Director of the newly expanded Rehabilitation Program. As might be expected, he demonstrated his usual dedication and commitment to the patients enrolled in the program and to the multidisciplinary staff with whom he worked.
Howard also served many external organizations especially in York Region including the Unionville Home Society and the Markham Stouffville Hospital; in both organizations utilizing his expertise in geriatric medicine and administration. He was an enthusiastic educator with a talent for giving talks to audiences large and small and used his ambulatory clinic as an active site for teaching. He developed special educational interests in dementia and incontinence - two giants in geriatric medicine. He was a life-long learner and often brought new ideas to the department and endeavored to be sure that as a group we were up to date on many aspects of geriatric medicine.
For those of us at Baycrest who worked closely with Howard over the almost 15 years that he was either in training or on staff, what endeared him most of all to us was his indomitable energy, ability to take on new challenges and the absence of “no” from his vocabulary. His wit and playfulness were cherished by all who worked with him and many of us liked to drop into his office for a few minutes “chat” during a busy day as, by the time one exited, it was likely that it would be with a laugh at a good story and some new twist to the political landscape. I had the good fortune of being his direct neighbour when I moved my office to the clinic area following my retirement from the VP Medicine role. This meant I was so close to him we shared a common wall and, most important, we could drop in on each other for a good “kibbitz” and always a good laugh.
Howard was a devoted physician who cared very much about his patients, his colleagues and his family, especially his three daughters. He was a beloved member of the Baycrest family, the University of Toronto community and the network of those in Canada who practice geriatrics as we are still a small and very cohesive group. He will be missed by everyone who had the good fortune to know him, work with him, share in his life or be cared for by him.
Submitted by Dr. Michael Gordon