Duncan doctor receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Psychiatrist Dr. Robin Routledge is honored for contributions to rural medicine

Dr. Robin Routledge of Duncan was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2024 Rural Health Awards on May 24.

Routledge, who received the Rural Specialist Merit Award last year, received the honor at the awards, which were part of the BC Rural Health Conference in Whistler.

READ MORE: Duncan doctor receives Rural Specialist Merit Award

Routledge is a rural psychiatrist who has served the uncharted territory of the Cowichan tribes for the past forty years. Through compassion, dignity, mutual education and self-respect, he has improved the mental health of some of the community’s most vulnerable members while providing team-based mental health care from the Cowichan Lodge Tertiary Mental Health Facility. Routledge, who admits he felt a little embarrassed by the honor last year, has changed his stance but not his humility with his recent award.

“The awards are not about what I think of myself, but about what a very large group of people think of me, so I now realize that I don’t have to be ashamed that someone thinks I’m full of myself,” said Routledge. . “The awards presented are important to rural healthcare communities as they too recognize important values, values ​​that were important to most of the 500 people at last week’s ceremony, but also to the 700 who attended last year. Both awards have identified the values ​​in my life story, and while this may come as a surprise to some local people, it is unlikely to be the case for those who have worked closely with me. served.”

Through his role as a core member of BC’s Rural Coordination Centre, Routledge has championed the role of specialists at the provincial level in supporting primary care physicians and multidisciplinary teams. Routledge has led clinics in the Cowichan Valley that functioned as therapeutic communities where participants could improve their health.

Routledge’s continued commitment to the rural communities of the Cowichan area is also evident in his hard work in developing and supporting the Orcas Society; the development and support of the Cowichan Community Health Network, his relentless focus on homelessness, plus his continued advocacy, approach and acceptance of patients with mental illness.

Routledge’s wife Lou Mackey couldn’t be more proud of her husband for receiving this honor and knows he will continue to give back to the community even after his retirement.

“He doesn’t want to lose his connection with people and projects,” Mackey said.

Other rural health heroes honored at the 2024 BC Rural Health Awards included the City of Dawson Creek, which received the Rural BC Community Award, and Dr. Svetlana Hadikin of Rossland, who received the first Resident Leadership Award. Winners of both the Rural Community and Lifetime Achievement awards received a plaque and a $2,500 cash prize for a community celebration, while the winner of the Resident Leadership award received free registration for the Rural Health Conference. Routledge donates his cash prize to the 39 Days of July 2024.

“We are incredibly grateful for the contributions of our 2024 Rural Health Award winners,” said Dr. Ray Markham, executive director of BC’s Rural Coordination Centre. “We are always amazed by the innovation and ingenuity of our rural health teams, and this year is no different. I congratulate our winners and thank them for their efforts.”

“I was a different man and Cowichan Valley was a different place when I arrived 40 years ago,” Routledge said. “I had been working in mental health care for seventeen years before that. I have learned a lot over the years and had a lot to learn – I am still learning.”