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Richard MacLachlan

Richard MacLachlan

MACLACHLAN, Dr. Richard Alexander BSc., M.D., C.C.F.P., F.C.F.P. (68) passed away on Thursday, October 19, at his family home in Freeport, Nova Scotia. He was born on December 1, 1948 in Guelph, Ontario, to parents John Douglas MacLachlan and Hildred Carlene MacLachlan (née Prime). He is survived by his sister, Bonnie MacLachlan, his first wife, Mary Evans, their children Robin and Alice MacLachlan, daughter-in-law Amy Noseworthy, and granddaughter, Emmylou, and by his wife, Stephanie Bell, step-children, Catherine Bell and Ryan O’Leary, and grandson, Jackson.

Dr. MacLachlan graduated in Medicine from the University of Toronto with highest class standing and completed his Family Medicine residency at Dalhousie University. He achieved his Certification in Family Medicine in 1976 and was granted Fellowship in 1988. He served as a staff physician at Dalhousie University and then as full-time clinical teacher in Family Medicine from 1978-85. He was awarded travelling fellowships from the College of Family Physicians and the World Health Organization, leading to studies in Epidemiology and Statistics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He was awarded a Commonwealth Medical Fellowship and was Visiting Professor of General Practice at St. Thomas Medical School. He then accepted an appointment in the Department of Family Medicine at Queen’s University for four years, including as the H.F. Frank Academic Associate in Developmental Handicaps, and as Associate professor, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology. He then returned to Dalhousie Family Medicine as a Professor and was appointed as Medical Director of the Camp Hill Hospital and Halifax Infirmary from 1990-1995. He was made Professor and Head of the Department of Family Medicine from 1995-2005, and was appointed to the medical staff of the new Queen Elizabeth II Health Science Centre.

In Nova Scotia, he provided leadership in the medical management of the 2,400 Kosovar refugees taken in at Greenwood Forces Base; he worked extensively on Aboriginal health care issues and wrote about the primary care initiatives of the Eskasoni Mi’kmaq Nation. Internationally, he visited the Gambia and Sierra Leone with the Nova Scotia Gambia Association on many occasions, supervising health profession students and focusing on interprofessional peer education.

Richard was a dedicated family physician, an engaging teacher, and a passionate advocate for public, community-delivered, health care. He was happiest at home in Freeport, Long Island – preferably tinkering in his garden or his workshop in the barn, and fishing from his dory, always while listening to CBC radio. In honour of Richard’s lifetime of work in medical care for the vulnerable at home and abroad, donations can be made in his name to the Nova Scotia Gambia Association or the Eskasoni Community Health Centre. A private family service will be held at a later date.

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