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Kitchener doctor named Ontario Family Physician of the Year

Photo courtesy of Ontario College of Family Physicians.

The Ontario College of Family Physicians has chosen a Kitchener doctor to receive its highest honour.

Dr. Michael Lee Poy is being named Ontario Family Physician of the Year, for his work to improve health care for the LGBTQ community.

Lee-Poy says when he first started his practice about 11 years ago, a transgender patient walked through his doors seeking help with transitioning. It was in that moment Lee-Poy realized he didn’t have the training or knowledge to provide quality trans care.

“Even though I very philosophically supported this patient and wanted to support them in the transition, I had to seek out additional medical training in that area,” says Lee-Poy. “I realized that there’s a real need for medical education to catch-up in terms of providing that knowledge.”

He says that was the motivation behind developing TransED — an online training program for medical professionals on transgender health, which launched at the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy last year. Along with practising as a family doctor, Lee-Poy holds teaching and leadership positions at McMaster University and its school of medicine’s Kitchener campus.

He’ll will be presented with the Reg L. Perkin award Friday night in Montreal, and says it’s very humbling.

“As a family doctor, we feel very privileged to be in a position where people can approach us with things that they may never tell anyone else, and that we follow them through … their birth and possibly their death,” says Lee-Poy. “With a transgender health education program, it’s really another way to feel like we have the equipped tools to be able to walk in that part of the journey with them.”