Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Robert Anthony


Vancouver – UBC/Vancouver General Hospital

Robert Anthony, Clinical Instructor with UBC’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

Can you share a little bit about your educational background and journey, and how you got to where you are today?

I sort of fell into emergency medicine. I grew up in Oakville, Ontario, and four of my neighbours were doctors. They suggested that I get into medicine, and so I did. I’m now 71 years old and I’ve had 45 years in emergency medicine to get to where I am today.

During my studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, I started off in surgery but soon found that it did not suit me. The Chief of Surgery suggested that I take a year off to try emergency medicine, as there was an opening in the Emergency Department (ED). After just six weeks in the ED, I loved it and realized that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

I’ve since worked across Canada with roles in Ontario and B.C., and in Saudi Arabia and the U.S. I relocated to Vancouver at the age of 62, and subsequently considered retiring. However, the staff and faculty at Vancouver General Hospital welcomed me with open arms and I’ve stayed on since then. I’ve loved this experience as it has given me a new lease on life, and I’m grateful to the team for their support.

What impact would you like to see your work have on patients, communities and society at large?

I think that we often look at emergency medicine in a general sense, but we deliver it one person at a time. That connection – how I can help someone and improve their lives – gives me the impetus to continue on and do what I do.

What excites you most about your work? What are you most proud of?

My work in emergency medicine is exciting because it’s always new and different. With each patient, you never know what’s coming through the door.

I’m most proud that my son also works in emergency medicine. He is the head of an ED in Chicago, and I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside him on several shifts.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to current trainees?

Don’t ever take yourself too seriously. At the end of the day, you have to be able to look in the mirror and say that you did the best for your patients today. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we don’t, but all we ask is that you do your best.

When you’re not working, where can we find you?

Right now, you’ll find me playing with my grandkids. You can also find me biking, skiing, at the pool, fishing, and putting together Lego.

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