"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive."
~ Dalai Lama
Dr. Tim Zmijowskyj's curriculum vitae is several pages long and lists an impressive record of experience, education, research projects and publications, and volunteer work.
But it's his humanity, his sense of caring for people, that the men and women who supported his nomination for a Community Builders Award mention most often.
"To sum up his credo, you could say Tim sees all people as being worthy of our care, compassion, support and acceptance," says Carol Cameletti, an assistant professor at NOSM, who has worked closely with the doctor in the past on clinical practice and research projects.
"Tim's regular review of healthy work environment has led to timely changes in approach and investment to the betterment of his clients. Key to the positive client outcomes are open, frank dialogue and collaboration with allied health workers in decision making, which is espoused in health care today," she adds.
The doctor, who is still in his 40s, has worked with the North East Local Health Integration Network as primary care physician lead, clinical director of Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre, lead physician with Sudbury Family Health Group, and as clinical services director for the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM). He's provided medical services to members of the Second Battalion of the Irish Regiment Canada and inmates at Sudbury Jail. He's helped drug addicts and people with mental health issues.
In 2009 Zmijowskyj was recognized as the Family Physician of the Year for Northern Ontario by the Ontario College of Family Physicians.
Those who were lucky enough to have had "Doctor Tim" as a family physician recall his compassion.
Margaret Hodgins, a nurse, writes, "We came to know him as Doctor Tim and he was everything you would imagine as a family physician: caring, compassionate, intelligent, yet still able to explain things to a non-medical person."
"(Zmijowskyj's) presence has left a large impression on me as being one of the most understanding, approachable and empathetic doctors that I have encountered," writes Janie Pagnutti, a Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) resource worker.
From 2003 to 2008, Zmijowskyj assisted in the development of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine as divisional head of clinical services. He was instrumental in the development and curriculum for clinical faculty and medical students. It was his job to recruit clinical faculty members.
"His role in the administration of NOSM was instrumental in the development of the school in its early days. He was responsible for convincing me to join the medical faculty at NOSM," says Dr. Stephen Kosar.
His research work has involved leading clinical trials related to the determinants of health for Canadians and the development of innovative models of primary care. In November 2012, he completed a two-year study for Health Sciences North's Mental Health Primary Care Clinic. He was the principal investigator after being awarded a $250,000 peer-reviewed research grant.
Although his work has taken him to Ottawa, he still continues to work as clinical director at Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre and teach at the medical school.
"Tim is a role model for colleagues and students as a teacher, as an innovator, as a physician and as healer," says Dr. Jacques Abourbih, associate professor of surgery at the medical school.
"It is hard to forget Tim coming in at 7am or leaving late in the evening carrying suitcases of paperwork."