Encouraging Dr. David Wilson to talk about his six years at Waterloo is easy. He fondly reminisces about the varsity swim team, Friday afternoons at the Grad House, inspirational faculty such as Mike Sharratt, Mike Houston, and Howie Green; and two “invaluable” degrees in kinesiology.
These degrees laid the foundation for a medical career and Wilson says he’s “amazed at the continual relevance” of his Waterloo education. “Waterloo is where I learned to learn,” says Wilson. “Approaching situations as a problem to be understood and solved was key then, and is key to health care.”
Decades later, Wilson, a lifelong learner, said goodbye to his family practice in West Vancouver in search of a new challenge. He now enjoys the “constant challenge and unpredictability” of his job working for Vancouver Coastal Health as a locum in inner city and urban clinics. Wilson works with marginalized patients including the transgendered, youth, and those suffering from addiction. “In one recent afternoon, I assisted a parolee, a university department head, sex trade workers, a transgender genetics researcher, and a young gay deaf patient wanting to get married.”
Beyond his day job, Wilson volunteers his time and medical expertise to organizations including Doctors Without Borders. “The profession of doctor – a title understood around the world – is my proverbial passport to many communities and people,” says Wilson, whose travels have taken him to South Sudan, Guyana, and Nepal. Wilson also serves as a locum in Hay River, Northwest Territories. As in many of developing countries he has visited, there are no diagnostic resources in the isolated community, challenging him to rely solely on his honed clinical skills and judgment.
Energized and inspired by his patients, peers in the health care field, and above all his wife Barb, Wilson says he looks forward to the next challenge and won’t be slowing down anytime soon.