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Dr. Joseph Lee - Centre for Family Medicine

Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your organization?

Dr. Joe Lee is a family physician who works at the Center for Family Medicine, which is an academic family health team that provides primary care services in the Waterloo region. As the largest family health team in KW4, the organization serves approximately 27,000 individuals and also provides a variety of other programs for patients of other family doctors in the community. Dr. Lee is proud to be a part of an organization that is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the community by offering comprehensive and compassionate medical care to patients.

What drew you to the Centre for Family Medicine originally? And how has the Centre for Family Medicine changed since?

The Center for Family Medicine has a rich history, and Dr. Joe Lee was drawn to it as part of the original group that founded the organization back in 2005. It was one of the first family health teams in Ontario, and Dr. Lee and his colleagues were instrumental in creating it. The center was established to provide interprofessional primary care services, as well as, clinical education, research, and innovation. Over the last 18 years, the organization has expanded significantly, training a high number of family physicians in the region, and spinning off other organizations such as, the eHealth Center of Excellence and the MINT (multispeciality, interprofessional team) Memory Clinic model. These spinoffs have led to the establishment of over 120 memory clinics across Canada. The center has also been involved in outreach with many institutions, including advocacy work for refugee health. The organization has achieved much success over the years, with many team members receiving honors and recognitions at the provincial, national, and international levels. Dr. Lee finds it enriching to be a part of an organization that has made a positive impact on the community.

What do you like most about Centre for Family Medicine?

Dr. Joe Lee finds that the people at the Center for Family Medicine are what he likes most about the organization. He admires that the team has a common goal of genuinely helping people and sharing their knowledge and experience with others. They are not afraid to try new things and adapt to changing circumstances. Dr. Lee feels honored to be a part of an organization that is filled with authentic and dedicated individuals who are committed to making a positive impact on the community.

Can you tell us what your role is with the OHT?

Dr. Joe Lee's primary role with the Ontario Health Team is serving as the chair of the steering committee, a position he regards as an honor and privilege. In addition to his responsibilities with the OHT, Dr. Lee also serves as the board chair and lead physician at the Center for Family Medicine. As a clinician, he provides care to patients, while also teaching family medicine residents and other health professional students and conducting research in both clinical and administrative domains. His multifaceted role keeps him constantly engaged and busy.

How does your organization align with the values and goals of the OHT?

The Center for Family Medicine has always been committed to collaboration and partnership, aligning with the values and goals of the Ontario Health Team (OHT). Prior to the OHT, the center was heavily involved in the Health Links Project, and has since partnered with various institutions including McMaster University, University of Waterloo, Laurier, Conestoga College, and the Research Institute for Aging, among many others. The center also partners with healthcare agencies and primary care colleagues, and involves preceptors and other professionals in their teaching. The culture of teamwork is woven into the fabric of the center, and they aspire to see this spirit of collaboration extend to the greater healthcare system through the OHT.

What do you hope to see in the near future with your continued partnership with the OHT?

Dr. Joe Lee expressed his hope for a continued strong partnership between the OHT and his organization, with a particular focus on embracing collaborative care in primary care. He believes that the OHT provides an opportunity to address the inequities in the system, particularly in non-team based primary care. Dr. Lee sees team-based care as a way to improve the resources and opportunities for patients and reduce overall healthcare spending. He also mentioned that the center has opened some of its programs to the public and hopes to see all offerings available to every citizen in KW4.  


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