Now considered as one of the best family doctors in Terrace, Dr. Jaco Strydom moved to the community from South Africa with his family in 2004 — with initial plans to stay for a couple of years.
But he’s not planning on going anywhere any time soon. “The community kind of grows on you and 17 years later we’re still here.”
Over the years Strydom has connected with patients in a special way and shares a passion for horses through his work with the Therapeutic Equestrian Horse Riding Association.
Strydom has now worked in primary care for the past 17 years in Terrace, and was awarded the College Coin from the BC College of Family Physicians in 2018.
This year Strydom is being celebrated by the B.C. College of Family Physicians (BCCFP) with the 2022 My Family Doctor Award for work with patients.
The annual award celebrates the doctor-patient relationship that supports good health. Five family physicians nominated by patients are selected annually — one from each health authority.
Strydom said he felt “honoured, humbled, proud, excited and grateful” for the recognition.
“Primary care and being a family physician is a calling that brings me a lot of joy. The ability to treat my patients as an extended family is what makes it possible for me to do what I do,” Strydom said.
“That support and appreciation from the community means a heck of a lot.”
BCCFP President David May said they have received hundreds of letters from patients sharing how essential their family doctor is to health and quality of life.
But according to research released by the BCCFP, almost one-million British Columbians don’t have, and can’t get, a family doctor.
May said family medicine is in a “state of crisis” and an effective primary care system needs to include family doctors.
“Evidence shows that having a family doctor who knows you and cares for you over time results in better overall health outcomes, higher patient satisfaction, and fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits.”
Strydom said those relationships with patients are also rewarding for doctors.
“Being a full time, full service family physician, I provide primary care, I do a lot of obstetrical care for my practice, as well as the community and I work in emergency as well,” Strydom said.
“That gives me an opportunity to provide continuing care for my patients and the community across the board and on a variety of different levels.”
Strydom said an important focus now is attracting new young doctors into family medicine.
“I do believe it is our role as the older generation of family physicians to accommodate people in our line of work so that they can achieve their goals.”
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