After 41 years Dr. Grant Hill still loves the foothills
Health: Okotoks a great place for rural doctors says long-time doctor
By: Darlene Casten
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 03:48 pm
Dr. Grant Hill was a fresh-faced physician and surgeon when he was recruited to work in Okotoks 42 years ago.
Hill had just finished his schooling in Edmonton when Dr. Morris Gibson, the namesake of Okotoks Crystalr Ridge public elementary school, called him up.
“He had lost his daughter and was looking for someone to replace him,” Hill said, adding Gibson’s wife Janet was also a local physician. “There were just too many memories.”
Hill had been introduced to Gibson through a mutual friend and he knew of the area because when he attended high school in Calgary he would come out to eat with friends at a popular restaurant in town.
As it turned out that building was vacant and Hill opened up his first practice – the Sheep River Medical Clinic.
“I had a full family practice,” Hill recalled. “I delivered babies, counseled families, did physicals.”
He worked with other doctors and eventually they moved across the road to a bigger spot, which is still used as a doctor’s clinic to this daytoday.
Having a nearby hospital was a big draw for Hill because it meant he could apprentice under another surgeon.
“I chose Okotoks because it was a small community with access to a hospital where I could do surgeries.”
Hill said as an avid sportsman and outdoorsman he enjoyed the foothills to the fullest. He also enjoyed the small- town feel.
“It is a nice place to work and play,” Hill said. “I would walk to the clinic every day and know everyone I passed.”
As he and his wife began having their own growing family – they had six boys and, one girl and a foster child – Okotoks became home.
“It was a great place to raise a big family,” Hill said.
Hill took a break from the profession from 1993 to 2004 when he was the area’s member of parliament.
He returned and has since moved to a quiet ranch just outside of town.
Although Okotoks has grown and changed over the years, Hill said it still has the charms of a small town and the outdoors is not too far away.
“I still like the fact that the staff I work with are friendly,” he said. “And my wife is safe. Crime is low.”
Hill now works inat the Okotoks Urgent Care Centre urgent care at the Okotoks Health ad Welness Centre during the day and performs minor surgeries across the hall at the ambulatory care centre in the Okotoks Health and Wellness Centre..
“My life is a little more structured now,” he said. “There are no more house calls, which was a big part of my life before.”
Transition ?? There are plenty of reasons new doctors should consider coming to Okotoks, Hill said.
“There are lots and lots of young families here,” he said. “They need doctors who love kids and can deliver babies.”
Doctors from around the world have come to work in Okotoks, he points out, adding they add a skill set for other doctors in the area to draw from.
“We have attracted some international doctors, from South Africa for example,” he said. “They have very similar training and have skills we don’t have.”
The area is perfect for people looking for a job outside of urban centres, he continued.
“If you are a rural Canadian physician Okotoks is a great place to live and work.”
CONCLUSION???: Hill should know.