Terrace doctor Sasha Langille-Rowe is being recognized by the BC College of Family Physicians with the First Five Years in Practice Award for her patient care and leadership in family medicine.
Langille-Rowe began her practice in 2018 after graduating from the UBC Rural Family Practice program in Terrace. She said the recognition was “humbling” after being nominated for the award by a colleague.
“It was kind of a special moment. It just made me feel grateful to be able to work in a place like this with so many supportive colleagues and such amazing patients.”
Despite her many accomplishments Langille-Rowe finds it especially rewarding when patients tell her they feel well cared for and supported. She said that’s a key role of family doctors who she called the “quarterbacks” of the medical field.
The healthcare system, she said, doesn’t work for patients without access to family physicians, who are the first point of contact for people when they’re not feeling well or seeking clarity.
“They’re the ones that sort of tie all the pieces together and help support patients through different health journeys,” Langille-Rowe said.
“Without that quarterback it’s really hard for patients to navigate this complex medical system. It becomes hard for the rest of the team to function without having someone who can get the team going and make sure that everyone’s communicating properly.”
After covering a maternity leave Langille-Rowe established her own community practice including working in the office, as a hospitalist with her patients and in the ER.
She’s passionate about addictions medicine and was selected to help establish an Opiate Agonist Clinic (OAT) in Terrace. She has since given community OAT clinics and educational support to the Mills Memorial Hospital (MMH) to implement Suboxone treatment in the ER.
“People who do well at our facility really do recover. Being able to help people through that process is really fantastic,” Langille-Rowe said.
“I hope that we can get more support for addiction treatment in our community. Because I do think we really need more support in that area.”
She said she hopes Terrace will one day have its own detox centre so that patients won’t have to commute to Prince George for those services.
Throughout the pandemic Langille-Rowe stepped up to help care for COVID patients, establishing herself as a central support for not one but two health crises in BC.
After MMH was identified as a COVID treatment centre she volunteered to work clinically at the centre and take on some unpaid managerial duties.
Langille-Rowe has been a local Medical Staff Association president since 2021. She also teaches with the UBC Medical Student Integrated Community Clerkships (ICC) program.
Terrace stood out in the family doctor’s awards this year with two local doctors being recognized. This included Dr. Jaco Strydom, who won the 2022 My Family Doctor Award for the Northern Health region.
Langille-Rowe attributes this success in part to the work environment.
“I think it’s the collegiality, and the fact that we’ve got a great group of physicians who work really well together and who support each other, and who care about the community. It’s really hard to make change if you don’t have that,” she said.
“We’re just like two representations of fantastic medical community here.”
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