The medical profession’s understanding of the unique medical problems experienced by people who live and work in rural and isolated areas of this vast province has been improved by Dr. Harvey Thommasen.
Born in Youbou on Vancouver Island, he worked as a family physician in Bella Coola before moving to Houston in B.C.’s Central Interior. Despite living far from any university, his research has been published by several prestigious medical journals on topics including salmon bite infections, Grizzly Bear maulings and rural physician burnout.
He also writes for the wider public audience and has had several books published including two which won literary prizes – Grizzlies and White Guys: The Stories of Clayton Mack, and River of the Angry Moon: Seasons on the Bella Coola. A comprehensive genealogy he put together for the Nuxalk people of Bella Coola is now used for their potlatches.
Dr. Thommasen has won numerous medical awards. He has been involved in many natural history projects on subjects including the Vancouver Island Marmot, the Roosevelt elk, Grizzly Bears and sea-run cutthroat. Young doctors who have read his writing have learned that practice in rural areas can be rewarding, exciting and full of potential for important research.