Picture of Dr. David Gass at the 2017 NSCFP Awards Banquet in Halifax.

Dr. David Gass at the 2017 NSCFP Awards Banquet in Halifax.

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and the Nova Scotia College of Family Physicians (NSCFP) have lost a friend, a mentor, an individual who stood for the values of family medicine and what it means to be a compassionate family physician.

It is with heavy hearts that we inform you that David Gass, MD, CCFP, FCFP, has passed away due to a pedestrian–vehicle collision in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

While this tragic accident has left all of us at the CFPC and NSCFP devastated, we are buoyed by memories of a man who had a ready smile, was quick to laugh, and made colleagues and staff feel heard and respected. David was a leader and a proud Nova Scotian from a line of family doctors.

David graduated with an MD from Dalhousie University and began comprehensive community practice in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Shortly afterward he joined the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University, where he was a full-time clinical teacher and provided leadership in continuing medical education/continuing professional development, in-hospital family medicine care, and care of the elderly.

His contributions to family medicine left an indelible mark. He served as the chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Dalhousie University and as the chair or a member of several CFPC committees, most recently on the Advisory Committee on Family Practice, the Ethics Committee, and the Family Medicine Specialty Committee. He was also an active member on the NSCFP Board of Directors.

David was a former physician advisor with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, where he led the development of a health human resource plan for physicians in the province. He was influential in the policy development for a provincewide approach to primary health care and in the implementation of the Patient’s Medical Home vision for family practice. He was also Vice President, Medicine, Cumberland Health Authority, and Director, Primary Health Care, Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, where he led the policy development for and implementation of the Primary Health Care Transition Fund in Nova Scotia.

Many of you may know that David was the partner of Dr. Cathy Cervin, the CFPC’s President. Cathy’s CFPC family has formed a circle of care around her and our thoughts are with David and Cathy’s family.

We know that David inspired many and touched countless lives. The Foundation for Advancing Family Medicine (FAFM) has established a fund in David’s name to honour his legacy. All donations received in David’s memory will support an initiative of the FAFM that will be selected in consultation with David’s family. Please visit David’s memorial fund page to make your donation.

“Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality.”—Emily Dickinson