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Who We Are: Dr. Jamie Milligan

“The bravery I see in my patients every day reminds me to never take for granted the things I do”

Dr. Jamie Milligan, Assistant Clinical Professor, Kitchener-Waterloo

 Making a difference, one patient at a time


Dr. Jamie Milligan knows it’s tough to find a family doctor equipped to care for a patient with a traumatic injury.

He tries to fill that need every day.

Not every family doctor can afford overhead lifts and mechanical examination tables, especially when few people require them.

As a result, some people with severe challenges may lack convenient access to care.

Jamie encountered the problem as a practising physiotherapist for more than a decade before training as a physician.

He graduated from medical school at McMaster University in 2007 and joined the Centre for Family Medicine in Kitchener after completing his residency through the McMaster satellite campus in Waterloo.

When lead physician Joe Lee asked him to develop a full-service clinic for people with disabilities, he jumped in.

“Someone with a spinal cord injury may spend two or three hours just preparing to do a relatively simple activity of daily living – and still, they won’t be sure they can do it,” he says.

“The bravery I see in my patients every day reminds me to never take for granted the things I do – or the work I do.”

Model of care

The mobility clinic initiative has flourished, backed by grant money from the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation and the Rick Hansen Institute in Vancouver, and with additional support from the Schlegel Research Institute for Aging.

Jamie and his team operate four fully equipped and accessible part-time clinics serving more than 500 patients in Waterloo region, including 80 with a spinal cord injury.

He says the biggest initial challenge was developing an approach to help disabled people in doctor’s offices, “because it really hadn’t been done.”

The team is supported by a virtual network of specialists based in Toronto, Hamilton and London as they address the impacts of disability, which can cross multiple medical disciplines.

“The patient is the centre of care and each professional adds their unique piece,” Jamie says. “We hope to be a model of care for other areas who may be underserved in the same way.”

Jamie, who raised two children with wife Natalie, is also an assistant clinical professor with McMaster’s Department of Family Medicine.

Written by: Elizabeth Meen

McMaster University Department of Family MedicineMichael G. DeGroote School of Medicine