Hennen, Brian – Dr. Brian Hennen died suddenly Monday, August 30, 2021 after watching women’s hockey with his beloved wife, Margi.
Dad kept it simple. He cared about his family, people in general, and his work. (Okay, maybe politics and sports too… oh and MUSIC.) He attended Queen’s (and wore its colours proudly ever after), and McMaster (where he met Margi), and received a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology at Michigan State.
Brian and Margi have three children: Albert, Leslie (Nemat Sobhani) and Nancy (Bruce Strang). Brian doted on his grandchildren, Shayda (Faraz Ravanbakhsh), Anisa, Noora, Sean, and Marc, delighting in their every accomplishment and especially in their cuddles. He diligently maintained contact with distant loved ones and dear friends worldwide.
Brian was a leader and mentor in family medicine in Canada and around the world. He viewed the family as a key influence on the health of the individual. He worked diligently to have the importance of family medicine recognized in medical schools and in Canada’s health care system. He led the Family Medicine Departments at Dalhousie University and then at the University of Western Ontario. He was one of the first 12 doctors ever to be certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada, was the first chair of its Section of Teachers of Family Medicine, chaired numerous other committees of the College, and acted as President of the College in 1989-1990. He held a number of visiting professorships, and through these and his involvement in WONCA (World Organization of Family Doctors), contributed to the development of family medicine as a discipline in countries such as Australia, China, Israel, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the US , and the UK.
From 1999-2004 he was the Dean of Medicine at the University of Manitoba, the first family physician to hold this position anywhere in Canada. In 2017, Queen’s University recognized Brian’s work by establishing the Brian Hennen Chair in Family Medicine, to foster and enable interdisciplinary research in primary care. He was particularly proud of these last two accomplishments, and in their role of supporting and inspiring other academic family doctors.
As a medical student at Queen’s, Brian spent summers working at the Ontario Hospital in Hamilton. He performed various tasks in the laboratory and on the wards, enjoying learning from his interactions with both patients and doctors. On the half-day a week that he could choose what to do, he worked on a locked ward of women with schizophrenia, engaging the patients in various activities including taking them out for walks on the hospital grounds. This experience contributed to his lifelong interest in the care of people with developmental disabilities. Following his retirement as Dean at U of M, Brian remained focused on advocating for the right of people of all abilities to be heard and supported, and to live happy, fruitful lives. He worked tirelessly to build a support system that provides continuity of care for these patients. He collaborated with other experts in the field to create Canada’s Consensus Guidelines for Primary Care of Adults with Developmental Disabilities. He also helped to establish the Dalhousie Family Medicine Adult Developmental Clinic in Halifax, and funds in Manitoba and Ontario supporting the education of health professionals who wish to do further training and research in this area.
Brian was a loyal Dartmouthian. He was an active member of Grace United Church in Dartmouth. Alongside Margi, he was a longtime member of the church choir, and together they built a community of friends there that brightened many a day with singing, discussion, and bridge. He was instrumental in forming the Inclusive Choir which made a joyful noise Monday nights at Grace United. The Circle of Willis book club was also very important to him in recent years, as a valued opportunity to continue professional and philosophical dialogue with fellow physicians.
Listening was an integral part of almost everything he did. He listened to the concerns and questions of his patients, his students, his friends, and even sometimes his family, and he did everything in his power to help them all. As one colleague noted, “He exuded the persona of the kind and gentle Family Physician in all that he did as an educator, administrator, and leader.”
He left us a legacy of kindness, compassion, mischief and music, and he never saw a three no trump contract he wouldn’t attempt.
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September 15 2021
Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de Brian Hennen September 15 2021..
Décès pour la Ville: Upper-Musquodoboit, Province: Nova Scotia