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Dr. Jim Dosman to enter Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

Dr. Jim Dosman, a pioneer in the field of agriculture medicine, deflects credit when asked to talk about the announcement of his induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

“It’s very humbling and much appreciated, but it really recognizes all of the people who I have worked with in the field of agriculture and farm safety,” said Dr. Dosman, of Saskatoon. “I’m just lucky to have had my name put forward when so many people in the field deserve recognition. It’s very humbling.”

Dr. Dosman has been called the “father of agricultural medicine” for his leadership and contributions to rural medicine. His work is credited with improving the health and lives of millions of people around the world.

Born in Humboldt in 1938 and raised on a farm, he received his medical degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1963, practised as a family physician in Saskatoon for four years and followed that up with a residency in internal medicine and respiratory medicine and a post-doctoral fellowship at McGill University in Montreal.

Having been raised on a farm, Dr. Dosman says he recognized early on the need to improve health and safety issues in agriculture. For example, farmers and elevator agents were breathing in huge amounts of grain dust sweeping out granaries and transporting the crop from the bin to the market.

 “I grew up on a farm and I guess my understanding of farming and empathy for farmers stems from that,” he said.

In 1975 he became founding head of the division of respiratory medicine in the Department of Medicine. In 1977, he convened the first ever International Symposium on Grain Dust and Health, one of many meetings he organized on agricultural health and safety.

In 1986, Dr. Dosman founded the Centre for Agricultural Medicine, and in 2006 he became founding director of the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture, which has more than a dozen worldwide partners focused on research, education and health promotion of agricultural and farm health issues. In 2011 he established the National Agricultural Industrial Hygiene Laboratory. All of these institutions are at the University of Saskatchewan.

Dr. Dosman was founding chair of the forerunner to the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, and spearheaded the Canadian Agriculture Safety Program, which is supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. He established the Agricultural Health and Safety Network in Saskatchewan, a farm safety program involving 30,000 families in 215 rural municipalities.

Dr. Dosman has held more than $18 million in research grants since 2000 and has written more than 280 peer-reviewed publications. He is currently president and CEO of Agrivita Canada Inc., a non-profit company he helped form that promotes research, public health and safety in agriculture through the Canadian AgriSafety Applied Research Program.

An honorary member of the Canadian Medical Association, Dr. Dosman has received many honours including Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada , Officer of the Order of Canada and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. He has been inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame. 

Specialist in sleep medicine

Not one to slow down, Dr. Dosman retains his connections to the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture. He continues to practise medicine and in 2013 became a certified specialist in sleep medicine, a field that dovetails neatly into the areas of medicine that became his life’s work.

“Now we’re looking at the relationship between sleep deprivation and injuries to farmers,” he said, noting farmers are generally older, overweight men – the same demographic that tends to have issues with sleep.

“That’s pretty interesting,” he said.

Dr. Dosman will be inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame on May 2, 2019, in Montreal.

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