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Niverville Docs Awarded for Excellence

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The Burnetts Crop
Drs. Mairi and Chris Burnett had been awarded Medals of Excellence by Doctors Manitoba, an organization that works to provide resources and support to physicians working in Manitoba. The Burnetts

A pair of doctors who have been fixtures in the local healthcare community for more than a decade have been awarded and honoured for the work they do to deliver care to the residents of Niverville.

On May 10, it was announced that Drs. Mairi and Chris Burnett had been awarded Medals of Excellence by Doctors Manitoba, an organization that works to provide resources and support to physicians working in Manitoba.

The married couple have operated the Open Health Niverville clinic in town for years and Mairi says one of the things that has always set them apart from other practises in the province is the consistent sharing of ideas and information between all the physicians who work at the clinic.

“There is just a great team spirit here,” Mairi says. “And it’s great because we are all willing to cross boundaries and knock on the doors of those with other areas of expertise and say, ‘Can I talk to you about this patient and what they might need?’ When you have that really good interaction back and forth, ultimately the patients get better care. We are utilizing the experience of everyone to help us care for our patients.”

The couple moved to Niverville in 2005 and began working to set up their practise. Mairi says that from the moment they arrived in town they knew they wanted to create a healthcare clinic where physicians worked as a team and shared ideas and knowledge.

“Chris and I really like the concept of integrated healthcare and the integrating and mingling of all the services,” Mairi says. “So we got to work on creating our vision and it worked very well, and the practise took off at the same time that the community was really growing.”

Mairi adds that she and her husband are sometimes uncomfortable with the idea of awards, as they simply do what they do to provide care and not to be recognized, but they both very much appreciate the honour.

“It was a huge honour,” Mairi says. “My husband is really not into awards and honours, but I truly believe he is a visionary and his vision for the clinic has come to life over the years and it’s not just a vision anymore. To see that develop has been great for us, and we have been working as a team to facilitate this, so this is really a team honour for everyone involved with the clinic.”

Mairi had her own health scare recently, as in the fall of 2019 she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in her bone marrow.

She took a leave of absence at that time but returned to work in November 2020, as the cancer is now in remission.

Mairi says that the support of friends, colleagues, and the residents of Niverville have helped her to get through what was one of the most difficult periods of her life.

“That was a real challenge, but there was so much support,” she says. “The town and the people have all been amazing. They have been so supportive.”

The diagnosis also left the future of the clinic in doubt as the couple weren’t sure if they would have the means to keep it running, but in the winter of 2020 the Town of Niverville stepped in and purchased the clinic to allow it to stay open and allow the Burnetts to continue working.

“It’s been an excellent partnership, and it’s allowed us to keep doing what we do and continue providing care in the community,” Mairi says.

In a statement, Doctors Manitoba president Dr. Kristjan Thompson says that the organization feels it is important to recognize local doctors for the work they do, which is even more important this year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our healthcare systems.

“In this pandemic year, we are celebrating doctors who have helped protect us from, and others who have continued to care for their patients despite, the disruptions and uncertainty the pandemic has caused,” Thompson says.

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