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SRPC Executive


Dr. Gavin Parker - BSc, MSc (Med. Ed.), M.D., CCFP (FPA), FRRMS
SRPC President (2025-2026)
Pincher Creek, AB

Dr. Gavin Parker is a full-scope rural family physician who holds Certificates of Added Competence in Family Practice Anesthesia and Emergency Medicine.  He has practiced in Pincher Creek for over a decade. He is the father of three wonderful children and husband to his even more wonderful wife Jennifer.  He has chaired numerous national medical educational conferences, has obtained an M.Sc. in medical education, and is the board chair of the Alberta Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP).  He serves his community through positions such as medical director for the visitor safety program in Waterton Lakes National Park and Castle Mountain Ski Resort, is the Pincher Creek Health Centre Medical Director, and Jennifer and Gavin run the Barracuda Judo club in town.  He holds black belts in karate and judo, enjoys golf and soccer, and is proud of the medical team in his community.  His most recent venture outside medicine has been co-founding Lost Things Distillery in Pincher Creek where he serves as the CAO (Chief Agitation Officer).

Past President

Dr. Sarah Lespérance - MD, CCFP
Past President (2022-2024)
Petitcodiac, NB

Dr. Sarah Lespérance is a rural generalist physician, currently practicing in Amherst, Nova Scotia and Nunavut. After completing residency at Dalhousie University, she worked extensively in northern Canada, with locums in the Yukon, Labrador and Nunavut, and then living with her family in Happy Valley-Goose Bay Labrador, and in Iqaluit, Nunavut.  Following this, she practiced in Petitcodiac, New Brunswick and has recently joined a shared practice in Amherst, Nova Scotia, and returned to work in the North. Sarah has been actively involved in medical education, holding several site leadership positions at Dalhousie and Memorial Universities, and currently teaches medical students and family medicine residents for Dalhousie. She is involved in research, and true to the generalist mindset, this has included areas such as rural physician wellness and resilience, latent tuberculosis treatment in Nunavut, developing a competency-based curriculum for rural operative delivery, and factors impacting womens' choices of maternity care provider. She has held multiple leadership and advocacy roles, and has spoken at provincial, national and international forums on issues related to rural health equity, training and education, and rural maternity care services.

Sarah is married to Fraser, who has been actively involved in the SRPC's Rural Physician Partners of Canada. They have two children, and when she is not working, she can be found long-distance running, organizing local highland dance competitions, or heading out with her family hiking, cross-country skiing, camping, or moving water canoeing.



Tobermory, ON

Dr. Elaine Blau is a proud U of S alumnus ('91), rural doc, Asst Clinical Professor with McMaster Dept of Fam Med and SRPC member. Across her thirty year career she has enjoyed practicing in rural communities in southern Ontario, as a locum in Inuvik NWT, and in teaching practice in Hamilton. From 2004-2016 she was Rural Residency Director at McMaster, instituting a SIM med day annually for rural residents and successfully doubling rural residency CaRMS spots over that period while building, supporting and encouraging rural faculty teaching within that program. Since residency, she has been a member of various CFPC committees addressing rural curriculum and competencies, involved in program evaluations & accreditation and more recently co-chaired SRPC's Rural and Remote Annual Conferences 2019-2022. Dr. Blau is in rural clinical practice and supervises trainees on the beautiful Bruce Peninsula where she is also Lead Physician for their two-clinic Family Health Team. She also enjoys knitting, painting, photography and cycling, as well as kayaking and paddle-boarding from her front doorstep.

Dr. Merrilee Brown - MD CCFP FCFP FFRMS
Port Perry, ON

Dr. Merrilee Brown is an enthusiastic rural Family Physician who has worked in Port Perry for over 25 years. She has a vibrant office practice, works in ER and as a hospitalist and does palliative care, urgent care, OR assist and nursing home medicine. She is an enthusiastic teacher of rural comprehensive family medicine for Queens, UofT snd NoSM has won several teaching awards, all mentioning her baking skills.

She is married to Steve Gray, local OHT chair and clinic CEO, and has nearly launched two children. She loves to ballroom dance, hike, ski and cook for large numbers of people. She is planning on transitioning to cross Canada rural locums in her semiretirement in the next few years.


Dr. Stacy Desilets  - MD FCFP
New Liskeard, ON

Dr. Stacy Desilets is a rural generalist in the beautiful lakeside community of Temiskaming Shores. She attended medical school at the University of Toronto and completed residency training in North Bay before set up practice just down the highway from her childhood home. She has been an active medical educator with NOSM University and has held a number of administrative roles including (recovering) Program Director of NOSM’s Family Medicine Residency Program. This is her first position with the SRPC.

Outside of clinical life you can find Stacy in a variety of places including the back row of the community band where she tries to play her highschool trumpet, at the Nordic ski club where she can no longer keep up with her kids, or volunteering with the local Air Cadet Polaris 355 squadron.


Leigh Beamish

Hinton AB


Leigh Beamish has been a rural generalist practicing in Hinton, AB for the last 10 years. She is passionate about medical education and training the next generation of rural physicians. She is an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Alberta and involved in coordinating the Integrated Community Clerkship rural longitudinal clerkship program. She is also involved as Co-lead of the local Primary Care Network and area representative to the Zone Medical Staff Association. This is her first role with the SRPC.

Aside from medicine, she is busy with her family and enjoys spending time outside in the mountains. She is always looking for an opportunity to travel and spend some time in an ocean.


John O'Connor

Edmonton AB


Dr. Emmanuel Abara -  MD, FRCSC, FACS, FICS, FWACS, MSc.CH. Associate Professor-NOSM University
Richmond Hill , ON

Dr. Emmanuel Abara Graduated as a Gold Medallist in Community Health, Ibadan. Trained in General Surgery in Benin City and Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Completed Urology with some post-residency fellowship training at the University of Toronto. Since 1989, has practised as a consultant Urologist at various Ontario Public Hospitals with a passion for rural and remote patient - centric care using available technology, e. g. Telemedicine (OTN)

Has been instrumental in setting up and running a chain of satellite rural urology clinics in Northern Ontario- a platform for teaching and mentoring learners and health care professionals from NOSM and others on elective for a rural health experience

Engaged in varied clinical, medical education and research activities, he has been in administrative and patient advocacy positions. A past President of Medical Staff at Timmins & District and York Central Hospitals, member of the Foundations; one time Secretary and Chair of OMA District 5, member Audit (OMA); Co-Lead, T-C LEG (NOSM/NOAMA); Founder/Director, Northeastern Ontario Urology Update Inc.
Keen supporter for generalist curriculum and training for primary health care professionals. Global Health/Surgery initiatives has taken him to several LMICs over the years. He is involved in the communities- Patient Support Groups and other Not-for-profit groups. Married to Nkeiru and blessed with Erinma, Oge, Uko and Oriaku

Officers of the society are elected as per the bylaws at the annual meeting. Other volunteers from across the country help to make the work of the Society of Rural Physicians happen. These are your contact people. Please pass information, questions and problems through them for discussion at our monthly teleconference. The outcome will come back to you via the rural news, this website, the RuralMed mailing list, or directly via your representative. We can always use more manpower and ideas. If you have feel you have something to contribute, let us know!