Family Physician, Father, Outdoor Enthusiast
“I have one of the most predictable schedules I’ve ever had as a doctor; calls are well organized, and I have a normal routine that is manageable. I am working with a great group of medical professionals at the Kensington Health Centre and the Harbourside Health Centre, and the Prince County Hospital is one of the nicest hospitals I have ever worked in – the staff are so friendly and motivated.”
Dr. Ken White was born in Canada, grew up in Africa, completed his training in New Zealand, and practised medicine in places like Australia, South Africa, and Belgium. To say he’s seen a lot in his career would be an understatement.
But now, 17 years since he started working as a physician, Dr. White is living on PEI and working as a family physician in Kensington. And he’s never been happier.
Ken was living in South Africa when he and his wife, Ilse Tack, decided they needed a change. They knew they wanted a place they could settle and raise a family but weren’t sure where they wanted to go. That’s when Ken connected with Health PEI.
“They made the process very smooth. Within days of that first contact, I had a skype interview and immediately arranged a site visit. At the same time, I was offered a job that I had applied for in Australia where my sister lives. But PEI won the toss up. In the end, we wanted to live in Canada.”
Dr. White was recruited to PEI in March 2020, arriving just prior to the very first lockdown. Isle and their three children were still in South Africa.
“They actually left South Africa in a hurry, shortly after me, because of a family emergency in Belgium. They arrived in Belgium the day before the airports closed down. We had to spend four months apart before they were able to come to PEI, quarantine, and reunite with me but it wasn’t too bad. I was just relieved we were all safe and together again.”
Ken’s family spent the summer swimming, walking and canoeing in the Stanley Bridge area while he learned more about his patients and colleagues.
Dr. White said he was surprised at the range of medical problems he’s been treating on the Island and finds the variety and challenge quite invigorating.
“It keeps me pursuing learning resources and consulting with my colleagues. I feel fortunate to have such a great team to work with here. In fact, it’s one of the appeals; morale is high, and the conditions are good.”
Ken said his intentions are to stay put on PEI. His wife, who is also a physician, hopes to start practicing medicine again once their children are a little older. For now, she is enjoying time at home with Ruby (8), Vincent (7) and Michek (3). But that doesn’t mean they don’t miss their former life.
“As a family we think of South Africa often, very fondly,” Ken said. “There were lots of highs and lows during my hospital work there, but I developed a lot as a physician, and I value all of the experiences I’ve had. It was very long, demanding hours though, which is one of the reasons it was the right decision to come to PEI with my family. I have a good work-life balance here.”
Dr. White said he’s been impressed with how PEI has handled the COVID-19 pandemic and feels fortunate to have arrived on the Island when he did. He said it’s helped keep things in perspective as COVID-19 restrictions continue.
“I came from a situation where health resources were much more limited than they are in Canada. Healthcare delivery is as good as it gets here, in my opinion. I hope PEI residents are able to recognize that and find ways to appreciate their country, their province’s pandemic response and the overall healthcare system.”