College leadership announcement

College registrar and CEO, Dr. Heidi M. Oetter, has announced her retirement at the end of this year after serving as a deputy registrar and then registrar for 19 years. After an extensive national search, the Board is pleased to announce her successor, Dr. Patrick David Rowe.

Heidi M. Oetter, MD

Dr. Heidi M. Oetter joined the College as a deputy registrar in 2004 and was appointed to the position of registrar and CEO in 2008, accountable for ensuring compliance with statutory obligations, implementing and monitoring the policies and strategic direction set by the Board, and managing the daily operations and administration.

Dr. Oetter has been recognized for her accomplishments as a medical leader provincially and nationally. In addition to past positions on the Board of the British Columbia Medical Association (now Doctors of BC) and the Canadian Medical Protective Association Council, she currently sits as a member of the Board of the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada, council member of the Medical Council of Canada, member of the Executive Committee of the BC Health Regulators Society and chair of the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities.

Dr. Oetter has accomplished a great deal during her time at the College. While there has recently been a surge of women rising to the top of Canada’s medical regulators, she was the first. In 2015, Dr. Oetter was recognized as one of Canada’s most powerful physician leaders by The Medical Post and in 2019, she was nominated for the YWCA’s Women of Distinction Award in the health and wellness category.

She has played a key role in responding to the recommendations in the In Plain Sight report and has been steadfast in her commitment to address and dismantle the Indigenous-specific racism that still exists in health-care delivery.

Dr. Oetter will continue her work on medical boards and committees following her retirement and is looking forward to spending more time pursuing personal interests in sport and entertaining friends and family.

Patrick D. Rowe, MD, CCFP (EM), FCFP

Dr. Patrick D. Rowe, an emergency room physician, is very familiar with the mandate and work of the College. He has been a board member since 2013, sat as chair of the Board for two terms (2017 to 2019), and has served on many of the College’s statutory committees, including the Inquiry Committee, the Registration Committee, the Finance and Audit Committee and the Executive Committee.

With over 30 years in practice, Dr. Rowe will bring a wealth of medical leadership experience to the position―most recently as medical lead of emergency and trauma services for Northern Health Authority. Dr. Rowe also currently serves as department head for the University Hospital of Northern BC in Prince George.

The College will also benefit greatly from his extensive knowledge of the health system, including specific issues facing British Columbians today such as access to quality medical care. He has strong, positive working relationships with partners across the province, and like Dr. Oetter, has a deep commitment to improving Indigenous health and well-being and furthering the College’s truth and reconciliation efforts.

Dr. Rowe will begin his tenure in early December and will work closely with Dr. Oetter, the Board and the senior management team to ensure a successful and seamless leadership transition.