Chronicle Herald: DR. HOWARD CONTER: Philanthropy helps patients, builds critical mass of talent at QEII

Dr. Howard Conter

Originally published on


I have faced many obstacles throughout my 34 years of family practice, but I often turn to one solution that can have a profound impact – philanthropy.

When I was asked to join the board of trustees at the QEII Foundation, I knew that I could, in essence, really put my money where my mouth was. I have a true passion for fundraising and I take my role on the board seriously. I happily lend my ability to raise money to a cause and to an organization that I believe is a leader in changing our health-care system.

I do my part to raise funds for projects that are having a direct impact on enhancing our health-care system as a whole, inclusive of the needs of our patients.

But if you’re looking to ask people for their hard-earned money, you also must be willing to give. I think physicians in general believe that we are providing a special service to the community, and by doing so, our job is complete.

But our job shouldn’t stop there. It can’t. If you’re a physician in town and you want to see change, then you need to be part of the change.

That is why initiatives like the most recent QEII Foundation campaign to bring Atlantic Canada’s first hybrid operating room to the QEII is essential in changing heart health care. I am a proud donor to that campaign because I believe in our system and I give to make sure it is the best it can be.

“If you build it, they will come,” as they say.

The QEII Health Sciences Centre is already known as the centre for tertiary care throughout the Maritimes. As such, this province, Halifax more poignantly, needs to continue to grow upon that reputation and continue to be a shining light for medical services.

To do that, we need to have the ability and space to continue to attract that best and brightest minds. With top facilities will come top talent and the smartest minds in medicine. With them will come proper funding for their research. More talent will inevitably follow and that’s how you continue to develop a centre of excellence.

And as a linked relationship, we as family physicians will have the brightest minds to send our patients to for care and treatment. We will have an increase to advanced facility access which would lessen, if not cure, our problems when it comes to patient wait times.

For me, that is the reason to be interested and involved in health care and giving to the QEII Foundation. I believe in philanthropy and the fact that we all play a role in building a health-care centre of excellence at the QEII. We deserve to attract the best people, the brightest minds and therefore, better treatments for our region.

Dr. Howard Conter is a Halifax family physician and QEII Foundation board member.