A fitting tribute

- September 22, 2005

Richard B. Goldbloom
Dr. Goldbloom described the accolade as "deeply touching."

The name of Dalhousie's chancellor, one of most celebrated figures in Canadian pediatric medicine, is going up in lights at the children's hospital he has served since 1967.

The IWK Health Centre in Halifax has announced its new addition will be known as the Dr. Richard B. Goldbloom Research and Clinical Care Pavilion.

"Flattered and deeply touching," was the way Dr. Goldbloom described the accolade. "I nearly fell over," he confessed, when the surprise announcement was sprung on him at a special gathering convened by the IWK board of directors.

The salute really acknowledges a long-standing perception: the IWK and Dr. Goldbloom have been so closely linked over the years that in the public mind they have become nearly inseparable.

From 1967 until 1985, Dr Goldbloom was physician-in-chief and director of research at the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital for Children, an antecedent to today's IWK Health Centre. Concurrent with those appointments he was professor and head of the Department of Pediatrics at Dalhousie University. Since then he has continued as professor of pediatrics at Dalhousie University and as an active member of the IWK's medical staff. In 2001 he added the job of Dalhousie's fifth chancellor to his portfolio. A shrewd intelligence coupled with a warm and affable nature have made him popular with countless students, colleagues and parents, at home and abroad.

Under Dr. Goldbloom's guidance, the community children's hospital he took charge of in the late '60s with its four-member pediatrics department, grew into a world-class regional children's medical centre with facilities for first-rate treatment and research. His innovation and leadership, notable on so many fronts, helped pioneer a role for families in the care of hospitalized children, and for the first time made it possible for any Nova Scotia parent to obtain a pediatric consultation without travelling more than 50 km from home.

International acclaim followed, bringing with it numerous professorships and lectureships, taking him as far afield as Oxford, Shanghai, and Tel Aviv and to many parts of the Commonwealth, the United States and Canada.

While honours have piled up in parchment and hardware for his many achievements in pediatrics and for his community involvement in areas as varied as promoting children's literacy and the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, this is the first building to be named for him. "It's great to be given such a nice monument when you're still on the green side of the turf," he said.


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