New Development Fund Aims To Attract Health Care Workers To Muskoka


The Muskoka Community Foundation recently announced the creation of the Dr. William S. Monk Community Health Care Development Fund in memory of local physician, Dr. William S. Monk.

The intention of the fund is to support initiatives to attract, develop, and retain primary health care workers in the Muskoka region. It will support doctors, specialists, nurses, nurse practitioners, PSWs, dental health care professionals, maternity and post-partum caregivers, mental health professionals, aging-at-home workers, end-of-life carers and death doulas, and additional healthcare workers as needed.

The fund was created by Dr. Monk’s daughter, Kathryn, to honour her father’s legacy as a general practitioner and surgeon who served Muskoka for over 55 years.

After finishing medical school at the University of Toronto in 1951, Dr. Monk and his wife, Margaret, moved to Gravenhurst, where he first worked as a family doctor.

Realizing there were no local specialists to treat patients further, he returned to medical school to train as a general surgeon. He then returned to Muskoka, settling in Bracebridge, and became an integral driver of efforts to build a new hospital where the current site is located.

Dr. Monk treated thousands of Muskokans, permanent and seasonal residents alike, and
delivered over 500 babies.

“My father’s patients took precedence over all other areas of his life,” said Kathryn Monk. “He was extremely dedicated to serving Muskoka as a doctor, and he sacrificed much of his personal life to ensure generations of Muskokans were cared for.”

Grants will be awarded to local qualified donees and charitable organizations that are working to support the development of sustainable primary health care outside of a hospital setting.

The first initiative will entail working with the Township of Muskoka Lakes, and community-minded partners and service clubs, to attract a successor to the only doctor in the Township, who is retiring imminently.

Additional calls for proposals will occur in 2024.

“My purpose in establishing this fund in my father’s name is to empower communities and individuals to participate in finding solutions to the primary health care crisis in Muskoka,” said Monk. “We are often only presented with public or private health care system approaches to these issues, both of which have limitations, as we know. I’d like to propose a new option to compliment current efforts; a community-centric approach where we all have a say in creating sustainable health care in Muskoka, and where folks can come
together in unique partnerships to find practical solutions.”

The Dr. William S. Monk Community Health Care Development Fund has an initial $150,000 seed investment.

The Muskoka Community Foundation is one of 200 community foundations in Canada administering over $1.8 million in endowed and flow-through funds. Since it was founded in 2007, the foundation has granted over $1 million directly to registered charities throughout Muskoka.


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