At the end of November, Dr. Steve Richie retired from his full-time orthopaedic surgeon practice in Brantford. It is a career he says has “been great and fabulous” and he leaves
with some ambivalent feelings.
Dr. Richie became keenly aware of osteoporosis back in 1995 when he heard Rheumatolgist, Dr. Rick Adachi speak at a conference in Newfoundland. Dr. Adachi predicted that if nothing is done to address osteoporosis and reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures or ’fragility’ hip fractures in particular, the resulting tsunami of fragility fractures would incapacitate the health care system across Canada. A few years later he heard Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr. Earl Bogoch speak about the focus on osteoporosis at St. Michael’s Hospital. Following this, as the President of the Ontario Orthopaedic Association, Dr. Richie invited Dr. Bogoch to a meeting where an initiative was discussed to develop a program called “A Lucky Break”. The emphasis of the program was to address osteoporosis within Ontario. This lead to the hiring of a co-ordinator, an information on brochure being developed along with a tear-off pad focusing on the importance of vitamin D and calcium, which was used in fracture clinics to support parents connecting with their family physicians about their bone health.
In 2005 the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care launched the Ontario Osteoporosis Strategy (OOS). Working closely with Ravi Jain, Director of the OOS, Dr. Richie became an advisor to the OOS and identified orthopaedic surgeons at hospitals across Ontario who would become Champions for the Fracture Screening and Prevention Program (FSPP), through the OOS.
He developed a job description for Orthopaedic Champions, provided support to the surgeons when the Strategy was in its initial stages and presented data/updates regarding the FSPP at the annual Ontario Orthopaedic Association meeting. Dr. Richie developed a personal interest in Osteoporosis when his healthy, active wife was diagnosed after a Bone Mineral Density Test…he was absolutely surprised!
Over the years Dr. Richie has noticed an increase in his parents’ awareness of this ‘silent killer’. He attributes this heightened awareness to increased information within the media as well as the topic of osteoporosis now being included in the curriculum for family physicians in Ontario.
He mentioned that things are constantly changing in medicine and that it is important to keep ‘moving forward’ to address fractures and osteoporosis. He sees a new generation of orthopaedic surgeons who are tuned in to osteoporosis and fractures. He states that “anything we can do to decrease fractures is a good thing.” Dr. Richie plans to assist on surgeries a few times a month during his transition to full retirement. After which he plans to continue skiing and travelling. He thinks he will explore joining a gym and most importantly keep active so he “stays out of his wife’s hair”. We extend our gratitude to Dr. Richie for his support and commitment of the Ontario Osteoporosis Strategy.