Peter L. Twohig
Canada Research Chair in Atlantic Canada Studies
Tier 2 - 2003-07-01
Saint Mary's University
Data collection and analysis regarding the roles of health care workers in Atlantic Canada.
Informed additions to the debate on health care reform and restructuring.
Mining the Maritimes' Health Care History
As in most areas of endeavour, the past informs the present and future of Canada's health care system. Understanding the evolution of our health care system, including the division of labour among the various types of health care providers, can provide important insights into contemporary ideas of professional identity, team-based multi-professional models of care and other issues.
In his brief career, Dr. Peter Twohig has developed a broad-based expertise regarding the history of health care in Atlantic Canada. His approach has been to focus on the delivery of health care by understanding how professions in this field are formed and how various health professionals interact. In 1998, he published a history of the Dalhousie University School of Nursing, and his forthcoming second book, On The Bench, examines the role of Maritimes medical laboratory workers in the first half of the 20th century.
His research program will extend his existing work, producing two more books, on health care workers in Atlantic Canada and a history of public health in Nova Scotia. The former will be a comparative analysis of x-ray technicians, laboratory workers, physical and occupational therapists, and dieticians between 1900 and 1968. Dr. Twohig will explore areas such as the nature of expertise, the gendering of health care work, models of professional education and interprofessional relationships in the clinical practice setting. The latter book - his fourth - will combine new municipal case studies on public health in Halifax and Truro with existing research on industrial Cape Breton and southwestern Nova Scotia.
A third project will address the evolution of evidence-based medicine in the context of family practice. In this area, the research blends Dr. Twohig's interest in the history of health care professionalism with issues of contemporary clinical practice.
Taken together, the three streams of his research will have implications for our understanding of health services and the emergence of the welfare state in Canada.