Who's Who

HomeATS CommunityWho's Who ▶ Robert Fowler, M.D., MDCM, M.Sc.
Robert Fowler, M.D., MDCM, M.Sc.

When Dr. Robert Fowler, a critical care physician at Sunnybrook Hospital, and Director of Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research at the Dall Lana School of Health Policy, was younger, he didn’t expect to become a physician. In fact, he recalls wondering why anyone would want to work in a hospital, “where people are sick and things smell funny.” Once he began studying human physiology, however, he decided medicine would be an interesting career choice. Today, his work includes both clinical practice and research. Specifically, he focuses on access and outcomes of care for critically ill patients and those near the end of life, in a global context. He’s worked on issues around the world, from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak to acting as a clinical lead for the World Health Organization during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Dr. Fowler was initially drawn to the ICU by the combination of physiology, medicine and near-term results seen there. He’s passionate about his work, particularly about improving the communication and compassion patients and their families receive in the ICU. Some of Dr. Fowler’s work involves bringing critical care medicine to patients who will benefit, even beyond the traditional ICU setting, in resource-challenged places.

Dr. Fowler enjoys critical care because he works with smart, caring, engaged colleagues who have chosen to work in a particularly demanding area. Of the many advances he’s seen, the broadening of what people perceive as “critical care” is the development most important to him. He is happy about the moves being made toward team-based approaches to care, including outreach to other parts of the hospital, an increased focus on end-of-life care, and the inclusion of family on clinical rounds.

An ATS International Conference attendee since 1999, Dr. Fowler notes that it was as a clinical trainee at the conference that he was first introduced to many of the pressing questions and cutting-edge research in the field. He’s appreciative to have participated in the Critical Care Program Committee and served on Assembly Projects and inter-assembly committees. He’s a huge admirer of the ATS Methods in Epidemiologic, Clinical and Operations Research (MECOR) program that has provided academic training to people around the world.

When Dr. Fowler isn’t working at the hospital, he can be found spending time with his wife and son. They enjoy a lot of outdoor activities like ice hockey and skiing, which Dr. Fowler says has at times landed him back where he started – at the hospital, via the Emergency Room.