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‘We need hundreds of Dr. Hougesens’

Hazelton doctor wins award from the BC College of Family Physicians.

Hazelton’s Dr. Bent Hougesen received the My Family Doctor Award from the B.C. College of Family Physicians in early June.

“I felt pretty special,” Hougesen said about winning the award. “All along I’ve just been doing my job.”

My family doctor award is given to doctors who have great relationships with their patients.

Hougesen has been working in the Hazeltons for 25 years. He started at Wrinch Memorial Hospital and went on to open up his own clinic in 2005.

But after 13 years, Hougesen decided to close his clinic at the beginning of the year because he felt he was getting too old to continue his practice full time.

“I give Dr. Hougesen credit for making arrangements from my mom’s immediate surgery for her cancer,” former patient Pamela Mikolayczyk said. “When he announced his retirement my mother’s first words were, ‘we’re all going to just die now’… She continues to express how she misses him, the treatment he gave to her.”

In 2005, Hougesen brought the Starting Smart program, which educates expectant parents and those with newborns on proper childcare, to Hazelton.

“To have a starting smart program that he initiated to get here has impacted a lot of lives,” former patient and employee Cheryl Mikolayczyk said. “As each generation has grown and gone through the program and learned the importance of education, reading to babies … it’s helped and touched a lot of lives in a lot of ways.”

In his spare time, the doctor is very involved in Hazelton’s music scene.

He’s an active member of the Hazelton Community Concert Band. For over 10 years he’s organized a benefit concert that has musicians from all over the North attend for the Hazelton Food Bank on Easter.

Each Sunday he plays the piano for the Salvation Army church. He also attends various celebrations and ceremonies in the community such as birthday parties, cultural days and death feasts.

“I ate my Wheaties in the morning,” Hougesen said of his ability to do so many different things at once. “I worked quite hard, but I mean lots of doctors have done that before me.”

Currently, Hougesen is fixing up his clinic’s old building so it can be sold. Once the sale is complete he plans on doing locums for the Province, which means he’ll replace any doctor that needs to take some time off work.

“You’re not just a patient to him. He makes you feel like you’re wanted and cared for,” Cheryl Mikolayczyk said. “He takes the time to actually listen to what you’re saying and that’s the kind of doctors we need. We need hundreds of Dr. Hougesens.”