Professor Emeritus James Low
You won’t find professor emeritus James Low anywhere near a golf course as he gets closer to retirement. You are much more likely to find him in his office at the Museum of Health Care.
Dr. Low, who was the head of Obstetrics and Gynecology from 1965 until 1985, has been one of the driving forces behind the museum, helping create and build it into an impressive facility with more than 30,000 artifacts. And he’s done it all as a volunteer – first as the museum manager and then becoming the executive director.
“Life is made up of all kinds of challenges and facing these challenges throughout our careers creates a lot of satisfaction. I think the same is true for people who volunteer,” says Dr. Low. “So when an opportunity comes that you think is worthwhile, it important to give your time. It’s important to be involved in the community.”
He recently received one of seven Mayor’s Award from the City of Kingston in recognition of his tireless volunteer efforts.
The Museum of Healthcare preserves Canada’s medical past and tries to enhance understanding of the history of health care.
“It is important to know the history because if you understand where we’ve come from, you have a better appreciation of where we are,” he says.
Fifty years ago, about 100 joint replacements were done a year in Canada. Today, the number is up to about 65,000.
“Health care has improved our quality of life and we are living much longer but it’s also much more expensive now,” Dr. Low says. “Joint replacement is just one example why this is so. Understanding why is essential to establish future priorities in healthcare.”
The Museum of Health Care is located on George Street. It is regularly used by academics and Queen’s students who are researching medical history.