By GERRY POSNER
With all the devastating fallout from the COVID- 19 nightmare which has taken over all our lives on this planet over the last five months, there is an upside ( for me at least) to it all. Anyone who watches TV and the news of the pandemic has frequently seen two figures cross the screen in interviews.
These two doctors are both a kind of Winnipeg by-product as in Dr. Isaac Bogoch and Dr. Nathan Stall. (The Bogoch story will have to wait until the next issue.)
The name Nathan Stall, individuals who are very 70 will likely remember, was a very prominent Winnipeg businessman heading the well known clothing establishment S. Stall & Son for many years. It is likely the case that some readers purchased clothing from that business in the Peck Building.
Well, that Nathan Stall died sadly in 1986, but his grandson and namesake Dr. Nathan Stall has brought to the Stall family a similar laudable distinction. He is one of the go to experts for issues relating to the elderly. COVID-19 struck hard at the elderly and in particular to those in nursing homes. Likely few were acquainted with these issues better than Dr. Stall.
Stall comes by his medical degree honestly as he has the right pedigree shall we say. For starters, his father is Dr. Richard Stall, a psychiatrist (Why not - as Winnipeg has turned out Jewish psychiatrists by the bushel-load it seems.) and his mother is Dr. Lisa Berger, a public health physician. Both of Nathan Stall’s parents grew up in Winnipeg, Stall in the north end and Berger in the south. Lisa’s father was none other than Dr. Shimmy Berger, a long time dermatologist who worked in the Boyd Building. Given that history, you could say that medicine was in the Nathan Stall gene pool.
Stall graduated medicine from Western University and then completed his residency in Internal Medicine and his fellowship training in Geriatric Medicine at the University of Toronto. It is a fact that not many young doctors are attracted to the field of geriatrics and you have to think that Stall’s father, Richard, as a psychiatrist dealing with the elderly, had some influence on Nathan. But Stall is clear as to the reasons why he chose geriatrics.
First, he says he enjoys the complexity of geriatrics and the fact that geriatrics combines elements of internal medicine, psychiatry and neurology.
Second, Stall has a deep affection for the patient population (a key element to success in any field).
Third, Stall appreciates that his voice is heard and valued in conversations about health policy.
Finally, Stall recognizes that there is a great deal of ageism in society in general and within the health care system in particular. He says he finds fulfilment in his ability to advocate for older adults.
Stall is at present a research fellow at Women’s College Research Institute at the Women’s College Hospital. He is also is on the path to completing a PhD in clinical epidemiology and health care research.
And what is Stall’s doctoral research all about? In a general way, it is to study the health impacts of caregiving for individuals with dementia. How timely is that, given the bulging aging population in the Boomer generation, whose numbers will no doubt affect the rates of dementia in a dramatic way as the years go by?
Stall clearly has the credentials to embark upon his study in this field as he is receiving support from the University of Toronto Department of Medicine’s Eliot Phipson Clinician- Scientist Training Program (that title alone would deter me) and the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship program. Moreover, he has been a staff geriatrician at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto since 2017. His clinical work deals with acute care geriatrics. In short, when you talk old age, this young doctor, Nathan Stall, is your man.
Nathan Stall was quite clear about his love for Winnipeg - where he was born and lived until the age two. He says that he has visited Winnipeg over 25 times and spent many summers at Falcon Lake. He recalls fondly his frequent visits to his grandmother Gert Stall’s apartment in Winnipeg at Hampton Green, also the BDI, VJ’s and of course the ease of getting about in Winnipeg. But most of all, what is clear to me is that the Stall and Berger families had a positive effect on Nathan.
So, I say to all of the readers, like me, who are closer to the end than the beginning, let’s take some solace in the fact that there are young doctors like Nathan Stall to whom we can turn for help.