Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)

UPDATE: Queen presents Nanaimo doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup

UPDATE: Nanaimo’s Dr. Steve Beerman was presented with a Royal Life Saving Society award by the Queen herself.

Beerman, the 2020 recipient of the King Edward VII Cup recognizing outstanding contribution to life-saving, was honoured with a virtual awards ceremony earlier this week.

Queen Elizabeth II asked Beerman a little bit about drowning prevention and he told her that there are an estimated 235,000 drowning deaths worldwide each year.

“It’s a very compelling and challenging issue, but it does have significant, inexpensive … interventions which we are trying to share as widely as possible,” he said.

The Queen said it was “very nice to hear about” the “very important” work.

Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the RLSS, said Beerman was being honoured for “outstanding national and international leadership in the drowning prevention field for more than four decades.”

PREVIOUSLY POSTED: A Nanaimo doctor is being lauded by organizations here and across the pond for his medical work and advocacy for drowning prevention.

Dr. Steve Beerman, who retired from Anchor Family Medicine centre in March, is being awarded the King Edward VII Cup from the Royal Life Saving Society, recognizing outstanding contribution to life-saving. He was also recently awarded the Dr. David M. Bachop Gold Medal for Distinguished Medical Service from Doctors of B.C., for his contributions to organized medicine and community service.

Beerman helped to establish the UBC family practice residency program in Nanaimo, which serves as an apprenticeship for new doctors. A family doctor in Nanaimo for 34 years, Beerman said he helped set up the residency program “from scratch” in 2007. The Nanaimo site was established as the community was struggling to recruit and maintain family physicians. The program helps to place 16 resident doctors in Nanaimo for two years, with eight graduating each year.

“These are people who have finished medical school and they’re doing two years of family practice training in Nanaimo, and then they get licensed to be family physicians … there’s exams they have to write during that period of time and they have experiential learning opportunities, nearly exclusively based in Nanaimo,” said Beerman. “They work both in the hospital and the community setting and about 50 per cent of them end up staying here.”

There is a lack of family doctors in Nanaimo despite the residency program, and Beerman said the issue is complex. There isn’t actually a lack of family doctors, but a lack of family doctors “doing full-spectrum, community-based, family medicine,” he said.

“There’s many family doctors in Nanaimo who are not doing that, who are doing hospital-based medicine or a sub-specialized form of family medicine in the emergency department or in the cancer clinic…” Beerman said. “Where we’ve had difficulty is getting people to do community office-based family medicine, which is what the community needs most of, which is why there are some 20,000 people in Nanaimo who don’t have a family doctor at the moment. That’s been the difficulty and the reason probably is that it’s very challenging work.”

Better collaboration between government funding mechanisms and community need is what is required to remedy the situation, he suggested.

A passion for Beerman, a former lifeguard, is life-saving. His work includes serving as principal investigator of the Bangladesh Anchal and SwimSafe child drowning prevention research study. He has also served as an advisor to the World Health Organization’s global report on drowning and for the United Nations. He said the UN general assembly is expected to pass, this coming week, a resolution on drowning prevention which will provide guidance to 194 countries.

“That’s one of the many sentinel events that I’ve been working towards for a long time,” said Beerman.

READ ALSO: Family doctors stress fundamentals in COVID-19 fight


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter



Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Just Posted

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

A section of proposed Harbourfront Walkway between White Eagle Terrace and Battersea Road. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo’s proposed walkway extension project estimated at $25-30 million

City asking for feedback on concepts to connect Departure Bay Beach and ferry terminal

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

The rainbow flag flies beside the Canadian flag outside the University of the Fraser Valley’s Chilliwack campus on June 26, 2020. Monday, June 14, 2021 is Flag Day, and also June is Pride Month. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

Most Read