Our History

Below is a brief autobiography written by Dr. Robert Blackwood for you to learn more about Blackwood Family Medicine, and for you to understand more about his background and his practice philosophy

About 30 years ago, my wife Catherine and I started our first medical practice in Eastern Canada, where we were living at the time. She managed our staff and bookkeeping while I attended to patients in our clinic and in hospital. Together, Catherine and I enjoyed caring for the needs of our community, teaching Lamaze classes, delivering babies, and making home-visits to the elderly and homebound. As you may know, Canada offers universal healthcare to citizens and permanent residents. The system is funded with tax-dollars and administered by provincial governments. Primary care physicians help reduce the cost of the healthcare system by treating a wide range of illnesses and performing simple and complex procedures depending on their subspecialty. For example, in addition to family medicine, I was trained in obstetrics and trauma medicine. In addition to my role as a family doctor in a town of 10,000, I also made rounds at the local hospital, nursing homes, made home visits, and delivered an average of 60 babies a year. Professionally, it was quite challenging to work under the system of socialized medicine that is in place in Canada, especially in a rural setting (although I understand many improvements have been made since then). On the one hand, I had immensely rewarding relationships with my patients and I could practice medicine in a traditional way. On the other hand, compensation was low, and our growing family required more and more support.

In 1994 we moved to Virginia, hoping to find more opportunities for our children. After five years of practice with two large medical groups–and many concerns about the quality of care they offered–I decided it was time to start our own business. I wanted to practice medicine by putting the patient first, unconstrained by the edicts of executives and bureaucrats who often know little of medicine, let alone the needs of particular patients. So, without knowing if we would succeed or fail, I started this practice and became my own boss. The first years weren’t painless. In order to keep us afloat, I worked nights and weekends as an Emergency Room Physician, and Catherine, in addition to her role as office manager, had the enormous responsibility of caring for our ten children. But over time, we built a thriving practice.

Our business has grown over the years and I believe it is because we have put our patients’ needs first: we are committed above all to caring for them as individuals and to providing them with the highest level of medical attention in the context of an extremely impersonal healthcare industry, in which individuals and their medical needs are often lost while waiting on hold with their insurer or simply ignored in favor of the bottom line. To us, the patient is a real human being with needs, loves, concerns, anxieties, abilities, and all the other complex set of things that go into making each of us who we are. Caring for them is a privilege that I am honored to have. Our philosophy of a medical home–providing personalized, comprehensive, coordinated, and continuous care– is not an empty selling point: it is what we do.

Yours sincerely,
Robert C. Blackwood MD