Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Robert Baird

Dr. Robert Baird

Clinical Associate Professor
Residency Program Director
Division of Pediatric Surgery

Why did Dr. Baird pursue a career in medicine?

Dr. Baird wanted a career where he would be helping people and medicine seemed like a great way to achieve this. From a young age, he was inspired by his uncle, a recently retired orthopedic surgeon in Winnipeg.

What was it that attracted him to the area of pediatric surgery?

He was attracted to surgery because it was something tangible with immediate results. Pediatric medicine and surgery involves a unique, triangular relationship between the clinician, the patient and also the family – a connection that for him felt very normal and natural. 

What does he consider to be the biggest advance in pediatric surgery in recent years?

Not so recently, the ability to feed by vein (total parenteral nutrition) allowed surgeons to operate on children and expect survival for a wide variety of problems that would not otherwise have been possible. More recently, though not a surgical advance specifically, has been the formation of multidisciplinary teams and protocolized care in pediatric oncology which has led to many successes.

In addition to his clinical work, is Dr. Baird involved in research?

He is just beginning to build up his research in BC since moving here in summer 2017. He engages in systematic reviews of available evidence to look at various surgical conditions in children. He also has a keen interest in patient-centred outcomes and has designed a technology tool to support and reduce the anxiety for families and patients between the ages of 4-10 as they prepare for surgery. Myfirsturgery.com is currently available as a website and on iPads though he is hoping to make is available for iPhones.   

Who are his heroes?

On the personal side, his mother has been an inspirational caregiver raising her own children, providing support to her aging mother, and caring for an ailing husband. A more publically known hero of his is Terry Fox, who was never defeated by his disease and even today, long after he died, continues to help the fight against cancer.

You did most of your training at McGill. What brought him out to BC?

 He did some of his residency in BC and got a taste for the climate and lifestyle. Most of his extended family has moved out this way and his wife’s family is in BC too.

What is Dr. Baird’s greatest fear?

He joked about drowning in the swim portion of his upcoming first triathlon next March, but then expressed that as a parent of a 4, 9 and 11 year old that you are constantly fearing for their health and safety – even with an incredible wife who happens to be a pediatrician.

When not practicing or doing research, what does he enjoy doing in his spare time?

He really looks forward to spending time with his family– he’s trying to keep up his guitar skills so that he can teach them. For the most part, he’s hung up his soccer cleats after playing at a high level for years, and has turned to distance sports like running and cycling.

When asked if there was anything else to share, what did he say?

He feels it is a privilege to join the pediatric surgery team at the BC Children’s hospital as well as the wider community of surgeons at UBC; he’s been so warmly welcomed to the group.