Dr. Steven Steinberg was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1948 and as a boy was always interested in nature and science. He obtained his BSc at the University of Toronto where he also did work towards his MSc on the molecular causes of inflammation in arthritis and assisted in teaching medical students Histology. He then entered the University of Toronto’s Medical School with advanced standing. After graduating in 1976 he interned at Scarborough General Hospital. In 1978 he and his wife, Wendy Young, moved to Moosonee, Ontario where he was the only physician at the James Bay General Hospital. There he worked with several highly skilled nurses and a Cree translator. Visiting physicians from Queens University in Kingston provided specialist support. He attended daily rounds on his patients in Moose Factory at Moose Factory General Hospital. Their first child was born in this hospital.
In 1980 Dr. Steinberg and his young family moved to North Bay, Ontario where he established a busy general practice in Callander, south of North Bay. His family grew with the birth of their second child in 1983. Around this time, he began learning more about concepts in traditional Native healing, relaxation therapy, acupuncture and Chinese traditional herbal therapies, recognizing their importance for his own health as well as that of his patients’. In 1989, when his wife attended PhD studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, he took a position at Homewood Health Center in Guelph to receive extra training in Addiction Medicine and Psychiatry. After 16 months they returned to North Bay where their third child was born in early 1991. Dr. Steinberg took a year off from medical practice then to become a stay at home Dad when Wendy returned to teaching at Nipissing University. This became a crucial experience in his life, his career and his understanding of the work involved in looking after a child as a full-time endeavour and the stresses affecting women and the few men who stayed at home.
In 1992 Dr. Steinberg returned to full time general practice in North Bay and because of his interest and training in Addiction Medicine he was asked to be a Medical Consultant at St. Joseph’s Treatment Center. Here he gave talks on various aspects of Addiction and was asked to consult on patients with not only addiction, but physical illnesses and psychiatric illnesses combined. During the following 25 years he accepted these complex patients into his general practice. As well as being on active staff at the North Bay General Hospital from 1980-2012, between 1992-1996 he had consulting privileges with the North Bay Psychiatric Hospital. He learned that part of the treatment for psychiatric illness is to remove the stigma associated with it. The simple acceptance of patients with addiction and/or psychiatric illness into his general practice was therapeutic for them. As his experience in working with people suffering from addiction widened, he was asked by the Ontario Medical Association and the College of Nurses to treat health professionals in recovery and relapse which he did as part of his Addiction Medicine practice. In 1992 Nipissing University asked Dr. Steinberg to develop and teach a course in Addiction and Social Welfare, which he taught then and again in 1995.
After attending a course on pain management and prescribing controlled drugs presented by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) in 1999, he was asked to develop a treatment program specifically designed to follow the guidelines of the CPSO to treat opioid addiction in the North Bay area. He was also approached by the Addiction Research Foundation (now CAMH) with the same request. For this reason, at the end of 1999 he approached the new Chief of Staff at North Bay General Hospital and asked to develop a Methadone Maintenance Clinic at the Hospital. This clinic functioned under the umbrella of the hospital until it became embedded in Dr. Steinberg’s general practice thereby diminishing stigma and enhancing trust. In conjunction with this development he was asked to become Medical Director of the Medicine Care Center and soon after was asked to add the role of Medical Director of Addiction and Mental Health to his portfolio. He completed 3 four-year terms in these capacities. He was told at the end of 12 years he missed one Medicine Care Meeting.
During all this time Dr Steinberg was maintaining a busy family practice and raising three children, several dogs, a cat and an exceptional pigeon. He also was father to two children from a previous marriage. Today, a grandfather of 8 grandchildren, Dr. Steinberg has decided to retire from his very busy North Bay practice and relocate to London, Ontario with his wife of 40 years and 3 cats, to be closer to his family and to work at a more balanced pace.
To this end, Dr. Steinberg has accepted an initial six-month contract to work for the South West Ontario Aboriginal Access Center at Chippewa of the Thames First Nations Medical Center. He looks forward to learning about the history and culture of the people at Chippewa and working with them on the health issues they face. He also looks forward to working with the other members of the health care team, including the traditional healers.
Steven G. Steinberg MD
March 2, 2018