Roger was a remarkable, wonderful, likable person. He was a mentor and role model for me when I started practising medicine. An early proponent of preventive medicine—it seems odd now, but back then it was revolutionary to be interested in health rather than disease—Roger helped co-found Integrated Health (now InspireHealth).
We worked together on health promotion activities that included traveling to high schools and middle schools to talk about the huge quantities of sugar consumed by the average Canadian (at that time it was 125 lbs per year). We emphasized basic exercise and the vital role of vegetables and other real food in maintaining health.
Roger highlighted the importance of making basic healthy choices in daily living long before research revealed lifestyle factors behind the progression of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. One salient point Roger would make was how young soldiers dying in Vietnam who had lived on degenerative Western diets already had plaques in their arteries, while the Vietnamese did not have these same deposits.
Most of Roger’s concepts of basic health and diet have now been substantiated, but at the time—prior to supportive scientific research—they stepped on complacency, the corporate nerve, and the status quo. Nevertheless, by practising kindness, Roger always managed to state his mind and be progressive without alienating his audience.
I lost touch with Roger in the nineties and did not see him again before he died, but he is remembered with wonder and fondness.
—R. Winona Rowat, MD
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