Originally from Newfoundland, Dr. Tania Sullivan moved to Antigonish, Nova Scotia to complete her undergraduate degree at St. Francis Xavier University (St. FX) before completing medical school at McMaster University and residency at Dalhousie University. Through her own volunteer efforts as an undergraduate student, she found a personal connection to Antigonish’s close-knit community and even made contacts in the medical community that continued on to become peers. 
“I fell in love with Antigonish as a StFX student,” she says. And, as fate would have it, she met her Antigonish-born husband while they were both in Ontario. It was an easy decision to return to the community and raise their family. 

Dr. Sullivan has worked as an emergency room physician at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital since 2006. Today, she also spends her time as a hospitalist and running her passion project, a training and simulation room, in the hospital. Her practice is enriched by working closely with colleagues who prioritize high-quality care, some of which were once professors and mentors. 

This is the nature of Antigonish, she says. “Not only do I know everyone that goes up and down the hallways, but more importantly I feel supported by them. We share information and complement each other, which I feel is unique to a small environment.”

She credits the local relationships she and her family have been able to create with the rewarding life they live in rural Nova Scotia. While she is working in a smaller town, she is only two hours from the city, the airport, and her home province of Newfoundland which she visits each year. She credits the local university with providing Antigonish amenities that offer her family everything they need without much reason to leave. Her five children benefit from a great education system and an abundance of sporting activities like hockey and basketball. 

“They say ‘it takes a village,’ and this is village,” Dr. Sullivan boasts about her community members. Her free time is spent mountain biking, taking in outdoor sports and ‘the Keppoch’—a multi-use trail on the town’s  outskirts—, enjoying Antigonish’s culturally-diverse restaurants and markets, and playing on a women’s Tuesday night basketball team.

Working in a small community allows her to be flexible around her role as a busy physician. “I have a maximum six minute drive to work. This means I can teach a class at the gym in between shifts, or check on my children if they are home sick.” The work-life balance that is possible in Antigonish, according to Dr. Sullivan, is what has made this town “home.”

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