About Dr. Wheeler

Dr. Stephen Wheeler has been an Emergency Room Physician for 22 years. During this time he has worked in various areas of emergency medicine. Since 2001 he has been involved with the Vancouver Island Health Authority, initially Chief of Emergency in Victoria, then Department Head and Director, then in 2009 became an Executive Medical Director. He is also Medical Director of and Air Transport Advisor to the B.C. Ambulance Service’s air ambulance program. He has been a member since its inception of the civilian transport advisor group providing advice and training to the Canadian Armed Forces Physician Assistants Program.

Since joining the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) in 2001 as Director of Trauma, Dr. Wheeler has been instrumental in implementing and achieving accreditation of a regional medical trauma system for Vancouver Island, instilling ultrasound in southern Vancouver Island emergency departments, and in developing the Helicopter Autolaunch Program for southwestern British Columbia — the first such automatic emergency air response program in Canada.

Dr. Wheeler completed his Emergency Medicine residency at Highland General Hospital in Oakland, California, where he retains full Emergency Medicine privileges and as an attending physician and clinical instructor supervises physician assistants for 2 weeks every year. He is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine.

Over the past five years, his many lecture topics have ranged from helicopter autolaunch criteria and trauma centre accreditation to high-altitude illnesses. His professional interests include wilderness medicine; he is currently Medical Director for Canada West Mountain School, one of the nation’s top mountaineering centres, providing medical expertise for high altitude expeditions.

He currently serves on the British Columbia Provincial Trauma Advisory Committee and the VIHA Medical Advisory Committee. In addition, he is chair of the BC Ambulance Service’s Critical and Non-Critical Transport Advisor Committees.

His recent awards include the B.C. Ambulance Service Excellence Award in 2007, the VIHA Excellence Award (for Trauma Team Development) in 2007, the B.C. Public Service Technology Award for Innovation (for his contributions to computerization of emergency departments) in 2006, and the B.C. Emergency Health Services Commission Certification of Appreciation in 2005. In 2009 he received a national award from the Canadian Surgeon General; the Health Services civilian-Military Cooperation Award for contributions to the military Physician Assistant Program.

Dr. Wheeler attended high school in Sidney, BC and now lives in Victoria with his wife and two children, where he has been a staff Emergency Physician at Royal Jubilee Hospital as well as Victoria General since 1991.