It’s not every day that you get to sit down with the federal Minister of Health to discuss the future of medicine and health care but that’s exactly what happened at this year’s Canadian Medical Association General Council in Vancouver. Medical students, residents and new-to-practice physicians had the exclusive opportunity to meet with Dr. Jane Philpott, the federal Minister of Health, to discuss the key issues facing the next generation of the medical profession.
“Being able to have the opportunity to meet Dr. Philpot and hear her speak was a definite highlight of the weekend for me,” explained Bryce Barr, a medical student at the Max Rady College of Medicine and former MMSA representative to the Doctors Manitoba Board of Directors.
This year, Doctors Manitoba was proud to send its largest number of medical students, residents and new-to-practice physicians (8 in total) as part of its General Council delegation.
Dr. Kristjan Thompson, having attended General Council once before in 2013 when he was the Co-President of PARIM, returned to GC this year as a new-to-practice ER physician and noted the changing demographics.
“Having attended CMA GC in the past, the most remarkable thing that struck me was the engagement and impassioned participation of medical students, residents, and new-to-practice attendings. Never before has the CMA been so receptive and engaged in key issues that directly affect trainees and physicians transitioning into practice. I was particularly impressed with the spirited discussion regarding strengthening resiliency in medical training and practice. There have been many great efforts by various Provincial Housestaff Organizations (including PARIM) to promote physician wellness and resiliency in training, and to see this issue addressed on a national scale (and contextualized as it pertains to all practicing physicians) is both encouraging and long overdue.”
That sentiment was echoed by Dr. Adriana Krawchenko- Shawarsky. “Being a resident myself, it was inspiring seeing all the other medical students, residents and new in practice attendings in attendance. I felt as if the CMA was very interested in hearing and learning from our unique perspectives.”
“It was quite incredible how receptive the GC was to the student perspective” noted Gurmeet Sohi, the current MMSA representative to the Doctors Manitoba Board.
General Council, sometimes called the ‘Parliament of Medicine’, is a gathering of physicians from across Canada to discuss the issues of the day. Topics ranged from the impact of climate change on health to resiliency in training and everything in between.
“It was great to be with the leaders of the professions in one room,” said Dr. Maha Haddad, Co-President of PARIM. “The discussions covered a large number of topics including governance and emerging issues, shedding light on the current landscape of medical practice in Canada. Thanks to Doctors Manitoba, we were able to be a part of that!”
General Council also provides medical students, residents and all physicians the ability to connect with colleagues throughout the country to talk shop, form new relationships and plan for the future.
“Being at GC presented an incredible opportunity to meet colleagues across the country. I made two exciting connections from Edmonton and Halifax that will last a long time,” said medical student Anna Schwartz.
“Overall, it was a very interesting and empowering weekend that I feel very fortunate to have attended,” commented Josh Palay, MMSA Senior Stick.
Doctors Manitoba is lucky to have so many bright, engaged medical students, residents and new-to-practice physicians that are helping to forge a new path for the medical profession in the years to come. General Council provides a another great opportunity for them to continue doing so.
Dr. Leslie Anderson, recently elected for a second term as PARIM Co-President, provided this insightful conclusion:
“GC is an amazing opportunity to get involved at the national level and learn about the issues we face in medicine. I love having the opportunity to join hundreds of physicians from across the country in discussions on major issues, especially those that are controversial, and bring the voice of Manitoba resident doctors to the table. We are very fortunate that Doctors Manitoba is so supportive of learners and new physicians being a part of conversations about our profession. In talking to other residents at GC, I’ve realized that the support we enjoy is not always found in other provinces.”