Please note that the Doctors Manitoba offices will be closed from December 23 to December 27 and from December 30 to January 2. Between Christmas and New Years, some staff are taking vacation, but coverage is in place to provide continued support to our members. Please continue to contact us at general@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca.

In today’s message you will find:

Physician Health — Expanded Service/​New Number

Introducing Physician of the Week 2023!

Update on Modernizing our Board

STBBI Webinar for Physicians

Respiratory Virus Updates

Health System Updates

Health in the News



Physician Health — Expanded Service/​New Number

Starting today, the phone number for our Physician and Family Support Program has changed, and a new service provider will offer an improved service.

The new phone number is 1 – 844-433-DRMB (18444333762).

About 500 members and their families access our Physician and Family Support Program annually for personal and work-life issues. The Program is:

  • Available to all members, including students, residents, practicing physicians and retired physicians, and anyone in your household.
  • Open 24/7 with access in over 200 languages.
  • Comprehensive, with a range of supports tailored for our members, including short-term psychological counselling with masters prepared counsellors and psychologists, as well as a range of other services such as advice on financial and legal issues, nutrition counselling, life coaching, and research concierge services to help you with personal and professional issues.
  • Provided at no charge to members.

You can learn more about our 24/7 Physician and Family Support Program here, including the full suite of services and resources and how to access the Program online.

The change in service provider to HumanaCare will ensure calls are answered by a nurse with a more personalized experience. There are more diverse counsellor options including language, gender, race/​ethnicity and Indigenous health perspectives.

Please note that if you are connected with ComPsych (our current provider) on an active issue, you can continue with the issue through to its conclusion or choose to transfer to HumanaCare.

Introducing Physician of the Week 2023!

For 2023, we are introducing a new way to recognize dedicated and hardworking physicians. The Doctors Manitoba Physician of the Week will run throughout 2023. Those recognized will exemplify the best of the medical profession, including a commitment to delivering exceptional patient care, to supporting the health and wellness of their colleagues, and/​or to leadership in the medical profession.

We want to do a better job of celebrating the many hard working and dedicated physicians in Manitoba,” explained Dr. Michael Boroditsky, Chair of the Doctors Manitoba Awards Committee and President-Elect. Some awards focus on major research or leadership achievements and, consequently, miss the excellence that exists each and every day on the front lines of medicine. The Physician of the Week initiative will recognize that dedication and excellence we see in so many of our colleagues who are an example to us all.”

Suggestions for Doctor of the Week can be submitted by anyone. Candidates will be reviewed by Doctors Manitoba leadership and selected based on the information provided and available about each suggested potential recipient.

You can learn more about the Physician of the Week and access the submission form here.

Update on Modernizing our Board

Earlier this year, we asked for your feedback on six recommendations to modernize our Board and how Doctors Manitoba represents our members’ interests. The recommendations came from a Special Committee the Board established to review this issue. The Special Committee, chaired by former Doctors Manitoba President Dr. Aaron Chiu, has spent considerable time studying governance and decision-making models in different medical and membership organizations, gathered feedback from former board members, and sought broader input from our membership. You can see the full terms of reference for the Special Committee here.

Based on feedback from over 250 members, the original recommendations shared in September have been modified in a few areas. Below is a summary of the original six recommendations, what we heard from members, and how the recommendations have been updated to incorporate your feedback.

What happens next? If you have any concerns about what is proposed below, please contact us at general@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca to share your feedback. In January, members can expect to see a discussion paper that proposes amendments to our by-laws based on the recommendations and member feedback, with a plan to implement the amendments. This will be another opportunity for your feedback before the final amendments to the by-laws are formally proposed at our AGM in May. Ultimately, members will have the final say on any changes to how you are represented through a vote on the recommended changes at our AGM.


#1 — Doctors Manitoba should have a wholly elected board comprised solely of our members.

85% agreed with this recommendation. Because Doctors Manitoba is responsible for negotiating and advocating for the medical profession, there was a strong view that our Association should be led by our members, and those members should be elected to ensure appropriate representation and accountability. 

Among those who did not support this recommendation, there were two primary concerns. First, some saw the benefit of a Board that includes non-members who can bring specific expertise in governance, law, financials or other areas. This issue is addressed in recommendation #2 below. Second, some questioned how we the Board can be wholly elected when there are three Directors appointed from partner organizations. This includes the Manitoba Medical Students Association (MMSA), the Professional Association for Residents and Interns of Manitoba (PARIM) and the University Medical Group (UMG). MMSA and PARIM’s representatives are elected by their members, however the practice within UMG of selecting their representative is not as clear. Accordingly, Doctors Manitoba will work with UMG over the next year to assess this process and ensure academic (GFT) physicians are able to choose their representative on the Board.

#2 — Doctors Manitoba should focus on enhancing the overall governance capacity of Board and Committees.

88% agreed with this recommendation. Actions to support this recommendation could include conducting a regular assessment of Board Directors to identify gaps in needed skills, offering more training and development to Board Directors, and being more specific in our Call for Nominations for vacant Board positions about any skills that are missing and needed.

To address concerns about ensuring the Board has necessary skills and expertise to make decisions, a concern that came up under recommendation #1 above, the use of Board Advisors will be reviewed and potentially expanded. Advisors like this can bring important missing expertise to the decision-making process, but ultimately the decision would be left to a wholly elected Board to ensure decisions about the medical profession are made by members of the medical profession.

#3 — Doctors Manitoba should focus on achieving a Board that is representative of the professional and personal attributes of members.

This includes striving to achieve a representative balance in a number of areas, such as practice focus (family practice / specialty), geography (urban, rural, Northern), gender, and race/​ethnicity.

84% agreed with this recommendation. Actions to support this recommendation could include:

  • Report to membership on the representativeness of the Board and which groups are underrepresented. This will help to inform members before Calls for Nomination and elections to the Board. 
  • Create a more inclusive and welcoming nomination process that is inviting to traditionally underrepresented groups.
  • Continue to have geographic representation of the membership.
  • Continue with organizational representation for medical students, residents, and academic physicians.

This is about ensuring an inclusive lens is applied when soliciting nominations for the Board and removing barriers to ensure traditionally underrepresented groups feel included. Ultimately, it’s also about ensuring members have more information about gaps in diversity and representation when electing Board Directors to make a more fully informed decision when voting.

#4 — Doctors Manitoba should adjust the composition of the Board. 

This includes decreasing the Board size and changing existing districts to better reflect current practice patterns and professional connections. 

77% agreed with this recommendation. Although this is still a strong majority, it is the lowest support among the recommendations. A deeper analysis found concerns about two specific areas, so adjustments have been made to the original recommendation to better reflect member views and concerns, specifically with regard to representation in western Manitoba and for specialists in Winnipeg. The current and recommended Board composition are described below, with the Board changing from the current 21 Directors to a recommended 17

Winnipeg Directors

The current Board includes 8 Directors from 7 districts in Winnipeg. Each district is attached to a hospital, including HSC, St. Boniface, Grace, Seven Oaks, Victoria, Concordia, and Misericordia. Connections to hospitals has waned over time for many physicians, so this was seen as a less meaningful way to represent physicians in Winnipeg. 

The recommended change is to have 6 Winnipeg Directors including 3 family physicians from a Winnipeg Family Medicine District, and 3 specialists with one each from an HSC Specialist District, a St. Boniface Specialist District, and a Community-Based Specialist District. For Family Medicine, the three Directors will be elected at large” by members of that district. 

NOTE: this recommendation was revised based on your feedback. Originally, it was proposed to create a Winnipeg Specialist District with three specialists elected at large.” There was some concern that hospital-based specialists could crowd out community-based specialists, so the three districts were created to better reflect the professional networks of specialists in Winnipeg. 

Rural Directors

The current Board includes 7 Directors from 7 districts. The geographic districts include Northern, Central, Assiniboine, Parkland, Brandon, Interlake, and Eastman. Note, these boundaries align with old RHA boundaries that no longer exist.

The recommended change is to have 5 Rural Directors from geographic districts that are more closely aligned with current RHA boundaries. This would include Northern, Interlake-Eastern, Southern, and Prairie Mountain would be split in two with an urban representative for Brandon and a rural representative for Assiniboine-Parkland. 

NOTE: this recommendation was revised based on your feedback. Originally, it was proposed to create four rural districts aligned with current RHA boundaries. Concerns were raised about this change for Prairie Mountain. First, as the largest rural district in terms of members and facilities, it would be challenging for a single director to adequately represent this region. Second, with more than 50% of members in this region practicing in Brandon, there was a concern rural physicians might have a more difficult time being elected and represented on the Board. Therefore, it is now recommended this district is split into two, as described above.

Partner Organizations and Leadership

It is recommended that the existing Board representation for partner organizations and leadership be maintained. this includes:

  • On Director for our partner organizations MMSA, PARIM and UMG, with the note described above about working with UMG and academic physicians over the next year to ensure this representative is elected and represents the members in this district.
  • One Director each for our leadership positions of President-Elect, President and Past-President (Chair)
Group Current Recommended
Winnipeg 8 6
Rural/​Northern 7 5
Partner Organizations (MMSA, PARIM, UMG) 3 3
Leadership (President, President-Elect, Past-President) 3 3
TOTAL Directors 21 17
#5 — Doctors Manitoba should engage members in important decision-making, but not through a representative forum or assembly.

91% agreed with this recommendation. Members agreed another layer to decision making (e.g. a representative forum or assembly as some other province’s have created) would not improve member engagement and accountability and can be an unnecessary burden or cost. Instead, members agreed with using the methods that seem to work best for providing them with opportunities to inform Board decision-making. This includes surveys, focus groups, advisory committees and other forms of outreach.

#6 — Doctors Manitoba should maintain the Board Executive laddering process” to provide our President with mentorship and orientation to the role of President before assuming that position. 

85% agreed with this recommendation. This means maintaining the current practice in which the Board elects a Director to join the executive as Secretary, and this individual then steps up the ladder each year on the Board Executive as Treasurer, President-Elect, President and finally Past-President and Board Chair. Ultimately, the membership votes to approve the President-Elect at the annual general meeting each year. 

The role of the Board Executive is to act on behalf of the Board to provide advice concerning operational issues to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), including information, oversight, and guidance on important strategic matters. The Executive Committee will bring recommendations for decision-making to the Board.

STBBI Webinar for Physicians

Join us on January 18 for a webinar focused on sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs) in Manitoba. Hosted by Doctors Manitoba and led by Manitoba Public Health, the webinar will look at the current epidemiology of STBBIs, testing and treatment, as well as how physicians can play a role in Public Health’s strategy to tackle rising STBBI rates. This a review of new tariffs available to physicians to claim for completing new public health reporting forms. 

Presenters will include Dr. Brent Roussin, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, as well as Medical Officers of Health Dr. Santina Lee and Dr. Pierre Plourde. 

Questions can be submitted in advance or asked live during the Q&A segment

Date: Wednesday, January 18
Time: 6:30PM
Register: Register here to participate

Note: a recording will be available to watch on-demand for those unable to join live.

Respiratory Virus Updates

Manitoba Public Health provides weekly reports on Fridays. Over the holidays you can watch for COVID and Seasonal Influenza updates here.

Health System Updates

Infant Formula Shortage Update

Manitoba Public Health sent an update this week on the infant formula shortage. It notes that the situation for specialized infant formula has stabilized, with the supply of hypoallergenic formula now stable, while amino-acid based formula remains behind the counter as was the practice before the shortage. For regular infant formula, there should be enough supply to meet demand, however supply is limited which means consumers’ choices could be limited. Shortages continue for lower cost options, which poses challenges for lower income households. Additional stock should be arriving in the next few weeks.

At this point, we encourage providers to share the following key messages with parents and families regarding the limited supply of infant formula:

  • The supply of regular and specialized infant formula continues to meet demand. However, supply of specific formula brands fluctuate.
  • Switching brands and types of formula will not be harmful for most infants.
  • Imported hypoallergic formula products continue to be available for order at pharmacies.
  • Avoid stockpiling or panic buying, as this would further exacerbate supply issues.
  • Only use store-bought infant formula.
  • It is not advisable to purchase or procure breastmilk online

You can access the full memo from Public Health here, and the current decision tree for hypoallergenic formulas here.

Health Status Report Released by Public Health

Manitoba Health has released the 2022 Health Status of Manitobans Report, written by the Office of the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, to provide an overall assessment of the current health status of Manitobans. This year’s report, titled Healthy Communities: A Role for Everyone, examines the health gaps between different groups of people in Manitoba and the inequitable practices and conditions that have led to them.

The report also reviews the impact of COVID-19 in Manitoba from August 2020 to March 2022. Public health data showed a relationship between income level, race and severe COVID-19 disease, and the spread of COVID-19 in Manitoba provided a real-time look at how certain groups and populations experience inequitable health outcomes. Overall, there has been a gradual improvement in the health status of people in Manitoba and a longer life expectancy. However, the data again shows the health of people in Manitoba is not equal, and the gap in health between Indigenous communities and other people in Manitoba is widening. Racism, colonialism and low incomes are cited as some of the causes for the gaps. 

The report has a wealth of information and recommendations and is available here. You can also read a Winnipeg Free Press story here and CBC story here.

Raising Awareness — Avoiding Unauthorized Health Products Online (Information Session for Health Care Professionals)

This fall Health Canada hosted 5 webinar sessions titled Raising Awareness — Avoiding Unauthorized Health Products Online (Information Session for Health Care Professionals”. If you were unable to attend the sessions, you can now access the handout and the slides for the sessions. The handout speaks to the risks of buying health products online and avoiding unauthorized health products. It also summarizes a list of resources on Health Canada’s webpages.

Health in the News

It’s been another busy week of health care news! See below for stories we’ve curated for you, including reaction to a potential list of rural ER closures, out of province surgery, children’s hospital capacity and more.


Here are some important and top-read recent updates, in case you missed them:


Upcoming events are always listed on our events calendar.

Feature Event:

Quit multiplying by zero: leveraging LEADS to enhance physician wellbeing — Online Workshop — Thursday, January 26 4 – 8pm

This workshop will help you extrapolate LEADS into action to address this critical issue of physician wellbeing. We will define and normalize these concerns, understand stress and how to recognize when it turns into distress. Health will be defined as a shared responsibility between the individual, the culture of medicine and the healthcare system in which we work. We will address how physician leaders can best support their teams at this time. The 5Cs framework for resilience will be defined, and practical strategies to help colleagues to implement this and manage their stress effectively, both in their professional and personal lives. At the end of this workshop, you will be able to identify at least three leadership actions you can take to bring LEADS to life in the service of creating a healthy work environment. Learn more here.

Other Events

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with Mindfulness (CBTm) for Physicians and Medical Learners — 5 Module Course- Begins January 19

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with Mindfulness (CBTm) for Physicians and Medical Learners — 10-week Virtual Workshop — Begins January 24

Creating Healthy Work Culture through Trauma-Informed Leadership — March 3 & 4

Canadian Women’s Heart Health Summit — April 28 & 29Canadian Sexual Exploitation Summit — May 3, 4, & 5