In today’s message you will find:

Change in Mask Policies for Health System

Earlier this week, Shared Health announced a significant shift in mask policies for hospitals, personal care homes and other Shared Health / RHA health facilities. As of Wednesday, May 10, masks will no longer be required for staff, patients or visitors, except in limited situations. This is a return to routine practices for infection prevention and control, with additional precautions only in specific areas (e.g. CancerCare clinics, transplant units), which include required masking. Several other provinces have already taken similar steps to lift provincial mask requirements in health facilities, including BC, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

We have updated our Mask & PPE guidance page, including a summary of the changes from Shared Health and guidance for physicians across Manitoba.

What does this mean for physicians working in Shared Health / RHA facilities?

Generally, masks are now optional in Shared Health / RHA facilities for physicians, staff, patients, and visitors. Facilities will be mask friendly” environments, which means patients with cold/​flu symptoms will be asked to mask and visitors/​caregivers with symptoms will be asked not to enter. Patients can ask physicians and staff to wear a mask.

There is no change at this time to the direction for physicians and staff who have symptoms. You are asked to stay home and follow the existing screening and return-to-work guidance.

What does this mean for community-based clinics and independent facilities?

We recommend physicians and medical directors review their mask policies and incorporate Shared Health’s new guidance, watch for any updates from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba, and use your medical judgment about any additional precautions that may be appropriate for your space and your patient population.

Our updated Mask & PPE guidance page has further details to help guide you through this transition, including printable posters for entrances to your clinics. We anticipate CPSM will offer further guidance directly to physicians. CPSM Registrar Dr. Anna Ziomek was in the news noting that physicians should use their judgment about necessary precautions, that physicians should wear a mask when requested by a patient, and that physicians must find a way to provide care to patients who refuse to wear a mask.

As always, Doctors Manitoba is with you every step of the way through this pandemic journey. Please contact us with questions or concerns at practiceadvice@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca.

Respiratory Virus Update

The World Health Organization downgraded the pandemic today, saying it no longer qualifies as a global emergency due to declining incidence, reduced pressure on the health care system, and increased protection through immunization or infection. The WHO did not declare the pandemic over, however. It’s estimated that 7 million people have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began in 2020.

Here in Manitoba, the most recent Public Health Surveillance Report suggests continued lower levels of activity for COVID-19 and influenza.

AGM – Please Join Us This Thursday

It’s our Annual General Meeting this Thursday, May 11 at 6:30 PM. We hope you will join us for this important meeting, and such a critical time for our profession.

The AGM agenda includes several important topics, which is why the Board of Directors is strongly encouraging members to attend and participate:

  • A fireside chat with Senator Dr. Gigi Osler about the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion in medicine and physician leadership, with her unique perspective as a woman of colour in surgery, a former President of the CMA, and now a Senator in Ottawa.
  • Updates from outgoing President Dr. Candace Bradshaw and CEO Theresa Oswald, including updates on our advocacy and negotiations for more resources and support for physicians.
  • An important vote on foundational changes to our by-laws that aim to strengthen our decision-making, ensuring members are at the heart of everything we do. The changes also seek to modernize our governance, including supporting a Board that is more inclusive and representative of our broader membership, including members’ professional and personal attributes.

Please register today and join us this Thursday at 6:30 PM.

Gala – Limited Additional Seating Added

While our Annual Awards Gala has sold out, we’ve been able to add limited additional seating to accommodate some last-minute requests. The Gala will be held Saturday, May 13, at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg.

Please contact Leanne at lmuir@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca if you would like to attend. We do our best to accommodate as many additional guests as possible, in the order the requests are received. Reduced pricing for members is $150 each or $1,350 for a table that seats 10.

We welcome you to join us at the signature event for the medical community:

Learn more about the Gala here.

Race Data Collection in Hospitals

This week, Shared Health announced a new initiative to collect patients’ race, ethnicity, or Indigenous identity in hospitals. A joint initiative with Shared Health and Ongomiizwin Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing at UM, the new data is an important step to achieving more equitable and inclusive care. The data will be collected at registration starting next week.

Dr. Marcia Anderson is the lead on this initiative. I know that my colleagues want to provide high quality care to every patient we serve, and that today’s medical learners have a tremendous commitment to social justice and anti-racism in health care. Most of us recognize the impacts of different forms of racism on the health of our patients, and on their health care. Having this data is going to enable us to do our jobs better, by demonstrating where gaps in quality of care by race or Indigenous identity are. The data will allow us to measure our progress as we innovate and intervene to disrupt the impacts of racism, and increase the quality of care that Black, Indigenous, and racially marginalized peoples receive.”

Manitoba is the first Canadian province to collect self-declared race-based data from patients as they access care at hospitals. The province began collecting and reporting on REI data during the COVID-19 pandemic. That data collected allowed public health officials to determine which communities were being disproportionately impacted by the virus and allowed for real-time interventions such as targeted age or population requirements for vaccine eligibility and drug interventions. The collection of this data was widely accepted, with less than two per cent of the population declining to self-identify. Dr. Anderson work leading these initiatives was recognized last year with the Doctors Manitoba Physician of the Year award.

How will it work?

Patients will be asked to self-declare their racial identity, choosing from categories such as First Nations status, Inuit, Métis, Black, Filipino, Southeast Asian, African, Chinese, South Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern or white. Self-declaring is voluntary and the information provided will not impact how care is provided. This approach will provide higher-quality data quickly. While race-based hospital data is collected in other countries, such as the U.S., Australia and England, Manitoba is the first such program in Canada. Dr. Anderson points out that Black, Indigenous and racialized folks actually receive significantly unequal care by race, and that is a reflection of how multi-level racisms operate in our health-care system. If we are not able to hold up that mirror and use data and evidence, what happens is a failure to act to change.” She is hopeful the program will do the work of dismantling and disrupting the systemic racism that impacts racialized Manitobans.

What about in doctors’ offices?

At this point, the initiative is being rolled out in hospitals. Dr. Anderson and her team at UM did put together a two-pager of important considerations about REI data collection and use, which you can access here.

Where can I learn more?

Shared Health’s news release offers an overview of the initiative. You can also see Shared Health’s FAQ, including a video about the initiative.

Physician of the Week — Dr. Paul Kerr

Dr. Paul Kerr, who has worked for 30 years as an Otolaryngologist, is passionate about advancing surgical care and provides a nurturing environment for medical learners. Recently, Dr. Kerr stepped up to cover patient care when the complement of local surgeons abruptly declined, while continuing to provide exemplary patient care, all while maintaining his involvement with resident teaching both in the operating room, and during after-hour rounds. He is proud to have worked with a very talented department that was​“one of the first in Canada to acquire expertise in and adopt minimally invasive transoral and endoscopic techniques.” Colleague Dr. Deanna Gigliotti calls Dr. Kerr​“an outstanding patient advocate, a true example of professionalism, and an inspiring mentor for residents.” When he’s not saving lives and mentoring learners, you’ll find him riding his bike, downhill skiing with friends and family, or rocking out with his band, The Specialists.

Read more about Dr. Kerr and other physicians who have been recognized as Physician of the Week here.

Fantastic Physicians

Congratulations to Dr. Habtu Demsas and Dr. Richard Roland Lindenschmidt, two long-time Selkirk physicians who have won Physician Emeritus Awards. Granted by physician colleagues who make up the regional Medical Advisory Committee, this award recognizes physicians who are retired or have reduced their practice in preparation for retirement and who demonstrate exemplary skills as recognized by their colleagues, community recognition and exemplification of the Interlake-Eastern RHA values: always with compassion, success in collaboration, accountability in everything we do, acting with integrity and respectful of each other. Dr. Demsas, who plans to retire his fall, has served the community of Selkirk for 35 years. Dr. Lindenschmidt has been caring for members in the community for over 40 years.

Health System Updates

Government Announces Health Provider Recruitment, Numbers Potentially Misleading

Yesterday, the provincial government announced 900 new health care providers have been hired in the six months since it announced its Health Human Resource Plan and a commitment to add 2,000 more providers.

The news release suggests recently hired staff include 73 more physicians, along with 82 allied-health providers, 32 physician and clinical assistants, 438 health-care aides, and 259 nurses.

Our analysis at Doctors Manitoba confirms this is not a net increase” in physicians, but rather a total of new registrants added in the last six months. In other words, it does not include physicians leaving practice, either retiring or relocating outside of Manitoba. The 73 new physicians in a half-year period actually appears a little less than average, as Manitoba sees about 215 new registrants each year according to CPSM.

Our concern, as explained in this CBC story, is that physicians leaving practice are now outnumbering any new recruits, which could lead to a decline in the number of physicians in Manitoba. Based on our 2023 survey of physicians’ practice intentions, 14% are considering leaving Manitoba in the next three years and 11% are considering retiring. This means Manitoba could lose 808 physicians in the next three years – which equals 135 when prorated to a half year period, which certainly outnumbers the new recruits touted by the government this week. This mass medical resignation” is a major concern, especially when our province already has one of the biggest physician shortages in Canada.

This is why we continue to push for more actions from the provincial government to grow the number of physicians in Manitoba, focusing first on actions to retain the physicians we have. Doctors in Manitoba are experiencing record levels of burnout and escalating costs and administrative burdens. Recruitment of new physicians will be much more successful if the right resources, supports, and respect are in place for existing physicians.

New CEO for Shared Health

This week Shared Health announced its new CEO, Lanette Siragusa. She replaces Adam Topp, who resigned last Thursday. Ms. Siragusa, a registered nurse, will started her new role on Monday, armed with her experience in health care and as co-incident commander of the Provinces’ COVID-19 response. In early 2022 she left to become Vide-Dean of education at the UM Rady Faculty of Health Sciences. Read more about the announcement here.

Test Your MSK Knowledge

The Max Rady College of Medicine is recruiting doctors for a study examining MSK medicine knowledge and retention among post-graduate physicians who completed their undergraduate medical training at the University of Manitoba. Participants will be asked to anonymously complete an online MSK competency test that consists of 25 open-ended questions on common topics related to MSK medicine – the quiz should take no more than 30 minutes to complete.

In order to be eligible, a physician must:

  • Have graduated from the University of Manitoba’s undergraduate medical program between 2018 and 2022
  • Be currently licensed to practice in the province of Manitoba

Click here if you are interested in participating or contact the principle investigator, Dr. Jason Peeler jason.​peeler@​umanitoba.​ca.


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Upcoming Events

Upcoming events are always listed on our events calendar.


Join us on Sunday, June 4 as we walk in the 2023 Winnipeg Pride Parade! 

Doctors Manitoba staff and members will be participating in the 2023 Pride Parade to celebrate the diverse community that supports 2SLGBTQ+ people.

Beginning at Memorial Park across from the Manitoba Legislature, Pride Winnipeg will be holding its pride rally. The parade will begin at 11am and the route will go down Portage Ave, and end at the Forks. We are inviting you, your friends and family to join us as we walk the parade route to celebrate and support the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Register here.

Featured Events
Leadership for Equity: Expanding Inclusive Medical Culture virtual speaker series

On May 23, we will be hosting Dr. Heidi Janz for her session on Ableism in Healthcare. This session will introduce learners to the concept of ableism, that is disability prejudice and discrimination, as endemic to society as a whole, and to healthcare in particular.
Click here for more information, and to register for the session.
Recordings are available of the first two sessions in the series:
View a recording of Intent, Harm & Action with Dr. Saroo Sharda here.
View a recording of 2SLGBTQ+ Health with Dr. Julia Chronopolous here.

Other Events

Key Topics in Gastroenterology — IBD in 2023 and Beyond — June 15 & 16 

Topics include Insights into the pathobiology of inflammatory bowel disease, Nutrition, Endoscopy and Pregnancy in IBDState of the art management of IBD including biosimilars, and new advanced therapies. Registration fee $187.50 for physicians(to comply with University guidelines), but registration remains free for trainees, nurses and allied health professionals.Supported by an unrestricted educational grant from AbbVie Canada Inc., Janssen Inc., Pfizer Canada Inc., Takeda Canada Inc.,Bristol Myers Squibb, Organon, Eli Lilly Canada, Ferring and AmgenKey Topics in Gastroenterology — IBDin 2023 and Beyond. The meeting is an accredited group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and approved by the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG). This meeting is approved for a maximum of 7 Section one credits.

This event will also be available virtual, upon registration please note how you prefer to attend. Register here.

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