In today’s message you will find:

CelebratingWomen Physicians

Today is International Women’s Day and on Monday, it is the fourth annual Canadian Women Physicians’ Day! Doctors Manitoba is recognizing and celebrating women physicians and medical learners. 

Canadian Women Physicians’ Day is celebrated on March 11 in honour of the first woman licensed to practice in Canada, Dr. Jennie Trout, who received her medical license on this day in 1875. (Watch this Heritage Minute about Dr. Jennie Trout)

The journey for women in medicine from Dr. Trout’s initiation 148 years ago to today has been uneven and challenging, to say the least. A profile of Manitoba physician Dr. Elinor Black describes her journey and that of others. She joined only two other women in 1930 to graduate from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba. Women during this era faced repeated criticism, discrimination and harassment as they pursued their calling. 

Dr. Black pursued medicine against the wishes of her family, with her medical student brother complaining women were a nuisance around the medical school.” After her boyfriend made it clear he expected she would give up the profession when they got engaged, she decided never to marry. 

Nevertheless, Dr. Black persisted. After graduating, she started a private practice during the depression and went on to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology. In 1951 she was appointed head of these departments at the University and Winnipeg General Hospital, now HSC, and ten years later she became the first woman to lead the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. 

Today, women make up about 50% medical students, a far distance from the 7% during the 1930s. Women make up about 40% of physicians overall, and women physicians are in more medical leadership roles.

Despite this progress, women in medicine still face challenges and inequities remain. An analysis of our data last year found a pay gap of about 30% between male and female physicians. Last year we found women physicians face higher levels of administrative burdens than men. 

In our Annual Physician Survey this year, we found women physicians are more likely to report burnout and depression, and twice as likely to report mistreatment from patients, physician colleagues, and people in leadership positions, based on their gender or other attributes. 

Doctors Manitoba is doing more than shining a spotlight on these inequities. We are pressing to make medicine a more inclusive and equitable profession as part of our mandate to strengthen and support the whole physician. A gender balanced Board of DIrectors continues to lead our Association, ensuring a gender equity lens is applied within Doctors Manitoba, and in our advocacy in the profession and health system. For example, several improvements negotiated in the last Physician Services Agreement applied a gender equity lens. Over the last few months, the maternal/​parental leave benefit has been expanded. 

This year, the Canadian Women in Medicine are asking everyone to celebrate Canadian Women Physicians’ Day by saying thank you to a woman physician, and posting on social media to express your support and appreciation using #WomenDocsCan.

Celebrating Dr. Helen Pymar

International Women’s Day offers an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the commitment, care, and compassion of women in medicine including our Doctors Manitoba Medal of Excellence winner, Dr. Helen Pymar, a professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Manitoba. In her 20-year career, Dr. Pymar has led the way for improving access to contraception, safe and accessible abortion, and family planning care. As an educator and mentor, she has shared her experience as leader with the Ryan Residency Training program, one of only two such programs in the country. She is a fierce advocate for her patients, colleagues and medical learners. 

Learn more about Dr. Pymar and the other 2024 Doctors Manitoba Award Winners. Early bird tickets to the May 11 Awards Gala are on sale now.

Priorities for Upcoming Provincial Budget

This week, Manitoba Finance Minister Adrien Sala announced the provincial budget will be introduced on April 2. This is the first budget for the new government, which was elected with a mandate to fix health care. 

Doctors Manitoba will be submitting recommendations to the government on how to invest precious health funding to make the biggest difference in the year ahead and beyond. This advice is rooted in the feedback from physicians and medical learners from our Annual Physician Survey.

We are sharing a draft of these recommendations today and invite you to share your views by emailing general@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca to let us know if they look right to you or if you have something to add. There are three key themes from your feedback.

1. Recruiting More Doctors

We all know Manitoba has a record shortage of physicians. It would take 445 more to get us to the Canadian average for physicians per capita. This shortage continues to be a top concern for physicians. 

We have shared a broader set of recommendations in the past in our Prescription for Improving Health Care released before the last election. We appreciate the government adopting some of our advice in their mandate. We believe the following steps are critical in the year ahead:

  • Further improving the path to immigration and licensure for international medical graduates
  • Ensuring medical training and residencies are expanded as planned
  • Expanding recruitment incentives, including the possibility of a referral bonus, and ensuring recruitment initiatives and incentives are available fairly to hospitals and independent physician offices. 
  • Considering a US and/​or overseas recruitment mission for both family physicians and specialists.

To help move this all forward, an all-in” approach is needed, and we recommend the government establish a partner table focused on recruiting and retaining physicians, including Manitoba Health, Shared Health and the RHAs, CPSM, the UM College of Medicine, and Doctors Manitoba, while also engaging other willing partners like Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and the Association of Manitoba Municipalities. 

Physicians are also concerned about the shortage of nurses and other health professionals and strongly recommend actions to recruit and retain these valuable health care workers too. 

2. Retaining Physicians by Reducing Burnout and Administrative Burdens

Recruitment plans are only effective if there is a strong focus on supporting and retaining the doctors we have. Last year, we found half of physicians are considering leaving Manitoba, retiring, or cutting their hours. We have a serious and immediate retention threat in our province. 

The most effective way to improve physician retention is by reducing burnout and reducing administrative burdens. Fixing these challenges requires systemic changes. 

We recommend extending our joint work on reducing administrative burdens to achieve even further improvements than the initial goal set last year. 

We also want to be a partner with the government in changing the culture in health care, to ensure physicians and other front line providers can offer feedback, raise concerns, participate in planning changes, and know their advice will be treated respectfully and acted upon. 

3. Improving Access to Care

Of course, improvements in physician recruitment and retention is probably the single biggest thing that can be done to improve access to care for patients. However, in the face of a global shortage of health professionals we must consider other actions to improve access in the short term. 

We recommend taking meaningful steps in this budget to expand team-based care in doctors’ offices, for both family physicians and specialists. We were very encouraged by the government adopting our recommendation during the election to add 250 providers to doctors’ offices. This first budget could take a first step by adding 50 providers this coming fiscal year. 

There is also a need to expand hospital capacity to help reduce ER wait times with more inpatient capacity and address the surgical backlog. We recommend following through on your commitments to add inpatient hospital capacity in both medicine and surgery. 

Another significant concern for physicians is care of the elderly. We recommend expanding capacity in home care and personal care homes, as well as investing to improve access to geriatric medicine.

Doctors Manitoba is concerned about access to HIV medications, and we add our voice to many others in recommending 100% coverage for HIV PrEP and treatment medications to guarantee free access for all patients. 

Family Medicine Plus Update

Registration is open for the March 12 webinar where we will go over all the details about how Family Medicine Plus works and how it will support your practice. Learn more and register here.

Access this week’s FM+ newsletter here, where you will find the final rate table, billing guidance on FM+ panel payments, ICD codes for the expanded list of diagnoses, and more.

Physicians Into the Cold’

A group of Manitoba physicians will be walking, jogging, running, and doing other outdoor activities throughout March in support of Main Street Project. While each physician has their own personal reasons for participating, they share a common recognition of the essential contributions that MSP makes to the lives of Winnipeg’s most marginalized community members. MSP works to provide safe housing, nutritious food, community, and mental health supports, which are the foundations of good health. Help this team of physicians support Main Street Project! Learn more and donate.

Tired but Wired: Tools for Insomnia Relief — On Demand

Is the switch to Daylight Saving Time this weekend just one more thing keeping you up at night? This recorded virtual workshop focuses on practical strategies to help support healthy sleep for Doctors Manitoba members in every career stage. Facilitator, Dr. Maxine Holmqvist, reviewed principles and core components of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT‑I), discussed the factors that might predispose medical learners and physicians to insomnia, identified available resources related to CBT‑I, and explored additional strategies to support healthy sleep. Watch a recording of the webinar

Doctors Manitoba in the News

The Joint Task Force to Reduce Administrative Burden for Physicians latest report received front page, top-of-the-fold coverage in the Winnipeg Free Press on Monday, with an interview with Doctors Manitoba’s president-elect Dr. Randy Guzman. Read the story.

CMA AGM set for May 29

This year’s Annual General Meeting for the CMA is special for Manitobans, as CMA President-Elect Dr. Joss Reimer will officially become President. Register to hear from her and other CMA leaders during this event! 

The CMA AGM will be held virtually on Wednesday, May 29, from 10 – 2:30 pm.

Learn more and register.

The virtual meeting format will include live webcasting of all proceedings, secure online voting, question and answer periods and simultaneous interpretation.

Meeting information, including the agenda, is available at cma​.ca/​a​g​m2024. The annual report and additional resources will be added in advance of the meeting.

Questions? Contact our Member Service Centre at memberservicecentre@​cma.​ca.

Health System Updates

Manitoba Government Takes Steps to Protect Manitobans Seeking Reproductive Health Care

The Manitoba government has introduced a law to establish protected access zones outside clinics and facilities providing abortion services, and at service providers’ residences and offices.

The Safe Access to Abortion Services Act would prohibit protests, demonstrations or picketing within buffer zones around clinics whose primary purpose is to provide abortion services. Other facilities that provide surgical or medical abortion services (including access to Mifegymiso) such as hospitals, pharmacies, doctors’ offices and health-care facilities would have the option of requesting a buffer zone be established around their sites. People who work in clinics could ask for protection at home under the new law.

Recent federal legislation criminalizes the intimidation or obstruction of health-care workers and patients. The Manitoba law would go further by establishing safe buffer zones and prohibiting various forms of interference.

Six other provinces already have laws establishing abortion protest buffer zones. The law is expected to pass by the start of June. Read the government’s full press release.

Measuring Outcomes with AIM

The Access Improvement Model (AIM) program is designed for primary care teams. It focuses on improving patient access through developing and understanding quality improvement, change management, and team-building skills.

Measurement is at the core of quality improvement work, with initial assessments and the tracking of progress based on tangible evidence rather than subjective opinions. Consistent measurement can also help identify external factors that may impact our success.

This update addresses the outcome measure; one of the three types of measures used in quality improvement. Outcome measures serve a pivotal role in evaluation by addressing the fundamental question So what?” while keeping the perspective of the patient and/​or team in mind. These measures offer a direct assessment of the system’s performance, they align closely with the defined objectives, and they emphasize impact rather than mere activity. For instance, an outcome measure could be the number of medication errors resulting in harm, effectively showcasing the measure’s significance.

In the Access Improvement Model training sessions, the AIM team engages closely with each clinical team to identify and track outcome measures, ensuring a clear understanding of the improvement outcomes.

If you would like to explore AIM in further detail, please visit the AIM website and be sure to contact the team at aim@​umanitoba.​ca. See the AIM workshop series overview here.


Upcoming Events

Whether you’re looking to expand your knowledge, increase your awareness, or build leadership skills, we have many sessions planned! You can always review upcoming events on our events calendar page.

Hippocratic High Notes is a choir for female physicians, active and retired, residents and medical learners. Practice is on Tuesday evenings in Winnipeg with space to accommodate children if needed. Register here.

Awards Gala

Our Annual Awards Gala is coming up on Saturday, May 11. Early bird tickets are now on sale!

This year, funds raised will support initiatives at Our Own Health Centre focused on addictions treatment and HIV testing for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and the Rainbow Resource Centre’s transformative capital project, Place of Pride. Doctors Manitoba will make a donation to support these causes, and guests at the Awards Gala will have the opportunity to support these causes as well through a fundraising initiative.

Purchase your discounted early bird tickets here.

Learn more about the 2024 Award Winners.

Beyond Fatigue: A discussion on IDA management in Primary Care — March 13 or 21

In a conversational presentation format, a Hematologist and a Family Medicine physician discuss their experience managing iron deficiency anemia (IDA). They will review the unmet need and discuss the appropriate use of oral and IV iron therapy. Learn more and register here.

2024 Canadian Conference on Physician leadership — May 24 – 25 in Montréal

Lead the change our healthcare system desperately needs! Attend the CCPL2024 in Montréal, PQ, where you’ll gain invaluable insights and skills to drive transformation.

Day 1 will broaden your understanding of system-level dynamics. Our compelling keynote speaker and insightful panel session will stimulate discussion, while our plenary workshops will ignite engagement and inspire ideas to transform healthcare.

Day 2 is dedicated to enriching your personal leadership skills and deepening your leadership knowledge. With two captivating keynote speakers and 16 unique workshops, you’ll be empowered to navigate chaos and drive meaningful change with confidence.

Seize this chance to increase your impact as a physician leader! View the conference program here. Register now.

When Race Correction meets AI

Join this latest talk as part of the Ending the Practice of Race Correction” in Health Care speaker series. This March 21 virtual event features computer scientist, Dr. Mohamed Abdalla, on the implications of feeding data from race-corrected kidney function tests into machine learning applications in hospitals.

Dr. Abdalla will consider this question in conversation with: LLana James (Chair of the Canada-US Coalition to End Race Correction), Dr. Patricia O’Campo, Dr. Gbolahan (GB) Olarewaju and Dr. Nav Persaud.Reserve your spot here.

Spring Mentorship Event

Watch for your email to register for the April 19 mentorship event at FortWhyte Alive. Interested in learning more about mentorship opportunities with Doctors Manitoba? Please contact Cynthia Okojie, Mentorship and Member Engagement Coordinator at cokojie@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca

Investing through 2024 and beyond with robust portfolios

MD Sponsored Content

As we move into the new year, it’s traditionally time to look back at the previous year and provide an outlook for what lies ahead. Dive into our analysis of the short- and long-term considerations for our clients’ portfolios as we compare 12-month and 10-year perspectives. Learn more.