From August 20-23, we had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA’s) 150th Annual Meeting and General Council (GC), as part of a program designed to get more students, residents and early-career physicians involved: the CMA Ambassador Program with the support of Doctors Manitoba.
In case you didn’t know, GC occurs every year in August in a different Canadian city. It’s more than a place to network with over 600 health care leaders; it’s a safe space to brainstorm ideas and hear the voices of the minority. There are lively but professional debates surrounding important issues such as medical professionalism, innovation and medical assistance in dying, to name a few.
As a CMA Ambassador, we had the opportunity to participate in an exclusive Q&A session with the former federal minister of health, Dr. Jane Philpott. She told us to use our privilege to help others. What we also learned is that I don’t have to do anything ground breaking to make a difference. We can all make change collectively through the individual actions we do on a daily basis. If you have the opportunity, watch Dr. Christy Sutherland’s inspiring presentation on the opioid crisis. She found a need and filled the gap!
So go for it, get involved and be persistent! Here are some ways you can get started right now:
1. Follow the CMA on social media to hear about emerging issues in real-time.
2. Join the CMA’s MD-MP Contact Program, which matches members with their local Member of Parliament and provides support for grassroots advocacy.
3. Participate in the CMA Member Voice e-Panel, and receive surveys 4–6 times a year to weigh in on emerging issues.
4. Arrange for advocacy skills training, in person or via videoconference.
5. Attend at least one GC – it’s a lot more than just politics!
If you’d like more information about any of these programs, you can contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re proud to be CMA Ambassadors because we know that, as our national association, the CMA is committed to giving us a voice as physicians of the future. Plus, the CMA is dedicated to a vibrant profession and healthy population. I believe we should all consider being engaged with the CMA. To quote Dr. Granger Avery, CMA president 2016-2017: “Our future is bright because together we are incredibly strong”.
Gurmeet, Alyssa, Christopher, Keely and Mathieu