Less than five years after the CMA surpassed the 70,000 mark in membership, it has reached a new milestone. And the announcement came on its 146th birthday.
Tabulations completed Oct. 9, 2013, indicated that membership in the association had surpassed the 80,000 mark for the first time, with the total reaching 80,081 physicians, residents and medical students. Exactly 146 years earlier, on Oct. 9, 1867, 167 founding members gathered in Quebec City to form the CMA.
"I'm sure those founding members would be surprised - if that's a strong enough word - by the changes that have taken place in medicine and this association since 1867," said CMA President Louis Hugo Francescutti. "I do know they would be proud of what they created."
The developments that ultimately emerged as a result of that long-ago meeting range from creation of the country's first Code of Ethics for physicians to the launch of Canada's most important medical journal, CMAJ.
Later, the CMA would play a major role in creating national bodies such as the Canadian Medical Protective Association and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and in forming a financial services subsidiary that is unique among the world's medical associations.
"It is safe to say we are the leading national voice for Canada's physicians, and that's exactly the role our founders had envisaged," said Francescutti. "As they put it, the CMA was created to 'give a frequent, united, and decided expression of the medical opinion of the country,' and that's just what it has done."
Today, the CMA's membership includes more than 52,500 practising physicians, over 21,000 residents and medical students, and more than 6,000 retired doctors.