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First all-women slate of candidates vying for CMA presidency

Three physicians, all women, are vying to become the first Nova Scotia-based doctor to head the CMA since 1996-97. Their candidacy marks the first time an all-women slate of candidates has sought to become president-elect.

Voting, which is open to members of Doctors Nova Scotia (DoctorsNS) who also belong to the CMA, will be done via the Internet or by mail. Eligible members will receive voting details and information about the candidates by Jan. 22, the day voting begins. Voting ends Feb. 26 at 4:30 pm, and the result will be reported Feb. 27.

The winning candidate will become the DoctorsNS nominee to serve as president-elect of the CMA in 2014-15, and her name will be presented to the CMA’s General Council (GC) for confirmation in August. (Under CMA bylaws additional candidates can be nominated by other means, including from the floor of GC, but this rarely happens.)

Once the 250 GC delegates have either elected or acclaimed the new president-elect, that physician will hold the post until August 2015, and then assume the presidency when the CMA holds its 2015 annual meeting in Halifax.

The Nova Scotia candidates for president-elect are:

Dr. Maria Alexiadis, a family doctor from Halifax, also practises as a GP psychiatrist with Nova Scotia’s Early Psychosis Program. A past president of DoctorsNS, she has served as the CMA’s deputy speaker since 2009, and is a former member of the CMA Board. She has been coordinator of the DoctorsNS Professional Support Program since 2013.

Dr. Cathy Felderhof, a general practitioner from Canso, NS, is a past chair of the Family Practice Section at DoctorsNS, where she currently serves on the Policy and Health Issues Committee. She also serves as a First Nations staff doctor at Pictou Landing, NS, and since last year has provided addiction services for the Pictou County Health Authority.

Dr. Cindy Forbes, a family physician from Fall River, NS, is a past president of DoctorsNS who chaired the CMA’s Council on Health Care and Promotion for four years. A former member of the CMA’s Political Action Committee, she is currently a member of the DoctorsNS Negotiations Steering Committee. All three candidates are graduates of the Dalhousie University Medical School.

The nominee for president-elect is selected annually by physicians in a different part of the country according to a pre-determined rotation cycle involving the 12 provincial and territorial medical associations that form the CMA.

The current president-elect is Dr. Chris Simpson of Kingston, Ont. He will assume the presidency during the August 2014 annual meeting in Ottawa, succeeding Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti, the current CMA president.

If the DoctorsNS nominee is confirmed by GC in August and then assumes the presidency in 2015, she will become the seventh woman to head the CMA since it was founded in 1867. The last president chosen by Nova Scotia doctors was also a woman, Dr. Judith Kazimirski.

The CMA’s first woman president was Dr. Bette Stephenson, who served in 1974-75.

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