Physicians in Nova Scotia have chosen Dr. Cindy Forbes to serve as their nominee for president-elect of the CMA in 2014-15.
If the nomination is confirmed by General Council in August — this is usually a formality — she will serve as president-elect until August 2015, when she will assume the presidency during the CMA’s 148th annual meeting in Halifax.
In the process, she will become the fourth woman to serve as CMA president since 2005. In comparison, three women held the post between 1867 — the year the CMA was founded — and 2004.
All three candidates who sought the 2014 nomination practise family medicine or are in general practice, and all attended medical school at Dalhousie University.
Forbes, a family physician from Fall River, NS, is a past president of Doctors Nova Scotia (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.
The unsuccessful candidates were Dr. Maria Alexiadis of Halifax, a past president of DoctorsNS and the current deputy speaker of the CMA’s General Council, and Dr. Cathy Felderhof of Canso, NS, a past chair of the DoctorsNS Family Practice Section.
Voting, which was open to members of DoctorsNS who also belong to the CMA, began Jan. 22 and came to a close Feb. 26, with almost 900 votes cast.
All three candidates sent a “letter of intent” to potential voters in January. In her letter, Forbes outlined the challenges facing trainees and practising physicians, from unacceptable wait times to job stress, poor work-life balance and concerns about employment opportunities.
She said her goal as president is to promote innovative solutions. “My leadership experience at the local, provincial and national levels taught me that much can be accomplished with a positive attitude, a desire to listen and clear common goals,” she wrote. “From my time as president of DoctorsNS and from my national service at the CMA . . . I know there is tremendous talent within our profession to make positive change happen for health care.”
The election marked the first time an all-female slate of candidates has sought the CMA’s top job, but the CMA’s current president says it won’t be the last. “The face of medicine is changing, and the CMA reflects that,” says Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti. “Fifteen years ago, women accounted for 24% of our members. Five years ago, that had grown to 34%. Today, it stands at 39%. The fact that they are interested in taking leadership roles within both medicine and the CMA is very good news indeed.”