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From critic to convert

As part of his plan to meet with every provincial and territorial medical association during his term, CMA President Dr. Laurent Marcoux started the 2018 leg of his tour in Manitoba, on January 10th. Members had many questions about the CMA’s new direction.

Alongside Dr. Marcoux, CMA Board member, Dr. David Cram, told the audience about his conversion.

As physician in the town of Souris, Manitoba, Cram said for many years, he had little interest in the CMA.

“It seemed to be a huge bureaucratic organization,” he explained.

Cram was looking for more.

“We care for patients, that is in our blood, and that what we do,” said Cram.

As a physician and a member of Doctors Manitoba, Cram says for him, the 2020 strategy is putting the focus on what is important.

“As part of a provincial organization, I am in the trenches, doing the day-to-day work of representing physicians on their contracts, and in negotiations. The CMA is on a different level [with the 2020 strategy]. We have a broader scope and a higher purpose, and that purpose is to care for patients, and [the CMA is there] to extend what physicians do on an individual basis, to a national level.”

Cram says he has heard the question from his colleagues, 'what is in the 2020 strategy for me?’ He says his answer is simple.

“On medical assistance in dying, on the marijuana issue, on the tax issue, I see the CMA as being front and center, representing physicians. And no one else is going to do that. No other organization is going to represent physicians on national issues, simple as that.”

The road to the 2020 has not been easy. But it is necessary. Medicine and health care are facing major disruptions. The CMA had to decide if we would merely be swept up by this change, or if we could harness it to shape our future.

Our 2020 mission statement — empowering and caring for patients — acknowledges that’s what important to the CMA is what’s important to our members. Our 2020 vision — a vibrant profession and a healthy population — points to the direction we want to take.

As Dr. Cram explains, patient care is at the center of what he does every day. The CMA must reflect this same reality in our goals.

The Canadian Medical Association has always been about — and continues to be about — physicians. What the new 2020 strategy does is crystallize what is central to your work — patient care.