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The next Health Accord, climate change and drug shortages: CMA annual meeting taking on “the issues that matter”

The Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA) 149th Annual Meeting and General Council kicks off this weekend in Vancouver, focusing on topics ranging from the shaping of the next Health Accord and climate change to drug shortages and social media. New for 2016, the emerging issues session on Monday, Aug. 22 will allow delegates to suggest, discuss and deliberate on critical and evolving topics affecting the profession and their patients. This extensive dialogue will contribute to a more responsive strategy and policy development process for the CMA.

Members who can’t make it to Vancouver will still be able to participate through “Virtual GC”, an interactive webcast providing accredited sessions that enable members from across the country to join the debates, pose questions, comment and participate in polls. One of the featured sessions will be a panel forum of the CEOs and Chairs of the Boards from the CMA, MD Financial Management and Joule™.

“General Council has always been the gathering place for Canadian physicians to bring forward ideas and discuss ways to improve health care,” said Dr. Cindy Forbes, the CMA president. “This year we are focused on maximizing the use of technology to ensure that members can connect on the issues that matter to them.”

This year features a special pre-conference session on Saturday, Aug. 20 on indigenous health. Organized in partnership by the CMA, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, this session will examine seven recommendations that address the health and health care of indigenous peoples contained in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission final report.

As in past years, the federal minister of health will address the meeting, although for the first time in decades it is a physician – Dr. Jane Philpott – in the role. “We have had very positive interactions with Minister Philpott, particularly around the need to improve the way the health care system cares for seniors,” said Dr. Forbes. “As a family physician before entering politics, Dr. Philpott has seen first-hand how improving seniors care can have a positive impact on the whole system.”

This year’s meeting also features a special keynote address from Dr. James Orbinski on climate change. Dr. Orbinski is the Research Chair in Global Health at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and professor of both medicine and political science at the University of Toronto. He is an outspoken advocate on how climate change contributes not only to adverse health effects, but also heavily impacts the poor and marginalized in society.

Starting Monday, members will hear about the action with daily news reports sent right to their email.

Forward any comments about this article to: cmanews@cma.ca.