Canadian Medical Association

New group will provide patient perspective on CMA policy and advocacy

Ottawa, Ontario – October 25, 2018 – The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) today announced the individuals that will form its inaugural CMA Patient Voice, a new patient advisory group. More than 500 individuals sought the opportunity to be part of the advisory group and to provide their perspective to the CMA's advocacy and policy work. Candidates were selected based on diversity, geographic representation and passion for health care improvement.

The group also welcomes two representatives from the CMA Board of Directors: Current chair and BC-based family physician, Dr. Brian Brodie, and Dr. Linda Slocombe, a family physician from Alberta.

"At the CMA, our role is to support physicians and promote sound health policies; ensuring that a patient lens informs our advocacy work is a big part of that", says Dr. Gigi Osler, CMA president. "Incorporating the patient perspective into our work not only makes our voice stronger but gives us real insight into the realities of health care today."

 The first-ever members of the CMA Patient Voice are:

  • Robert Carignan (Ponteix, SK): Involved in improving and expanding medical services in his rural Saskatchewan community, Robert is also president of the Ponteix Primary Health Care Committee, a group of community members advocating for improved health services in rural areas.
  • Samantha Chigier (Bedford, NS): A young woman living with a disability who received medical treatment in Canada and the US, Samantha is curious about the differences between the two health systems and wishes to share her experiences as a teenager with chronic pain.
  • Julie Drury (Ottawa, ON): As the mother of a child with an ultra-rare form of mitochondrial disease (SIFD), Julie has had significant experience with the health care system in Canada, the US and internationally. She has since become an experienced advisor and leader with an interest in effective patient partnership, complex disease management and patient safety. 
  • Sarah Fletcher (Vancouver, BC): As a patient and aspiring health care provider, Sarah has seen both the strengths and weaknesses of our current system in multiple provinces and brings these insights to her work as a youth and patient advisor for a number of provincial, national and international organizations.
  • Elke Hutton (Shellbrook, SK): A patient family advisor with more than 30 years of experience in health care, Elke is involved with the Saskatchewan Health Quality Council and Choosing Wisely Canada.
  • Toni Leamon (Port aux Basques, NL): The youngest member of the Newfoundland Patient Advisory Council and the Quality of Care NL Patient Panel, Toni brings a young patient perspective, in addition to her experience accessing care in rural Canada.
  • David Price (Acme, AB): Following the premature death of his son, David and his family have worked to support positive improvement to the health care system in Alberta – in particular around timely diagnosis and continuity of care.
  • Sonia Seguin (Hamilton, ON): While recovering from an eating disorder, Sonia became executive director of a community-based organization referring others for treatment and support.
  • Claire Snyman (Vancouver, BC): Since her experience as a brain tumour patient, Claire's mission has been to inspire people to put their health in their own hands and work in partnership with health teams to make care decisions.
  • Roger Stoddard (Quispamsis, NB): A patient with multiple chronic conditions and care provider, Roger has been involved in projects at the community, provincial and national level, including with McGill University and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.
  • Eddy Szczerbinski (Lévis, QC): After dealing with cancer, Eddy wishes to share insights from his own experience − and those of other patients he met along the way − to advocate for better information sharing between patients, general practitioners and specialists.
  • Rodney Young (Halfmoon Bay, BC): Diagnosed in 2002 with primary progressive MS, Rodney lives in a small BC town and is familiar with the challenges of getting timely and accessible care.

CMA Board of Directors representatives:

  • Dr. Brian Brodie (Chilliwack, BC): A full-time family physician in Chilliwack, Dr. Brodie has been the CMA Board Chair since 2013.
  • Dr. Linda Slocombe (Calgary, AB): A family physician by training, she currently practises low-risk obstetrics in a large group practice in Calgary in addition to being on the CMA Board of Directors and a former Alberta Medical Association president.

The first meeting of the CMA Patient Voice will be held in Ottawa in December 2018.