Canadian Medical Association

The CMA’s General Council has a history as old as the association itself. 

For 150 years, members gathered at council – once a year – to propose policies to shape the CMA’s advocacy and operations. 

But a lot has changed since that first General Council in 1867. Important health debates are happening every day. So last year, a task force was created to broaden how the CMA engages members and taps into their expertise and experience.

“The CMA’s greatest resource is its members, and their rich relationship with their patients and their communities,” says Dr. Ann Collins, CMA board member on the task force. “They see what goes on in the health system on a day-to-day basis. And connecting that knowledge back to the CMA is critical.”

Member proposals and communities of interest were both created to build these member connections.

Member proposals provide a direct way for members to bring policy ideas and issues to the CMA, without having to travel to an annual meeting or step up to a microphone. Using an online portal, members can submit proposals at any time of the year and take action on health issues as they arise. 

“The most important thing is this [member proposals] allows members direct access,” explains Dr. Collins. “It’s not a once a year thing.”

The CMA’s support for communities of interest is another way to help physicians connect and provide insight on specific health issues. 

These online communities will create a way for physicians to engage with people nationwide – from across the health system – on a common issue or cause. By sharing problems, best practices and possible solutions with a broader group, members of these communities will be able to play an important role in building better care. 

This year, the CMA started a project to help fund these communities and is currently in the process of building an online platform that communities can use to interact.

“It will be like holding a General Council every day of the year, because we’ll have virtual communities debating the solutions,” says CMA President Dr. Laurent Marcoux. “We’ll be able to build health care system change with the people who know it best: physicians.”

The CMA’s connection with members has never been more important; our strength is in our numbers. Member proposals and communities of interest are just two of the measures we’re using to build a network for continuous engagement, and to make sure all our members’ voices are heard.

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