Canadian Medical Association

To create improvements in health and health care delivery, the CMA engages members when developing policies and programs, and we work collaboratively with stakeholders and partners. This necessitates not only scheduled annual events but also year-round processes that facilitate ongoing reflection, dialogue and debate.

Connecting with CMA members — AGM, GC and Health Summit

On the heels of its inaugural two-day Health Summit, CMA members participated in the Annual General Meeting and approved changes to the association’s bylaws to reduce the size of the Board of Directors. Members also opted to retain the General Council (GC) meeting as a policy instrument. Election of directors will remain with GC, and there will be particular attention paid to increasing diversity on the board. At the meetings, Dr. Gigi Osler was elected president and Dr. Sandy Buchman president-elect. 

Agility and inclusion now guide policy-making

CMA members have valuable insights that help us shape our policy work. Member proposals are a way to build on these insights and enable members to bring their ideas about health issues to the CMA in a timely manner. 

In 2018, the CMA launched a new model for members to shape our policy work. All members are welcome to present policy proposals for the CMA to consider on a year-round basis. Proposals are assessed by a physician review group and may be referred to a committee, working group or the CMA Board of Directors. 

Helping communities of interest achieve their goals

In 2018, we launched our communities of interest to engage physicians, medical learners and stakeholders who share common interests, expertise and concerns in areas of medical practice. We provided grants to five communities of interest to help them achieve specific goals.

Patients have a voice. Let’s hear it.

The 14-member patient-liaison group, CMA Patient Voice, makes sure we're learning about the emerging issues that matter most to patients and the public. Members of this group bring their unique perspectives about navigating medical systems — from coping with their own illness, to providing care and support to family members, to running community programs.

Collaborating on common goals

Systemic challenges can only be solved with systems’ solutions. The CMA regularly partners with other organizations to drive solutions at multiple levels within medicine. These were the aims of our partnerships in 2018:

Promote equity and inclusion

We’ve partnered with the Federation of Medical Women of Canada (FMWC) to promote diversity in medicine and create a medical culture that is professional and respectful of everyone. We're starting consultations on gender equity with our members and stakeholders and aim to issue a joint CMA-FMWC statement on March 8 — International Women’s Day. The CMA is also working on a diversity policy, which we plan to release in late 2019.

Reduce harms of opioids

In 2018, the CMA collaborated with 30 Canadian organizations for a campaign spearheaded by Choosing Wisely Canada. The group develops and releases recommendations suitable for specialty practice and encourages dialogue between clinicians and their patients with the aim of reducing harms associated with opioid use. Also in 2018, we remained active in the Pan-Canadian Collaborative on Education for Improved Opioid Prescribing, which last year finalized and distributed the 2017 Canadian Guidelines for Opioid Therapy and Chronic Non-Cancer Pain.

Create more residency positions

Canada is losing bright, young talent as a growing number of new physicians look outside the country for postgraduate training or simply find themselves without a residency position. As of May, 169 medical graduates were not able to secure residency in Canada, forcing them to either delay their training or leave here to get it. This was the highest number ever recorded, and the problem is only getting worse. The CMA is partnering with Resident Doctors of Canada, the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada and the Canadian Resident Matching Service to address this issue. Federal and provincial governments must provide more funding for additional postgraduate residencies to help put a stop to this. 

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