Canadian Medical Association (CMA) members in British Columbia have voted Dr. Kathleen Ross as their candidate for CMA president-elect nominee.
Dr. Ross is a family physician in Coquitlam and New Westminster who does clinical work in community primary care and obstetrics and cardiovascular surgical assist work at Royal Columbian Hospital.
Pending ratification at this year’s CMA Annual General Meeting on Aug. 21, Dr. Ross will serve as president-elect until August 2023, when she will become CMA president.
Five other candidates — Dr. Evan Tlesla II Adams, Dr. William J. Cunningham, Dr. Sanjiv Karamchand Gandhi, Dr. Jason Kur and Dr. Caroline Y. Wang — took part in the election, which ran from Mar. 1 to 15.
With the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally shifting the delivery of health care, Dr. Ross believes Canada’s physicians have an unprecedented opportunity to help reform the system — including addressing the multiple root causes of the primary care crisis and backlog of acute care services.
Building on her leadership experience as former Doctors of BC president, among other roles, she has seen how engaging front-line physicians to actively share their on-the-ground issues is critical to attaining the ongoing system improvements that are needed.
“The need for authentic, front-line, grassroots and experienced perspectives in both community and acute care has never been greater,” said Dr. Ross.
With rising levels of burnout and moral distress in the profession, addressing physicians’ physical and psychological safety is another systemic issue she identified as requiring urgent attention post-pandemic.
“Together physicians, patients, communities and governing bodies can proactively define a new Canadian health care system and the evolving role of physicians to optimally use our skills in a safe environment to benefit all.”
Dr. Ross also believes that a commitment to collaboration and respectful relationships with Indigenous people and communities will be essential to Canada’s much-needed health reform.
As a founding member of the Doctors of BC Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group and as physician lead for the Royal Columbian Hospital’s Antiracism and Unconscious Bias Working Group, Dr. Ross remains committed to learning, increasing awareness, education and the ongoing implementation of inclusive, diverse and antiracism practices in health care.
Among her other interests, Dr. Ross has been recognized for advancing technology in front-line clinical care for physicians in BC and the Yukon and for her health care educational training project work in remote Andean regions of Peru.
Next year’s CMA presidential election will take place in Manitoba.