Listening to patients is a focus of every physician’s clinical practice. It’s also a focus for the CMA. One of the ways we do that is through the Patient Voice, a group of patients who lend their perspectives and experience to our advocacy work.
The 12-member group offers ideas on how to make Canadians healthier and contribute to a vibrant medical profession, highlighting emerging issues that matter to the public and giving insight into the best ways for the CMA and physicians to engage with patients. They are joined by two representatives from the CMA Board of Directors.
“Patients are at the core of what we do. Everything in the practice of medicine exists because of our mandate to look after patients.”
Dr. Carl Nohr, CMA Board Member
Sucdi Barre (Edmonton, Alberta)
Shortly after giving birth for the first time, Sucdi experienced seven heart attacks, four TIA strokes and three open-heart surgeries and was diagnosed with spontaneous coronary artery dissection. Her medical challenges have not stopped her from serving as co-director of the Alberta Somali Community Centre, a small non-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment and full integration of newcomer Canadians. She shares her story to empower others faced with sudden, permanent medical challenges.
Chantal Batt (Ottawa, Ontario)
After working in public affairs and advocacy for 20+ years, Chantal took a leave of absence in 2012 to care for her mother, whose eventual cancer diagnosis took over a year. Her priorities include advocacy around pain and symptom management, continuity of care and reducing barriers to equitable health care for Indigenous patients. Chantal is a member of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre’s Patient-Family Advisory Council, the Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre’s Aboriginal Steering Committee and the Ottawa Hospital’s Pain Medicine Program Strategic Advisory Committee.
Robert Carignan (Ponteix, Saskatchewan)
For the past few years, Robert has been involved in improving and expanding medical services in his rural Saskatchewan community. He’s the president of the Ponteix Primary Health Care Committee, a group of community members advocating for improved health care services in rural areas at the local and provincial government levels. He also serves as a member of his provincial Patient and Family Advisory Council.
Samantha Chigier (Bedford, Nova Scotia)
Samantha, a young woman living with a disability, is interested in how the health care system can better serve patients from diverse backgrounds. Throughout her teenage years, she’s received medical treatment in Canada and the US. She’s looking to explore the differences between the two countries’ health systems, share her experiences with chronic pain and work to improve the experiences of teenagers with health care.
Sarah Fletcher (Vancouver, British Columbia)
As a patient and an aspiring health care provider, Sarah cares deeply about improving Canada's health care system and ensuring patients are at the forefront of change. She has seen both the strengths and weaknesses of our current system in multiple provinces and she brings these insights to her work as a youth and patient advisor for a number of provincial, national and international organizations.
Michelle Hamilton-Page (Victoria, British-Columbia)
Michelle is a Doctorate of Social Science candidate researching workplace cultures and the LGBTQ+ experience. As a digital strategy lead in the public health, hospital and NGO sectors, Michelle has worked on a public health communicable diseases e-notification and resource mobile application, a suite of social media platforms and strategies for allied health professionals, clients and families, and an evidence-based mobile application to help people cut back or quit drinking.
Elke Hutton (Shellbrook, Saskatchewan)
With 30 years of experience in the health care system, Elke brings the tools, insights and understandings she’s gathered to her role as a patient advocate. She’s supported numerous friends and family members through their own health care journeys and hopes to empower others to be more active and informed participants in their care. She is a patient family advisor on two steering committees in Prince Albert and has been involved with the Saskatchewan Health Quality Council and Choosing Wisely Canada.
Géraldine Jippé (Montreal, Quebec)
After facing racism and racially underinformed assessments leading to a delayed cancer diagnosis, Géraldine believes there’s room for improvement at every stage of a patient’s journey. As a medical activist, she believes that patient care prevention should spark a big change in the way care is managed in Canada. Géraldine wants to help make an impact and change the current system by developing a patient-centric and a human-focused approach with the help and support of medical professionals and patients across Canada.
Jean Johnston-McKitterick (Ottawa, Ontario)
As a senior living advisor for the Ottawa-based company Tea and Toast, Jean is passionate about helping seniors find appropriate retirement homes that fit their care needs, budget and neighbourhood of choice. She brings valuable insights from her four years of caring for and supporting her mother, who suffered from dementia. Throughout that time, Jean garnered a significant amount of experience and knowledge of provincial health care and client care needs, which she hopes to bring to the Patient Voice.
Sonia Kumar-Seguin (Hamilton, Ontario)
Sonia has channelled her experience as a patient recovering from an eating disorder to become executive director of a community-based organization referring others for treatment and support. She believes in the potential of new, e-health technologies to address health care gaps, and as someone of mixed heritage (Indian/Canadian), wants to help the CMA engage with a more diverse population of Canadians.
Toni Leamon (Port aux Basques, Newfoundland), Chair
As a 20-year-old, Toni wants to bring the youth perspective to conversations on health care. She’s involved with the Newfoundland Patient Advisory Council and the Quality of Care NL Patient Panel, and as their youngest member, ensures the needs and opinions of the younger generation are reflected. Coming from a small town of 4,000, she also shares the challenges of accessing care in a rural community.
David Price (Acme, Alberta)
Following the premature death of his son, David and his family have worked to support positive improvement to the health care system – in particular around timely diagnosis and continuity of care. He participated in the Health Quality Council of Alberta investigation into his son’s journey through the system and his story helped inform the Council’s report, Continuity of Patient Care Study. Drawing on David’s feedback, the report outlined a series of recommendations for creating a system of more coordinated and seamless care in the province.
Claire Snyman (Vancouver, British Columbia)
As a brain tumour patient, Claire quickly realized the importance of becoming an advocate for one’s own health. Since that time, her mission has been to inspire people to put their health in their own hands and to work in partnership with their health teams to make care decisions. As an author, blogger and advocate, she has spoken about patient advocacy at TEDxStanleyPark and has founded the website "Two Steps Forward" to support others in navigating the health care system.
Roger Stoddard (Quispamsis, New Brunswick)
Roger has faced unique challenges in the health care system; as a patient with multiple chronic conditions and as a care provider for a family member with a chronic mental illness. He credits his sense of humour with helping him remain positive throughout. He’s involved in many projects at the community, provincial and national level, including with McGill University and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.
Eddy Szczerbinski (Lévis, Quebec)
After dealing with cancer, Eddy sees many opportunities for improvement within the Quebec health care system. Throughout his time in the system, he gleaned many insights from other patients and from his experiences at various hospitals, clinics and medical organizations. As he focuses now on his recovery, he would like to see system improvement to build better information sharing between patients, general practitioners and specialists.
Dr. Clare Kozroski (CMA Board of Directors' representative)
Dr. Kozroski is a rural family physician in southwest Saskatchewan. She has worked in several provinces and in the Canadian Forces medical reserves. Clare was president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association in 2013 and joined the Canadian Medical Association board in 2020.
Dr. Carl Nohr (CMA Board of Directors' representative)
Dr. Nohr is a community general surgeon in Medicine Hat, Alberta. He co-chaired the development of the Alberta Provincial Medical Staff Bylaws and Rules. Dr. Nohr has also served on the Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, and as speaker and president of the Alberta Medical Association.