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
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.
Julie Drury (Ottawa, Ontario)
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. In facing challenges with her daughter, she learned to become a care coordinator, system navigator, ad hoc nurse/therapist, and an expert in her daughter’s disease and its management. Julie is passionate about the patient/family/professional partnership in improving experience of the health care system. She is an experienced patient/family advisor and leader with an interest in effective patient partnership, complex disease management, and patient safety across the health care system.
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.
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.
Toni Leamon (Port aux Basques, Newfoundland)
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.
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.
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.
Chad Dickie (Victoria, BC)
Born and raised on the Fort Nelson First Nation in northern British Columbia, Chad is the first of 11 children not to attend a residential school. He has several invisible conditions: HIV, substance use disorder and an acquired brain injury. Chad gives back to his community in various ways including supporting HIV community-based care and cure research, and as a patient partner with the BC Patient Voices Network. Most recently, he was awarded the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council Quality 2019 Award for “Leadership in Advancing the Patient Voice”.
Dr. Stephanie Smith
Dr. Smith is a recent graduate of the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. She was active in the Calgary Medical Student Association, which led to her appointment as a representative on the Alberta Medical Association and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta boards. She served as president of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students in 2018–19.
Dr. Carl Nohr
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.