Canadian Medical Association

Yipeng GeUniversity of Ottawa, MD Candidate (Class of 2020) 

The CMA’s second annual Health Summit focused on the theme of “Connected in Care” to inspire a future of better health. The event featured an array of keynote and panel sessions touching on virtual care, artificial intelligence, addressing social vulnerability, and ‘getting health back on the agenda’ for the upcoming federal election, among many other topics. 

Attending the meeting as part of the Ambassador Program was a great experience. I was able to brainstorm with a group of exceptional peers, be inspired by the calibre, passion and hard work of my fellow program members, and grow collectively as a group over the course of a few days.

In particular, I was thankful to have had the opportunity to share some of the work of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students and Fédération médicale étudiante du Québec, including a federal election toolkit, an upcoming election primer on issues highlighted by medical students, and a “Why I Vote” social media campaign to get medical students and youth thinking about the election.

I was inspired by the physician, patient, and health care leaders who shared their thoughts to help contextualize the power and importance of connecting care for a healthier and more equitable system. 

Hayley Wickenheiser, Olympian and medical student, shared words that left me with a tremendous sense of respect for the profession of medicine and those who dedicate their lives to making the health and health care system better for all Canadians – “It’s one thing to be the best in the world, but another to be the best for the world”. 

It’s an indescribable privilege to be able to provide care for others, and as a medical trainee entering my final year of medical school, I’m more excited than ever to contribute to making our health and health care systems in Canada the best they can be. 

Dr. Anirudh Sharma — R1, University of Manitoba (Class of 2020)

Attending the CMA’s annual Health Summit as a CMA Ambassador was a great experience. The focus of the conference was “Connected in Care”, with sessions exploring physician wellness, virtual care, artificial intelligence (AI), climate change and election advocacy for a seamless ecosystem of care.

As a current family medicine resident from the beautiful city of Winnipeg, a part of my training includes providing transitional care to patients traveling to the city from northern and remote communities, as well as traveling north to these communities to provide primary care. One would assume that with our current technology, this would be effortless; however, with several active EMRs across the province and lack of portability of medical records, there are many technological hurdles to providing timely care across these geographic distances.
 
When I received the application to attend the CMA Health Summit and reviewed the agenda, I immediately signed up. I was curious to know whether my experiences were a local issue or whether they were part of a larger, systemic problem. I wanted to find out how other communities were addressing these challenges, what I could learn from them and how I could contribute to a national, interprovincial connected care model. 
 
Many of the sessions — like “Connected Physicians, Connected Patients” and “Can AI improve the health care experience?” — related directly to some of the challenges I’m facing in my training. I also had the opportunity to network with several of the speakers along with the many colleagues and patients in attendance.
 
I gained a lot from this conference and would like to express my sincere gratitude to all who made my participation at the CMA Health Summit possible.

Dr. Aditi Amin — 1st year of practice, Internal Medicine Specialist and Occupational Medicine Subspecialist (Candidate)

"We're humans caring for humans." — Dr. Sandy Buchman, CMA president

Those words, from Dr. Buchman's inaugural address as CMA president, struck a powerful chord with me. At a time when technology in health care is taking off, when levels of burnout among providers are on the rise, when governments continue to scrutinize health care expenditures, and when patients and their families want to be recognized for their roles as experts in their own health care experiences, Dr. Buchman’s words seek to remind us what remains at the core of health care: its people.

This year, I had the opportunity to attend my first CMA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Health Summit, thanks to the CMA Ambassador Program. Having recently completed my residency training and being in the process of transitioning to a primarily community-based practice, the opportunity to meet like-minded peers was invaluable. In particular, I learned a lot from colleagues who’ve already established their practice but remain involved in research, education, advocacy and leadership. 

Attending the meetings made me more aware of the current issues impacting Canadian health care and the important work being carried out in these areas that CMA members can get involved in.

The Summit’s theme, "Connected in Care", not only illustrated technological changes and other innovations in health care, but further emphasized the need to ensure connectivity by enabling access to care across jurisdictions and rural/remote areas, as well as among vulnerable populations. The keynotes and panel discussions challenged to me to think about my role in health care and provided me with ideas and strategies to integrate into my own practice.

For me, the Summit and AGM reinforced the idea that health care is a human enterprise — from the communities we live and practise in, the various health care professionals and personnel we work with, and the patients and families we serve — and that focus on humanity should remain at the core of everything we do.

Dr. Sumantra Monty Ghosh — 3rd year of practice, General Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine

Innovation, technology, and eliminating health inequity were some of the most prominent themes at this year’s CMA Health Summit. While the discussions around these topics were enlightening, it was meeting the remarkable individuals who were part of the Ambassador Program that was the highlight of the event. 

From individuals engaged in the latest in technological innovation, to those championing a stronger focus on the health impacts of climate change, the Ambassadors were diverse in their backgrounds and issues, yet similar in their level of commitment to advocacy.

At the Summit, I was able to meet like-minded individuals who, despite being from parts of the country that were vastly diverse from my own — including rural Quebec, coastal Nova Scotia, or small-town Manitoba — shared similar concerns. They saw the inequities and health disparities facing our Indigenous populations. They felt the lack of mental health supports for our youth. They thought about ways to tackle the opioid crisis. They came up with solutions to improve the upstream determinants of health, such as improved housing for those experiencing homelessness.  

The Ambassador Program provided an opportunity for us to discuss these important issues — a place to brainstorm and a platform to acknowledge the pan-Canadian nature of these challenges, which require a united front to tackle. Discovering that each of us is not alone in our advocacy was empowering. Knowing that each Ambassador, despite their background and level of training, was similar in their dedication to making change was inspiring. The discussions we held strengthened our ties and reinforced the bond of our joint work. Together, we really are not alone. Indeed, we are stronger.