A CMA for Trainees

Supporting the Next Generation of Leaders

One of the key principles of leadership I endorse is “enabling others to act”. As a clinical teacher and academic physician for over 34 years, I understand the importance of mentoring young physicians and enabling their meaningful participation in the discussion, planning and design of the changes needed in medical education and the healthcare system. I will be a champion of issues that resonate with students and residents such as addressing tuition increases and debt load, encouraging equity in admissions criteria to medical school, and improving future employment opportunities, physician well-being, and our social accountability mandate.

The CMA has built a strong foundation of services for learners, from financial management resources to transitioning to residency. The key to learner engagement is for the CMA to continue to support and value learners, and to meet their needs. But to really engage students and residents in giving back to the CMA – to provide their perspective as well as their innovative ideas – we have to address all aspects of what really matters to them and their patients. And time and time again, I hear that they care about their social responsibility to improve healthcare for people living in Canada – particularly the disadvantaged. To me, this area of focus excites and motivates learners/students to become engaged and to see the CMA as a relevant organization worthy of their time and support.

We can address learner goals by utilizing the essential principles of collaboration, consultation and inclusion to identify key gaps that matter most to our next generation of physicians with actions such as:

    • Creating a task force dedicated to the financial needs and concerns of trainees that will:
      • Explore new models of finance and support for tuition
      • Expand access to affordable financing for candidates from marginalized populations and remote areas
      • Engage local communities in defining needs for physicians and developing innovative community-based strategies for solutions to recruiting and retaining physicians
      • Facilitate trainee involvement in the health innovation and entrepreneurial sectors
      • Study and report on new payment models for physician services that more closely align with 21st century ideals and goals
    • Addressing Health Human Resource Planning
      • One of the basic tenets of Social Accountability is creating a system to meet the healthcare needs of the population. We have a problem in Ontario and across the country: we are not producing the right number of physicians in each specialty (including family medicine) according to the needs of the population. Nor are these physicians reasonably distributed across the country to meet community needs. As CMA president I would advocate for Physician (and general health) human resource planning using need-based projections to meet the future healthcare needs of people living in Canada. This data would be a huge asset to medical students in guiding their career choices.
    • Addressing mental health issues and burnout amongst learners:
      • Just as the Quadruple Aim is about practising Physicians, it no less applies to medical students and residents. Medical trainees are people too and mental health and addiction problems are present and growing. Improved working conditions and culture change in medical training are necessary as well as ongoing training regarding self care, resiliency training and therapy for learners.
      • However, it is also important to recognize that we have many possible technical fixes to address administrative duties that often take the place of medical education and training. We should learn lessons from other industries in how to create better, more invigorating workplaces that imbue people with a reason for which to come to work to. Examples include:
        • Hiring more Physician extenders (such as NPs and PAs) to reduce the administrative burden placed on Residents and Medical Students whose time would be better spent learning and reading.
        • Limiting distractions, through dedicated periods of time and areas for trainees to be able to focus on patient assessments and notes.





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