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A Message from Your Council

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Council, January Messenger 2021 | Posted January 19, 2021

A message from CPSA Council President Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti

As CPSA’s new Council President, I would like to start this year off by offering my well wishes for everyone in the New Year. I welcome the change 2021 will bring and I am sure many of you feel the same.

When I wrote this message, I asked myself:

  • How can I lead and support CPSA’s Council and leadership team in capturing the attention and interest of both busy Alberta physicians and Albertans—in the middle of a pandemic?
  • How can I lead and support CPSA’s Council and leadership team in reaching out to physicians and Albertans to ensure medicine is being practiced in a safe, patient-centred manner?
  • How do I do my part to support physicians and stem patient complaints?
  • How do I strive to improve the performance of CPSA’s Council and, in turn, improve medical practice across the profession?
  • How do CPSA’s Council, leadership team and I acknowledge and support five generations of physicians and learners, practising and caring for a diverse population seeking to communicate differently and engage in collaborative care?

Honestly, I don’t know the answers but I am more than willing to listen to your suggestions. I plan on visiting virtually and in-person this year with as many of you as possible (as public health guidelines allow), to really listen to your concerns and feedback. I also plan to listen to the concerns of Albertans to gain a broader perspective on where improvements are needed, so they continue to receive high-quality care.

Our profession and the whole healthcare system is under duress like we have never seen before. Physicians feel burned out and, unfortunately, medical students, residents and other healthcare workers are not isolated from these pressures. Albertans also face significant stress and challenges related to the pandemic, which must not be diminished or ignored.

At the end of the day, being a physician is a great responsibility society has bestowed on us. But part of that responsibility is finding ways to change for the better. As a Past-President of both the CMA and Royal College, I have consistently advocated for greater accountability of the medical profession—unfortunately, I have seen considerable pushback. We must remember the importance of listening to the concerns of our patients and adapting accordingly, while continuing to balance evidence-based practice. Many of these changes will come from a management level, however, it must start with us as physicians.

What if we started simply, by purposefully reintroducing the practice of kindness and truly caring for each other, our patients and our community? What if we went to work each day and looked for opportunities to be kinder and more caring to each other?

It can be as simple as a kind word, taking an extra moment to hear someone out and most importantly, being kind to yourself and your loved ones. It does not cost anything to be nicer to someone and can make a significant difference.

It is always easier to look for reasons why not to do something, but each of us has the ability to set the tone and I ask you to be a champion of kindness within our profession.

Are you up for the challenge to change our healthcare system, our profession, our province and our culture one word, one smile and one act of kindness at a time? Let’s talk about it this year.

*Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti is a Preventive & Emergency Medicine physician at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta.

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