CPSA Council President Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti
This month, I have two important topics to share with you. First, as a profession we have an important decision to make about the allotment of CPSA’s building fund. Council is seeking physician input to help decide how to invest an $8.5 million building fund reserve back into the medical profession. We have four options available to us and in April, we will ask each of you to vote on your preferred approach:
- Use the fund for CPSA operations and reduce the physician annual fee in 2022.
- Keep the fund invested and wait for CPSA’s current building lease to expire in 2029. At that time, re-evaluate building or buying office space for CPSA, depending on the economic environment.
- Find partners to match the amount and use the combined sum to fund programs, initiatives or research benefiting all physicians.
- A combination of the above options.
Considering the current economic environment, many physicians may wonder “Why not just give the money back?” Legally, we can’t refund the money since it was collected with annual fees, not as a separate levy. Canada Revenue Agency rules also prohibit CPSA from returning money or property to our members.
Council is ultimately responsible for making the final decision but I assure you, your feedback will have a tremendous impact on that decision. Please take the time to respond in April when we distribute the survey.
The second topic I want to discuss with you stems from a Zoom conversation I had recently with Dr. Kaylynn Purdy, a third-year neurology resident who asked me to provide some context to an interview I gave in 2011. I can honestly say I learn something from every interaction I have with our physician community and this was no exception.
In my 2011 interview, I made some comments and generalizations about female physicians and different generations of physicians and looking back, I understand why my words missed the mark. Dr. Purdy told me my comments led her and some of her colleagues to wonder how I could effectively represent female physicians and different generations of physicians in my role as CPSA Council President. I appreciate Dr. Purdy’s honesty—it gave me a lot of think about and helped me realize I owe our profession an explanation. Dr. Purdy encouraged me to share the details of our conversation with you and I’d like to use this forum to do so.
The intent of my 2011 interview was to talk about how the medical profession is changing and along with it, how the workforce distribution of physicians needs to evolve. Some examples of these changes are:
- Parents, of any gender, prioritizing leaves and time off to be more involved with their families.
- All ages and genders of physicians seeking more work-life balance, which may result in physicians working fewer shifts or reducing their hours.
I made a mistake in my 2011 interview when I singled out certain genders and generations unfairly and I’d like to acknowledge and correct this. I’d hoped to highlight how the way we practised medicine and managed our physician workforce 10 to 20 years ago needed to progress. A physician with a better work-life balance is good for patient care and our healthcare system. When I spoke about challenges facing our profession in 2011, I didn’t intend to suggest that one gender or one generation was better or worse than another, but rather that we need to evolve to meet the needs of all physicians, irrespective of age or generation. But regardless of my intent, it’s clear from the feedback I heard from Dr. Purdy and other physicians that the words I chose that day did not reflect my meaning.
In the last 10 years, I’ve learned a great deal about equity, diversity and inclusion, and I’ve worked to bring those principles to life in my work and do a better job explaining my perspectives. Being open to new perspectives and new ways of delivering quality care is a skill I’ve worked hard to adopt and I encourage every physician in Alberta to do the same—I know many of you already are. The medical profession in Alberta is very diverse and we can all learn a great deal from each other to help us improve patient experiences and outcomes.
In my January President’s Message, I encouraged you to consider ways you can be more kind in your interactions. I would like to thank Dr. Purdy for her kindness in meeting with me to share her perspective. Once again, I would like to challenge each of you to look for more ways to bring kindness to your daily medical practice and interactions with your colleagues.
In the coming ten months, I hope to have many more conversations with physicians in Alberta and I encourage you to reach out to me if there’s something you’d like to share or discuss.