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A Message from Your Council President and Vice-President—Being a CPSA Councillor: Protecting the public while growing as a professional

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August Messenger 2021, Council, Physician Assistants, Physicians | Posted August 12, 2021
Read time: 4 minutes

By CPSA Council President Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti and CPSA Council Vice-President Stacey Strilchuk

August is always an exciting time of year as we soak up the last few weeks of summer and look ahead to the excitement of the fall. The time between August and November is always busy at CPSA because this is when our annual Council Elections take place. Nominations for the 2021 election open Aug. 11 and this year, we are looking to fill two regulated member vacancies at our Council table.

If you haven’t yet thought about running in this year’s Council Elections, now is the time to learn more about what it means to be a leader in the medical profession, and how our work impacts our colleagues and most importantly, fulfills our mandate of protecting Albertans.

We’d like to share our experiences on CPSA Council to give you a sense of our rewarding journeys and hopefully, encourage you to consider embarking on this journey as well by putting your name forward for the upcoming election.

You’ll gain leadership experience

The last 18 months have challenged us both tremendously as leaders. Making important decisions that impact close to 11,000 physicians—plus residents, medical students and physician assistants—and the four million patients who access their care is no small feat, but the things we’ve learned being part of these decisions is invaluable and has helped us both grow as professionals and humans.

You’ll be involved in making tough decisions

Being on CPSA Council, we’ve certainly faced challenging situations that have sometimes required us to make tough decisions—all while having the eyes of the profession and the public on us. The updates made last summer to our standards of practice on Closing or Leaving a Medical Practice, Job Action and Relocating a Medical Practice are a great example of this, as CPSA Council had to balance the priorities of government and physicians, all while keeping patients at the forefront. We both spent many hours pondering what is right for all parties and feel equally proud of what we were able to accomplish.

You’ll get to collaborate with others

We sit at a table of 20 Councillors to have thoughtful and productive debates and discussions about issues affecting Albertans and physicians. Not only do we build meaningful relationships with our fellow Councillors and the CPSA team, but we also have ample opportunities to listen and hear different perspectives, share our perspectives and bring our voices to the table, and learn from and teach others along the way. Although our backgrounds are different, we’ve both been humbled by the breadth of experience around us and feel proud to have a seat at the Council table. This is a particularly exciting time for CPSA as we look ahead to new initiatives like the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and the Indigenous Health Advisory Circle—groups who will support Council to help inform and shape health care in Alberta. The ability to have firsthand experience in the reconciliation process with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples has impacted both of our lives a great deal—personally and professionally.

You’ll learn about governance

Whether or not you’ve sat on a board or council previously, sitting on CPSA Council is a meaningful way to be involved in the governance of an organization and a profession. Recent legislative changes to the composition of Alberta’s regulatory college councils required CPSA Council to be nimble and responsive in our approach to preparing for a Council structure of 50 per cent elected physician members and 50 per cent appointed public members by April 1, 2021. Together, CPSA Council methodically developed and adopted a transition plan with the support of the CPSA team to ensure continuity and stability for Council, the profession and the Albertans we’re mandated to protect—all while respecting the changes to legislation. Good governance is also about respecting our fiduciary responsibilities, something that was at the forefront recently with our Building Fund decision. As trustee of CPSA’s assets, it was important for us to listen, consider feedback and then come to consensus to ensure CPSA’s financial situation remained sound.

You’ll have a better understanding of medical regulation

You’ve been a regulated member, now this is your chance to help shape medical regulation. A common misconception is that, as a Councillor, you’ll represent physicians at the Council table. While it’s true you’ll lend your perspective as a physician to inform decisions, CPSA’s mandate above all is to protect Albertans and put patients first. Sitting on CPSA Council has helped both of us better understand the intricacies and nuances of medical regulation—something that impacts physicians and Albertans alike. It’s more complex than most would imagine and participating on Council has really illustrated to both of us that most decisions do not have a clear right or wrong choice. Being a CPSA Council member will allow you to help influence policies and standards, as well as make decisions that impact your colleagues and protect patients.

You’ll make a difference for physicians and Albertans

Many physicians get into medicine to help people. Being a CPSA Councillor is a way to support all Albertans and their physicians on a larger scale. CPSA’s mandate is to protect the public by guiding the medical profession. Being on CPSA Council emphasizes both your commitment to advocating for good, safe and high-quality patient care, and willingness to support and guide your colleagues in achieving this in every interaction. Where else can you affect work that impacts the lives of every Albertan?

We’re eager to welcome two new elected Council members in 2022 and hope you will consider this opportunity. You can learn more about eligibility and key dates on CPSA’s website.

Want to learn more about running for and being on CPSA Council?

Join CPSA Council President Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti and CPSA Councillor Dr. Daisy Fung for a virtual Q&A session on Council Elections on Aug. 19 from 12-12:45 p.m. Please RSVP to get your meeting link.

Plus, save the date for our Meet the Nominee virtual event on Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

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