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A Message from Your Council President: changing the narrative

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Council, June Messenger 2021, Physicians | Posted June 11, 2021

By Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti, CPSA Council President

May 28, 2021, was a historic occasion for CPSA’s Council when, for the first time ever, the Treaty 8 Grand Chief Arthur Noskey addressed our Council. Along with him were his Treaty 8 colleagues Chief Silas Yellowknee, Grand Chief of Health, Chief Bigstone Cree Nation; Dion Napio, Health Director; Margo Auger, Chief Administrative Officer; and Shelly Gladue, Health Authority Director, who enlightened Council on the importance of changing the narrative around how physicians and CPSA view and interact with Alberta’s Indigenous populations. He challenged us to be bold and find a renewed sense of purpose in our engagements with Indigenous people. Grand Chief Noskey’s frank and detailed descriptions of what has happened to his people was only emphasized by the announcement of the tragic discovery of the mass gravesite of 215 missing children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Words cannot begin to describe the horror of what happened and gut-wrenching chill it elicits. As a physician community, we can do better—we must do better.

The Grand Chief challenged all of us to continue this important conversation and to make sure it leads to meaningful change in the way we support Indigenous patients, because anything less would be shameful. If you’re looking for a place to start, I highly recommend reading the “Decolonizing a swab” article series by Alberta Indigenous physician Dr. Cassandra Felske-Durksen that we recently shared in Messenger.

Our two-day virtual Council meeting also addressed many other important issues.

Council made a decision on the $9-million building fund: heeding the advice of physicians, close to half of the funds will be used to reduce 2022 renewal fees. A bold $5 million will be used as seed funding for a project that will unleash ideas that better support physicians and explore innovative ways to advance healthcare delivery in Alberta, as voted on by you. CPSA will explore the possibility of convening a task force to dream and deliver on this project.

With recent changes to council composition requirements for health profession regulatory bodies across Alberta, Council also endorsed a limited governance review as we transition into the future with a newly-structured Council membership of 50 per cent appointed public members and 50 per cent elected physician members.

Councillor Dr. Jim Stone from Calgary summed up our two days of extensive conversation and collaboration by calling on Council members to “shine the light” on the many opportunities for CPSA and the physician community to get involved in the improvement of health care in Alberta. From seeking appropriateness of care, supporting physicians requiring practice improvements, questioning of certain existing examination procedures for their fairness, to assessing competence, the opportunities are endless. I’m eager to lead this charge as CPSA’s Council President this year.

I will be hosting my next virtual Q&A with physicians on June 18 at noon to continue the conversations on these important topics. I learned a great deal from our physician community at our last Q&A and am eager to do so again. Please sign up to join me.

Want to discuss this month’s message or other topics of interest? Join CPSA Council President Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti for a virtual Q&A!

This is your opportunity to engage with CPSA, ask your questions and hear directly from Dr. Francescutti on matters affecting you and your patients.

Join us for our next session on Friday, June 18 from 12-12:45 p.m.

Please RSVP via the link in the purple box in the Physician Portal to let us know you’re coming.

2 Responses

  1. Norman Yee says:

    Louis, Council and CPSA staff, as always, thanks for ongoing governance and profession leadership. I heard the word ‘bold’ used more than once. As individuals and as a profession, we are privileged members of society; privileged to be caregivers, privileged to have/practice a calling, privileged socioeconomically, and privileged by our society to afford us professional self-regulation. To paraphrase possibly Voltaire, but certainly Stan Lee ala Peter Parker, “with such privilege comes great responsibility’. So, as you suggest, we can do better – we must do better. The ongoing efforts to open up Council to visitors, public representation, and reaching out to members are all parts of doing better. To boldly go where no physician has gone before. Peace and long life, all. Norm

    • Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti says:

      Hi Norm, thanks for taking the time to read my article and write in. I couldn’t agree more that, as physicians, we’re in a very privileged position and need to make the conscious choice to use that privilege responsibly and for the good of our patients and society. I also appreciate you taking notice of some of the ways CPSA is making strides to do better and lead by example. We still have a lot of work to do, but it’s a start. If you want to discuss this or anything else, please feel welcome to join me at my lunchtime physician Q&A on Friday, June 18—you can register via the link in the physician portal. Thank you for your work on the front lines of this pandemic—take care.