President's Message

Guillaume Charbonneau, MD, CCFP, FCFP

The future of family medicine

To ensure the future of our specialty, we know that we must promote family medicine to medical students. The best health care systems rest on effective primary care, and family physicians must assume a strong leadership role to make sure the system performs well. It is therefore important that an adequate number of students choose family medicine to respond to the needs of the population. But as far as I’m concerned, this is not enough.

Students who choose to specialize in family medicine must do so because it is their passion. They must believe in the greater value of our specialty and want to contribute to fulfilling our social mandate. We need to attract and train the best leaders of future generations.

Family Medicine Interest Groups (FMIGs) that our College helped create in the early 2000s are excellent means for achieving this goal. They allow medical students an opportunity to develop leadership skills through involvement in their FMIG’s activities. They also support students who have a positive vision of family medicine and allow them to influence their academic communities.

Two of the FMIGs’ greatest benefits are helping students better understand different types of family practices and exposing them to positive personal stories from practising family physicians. To provide these, FMIGs need College members to participate in their activities. If you are interested, I strongly urge you to contact a FMIG in your region. Provincial Chapters of the College and departments of family medicine at Canadian universities help us immensely in supporting these groups, and we are extremely grateful for their efforts.

I’ve participated in many FMIG activities over the past few years and I have several FMIG events on my schedule this year. I hope my participation will positively influence the perception students have of our specialty and encourage their interest in starting a career in family medicine.

I now realize that I am the greatest beneficiary of FMIG activities. Connecting with students and hearing their questions takes me back to my university days and reminds me of the hopes and dreams I had that fuelled my career goals. It ensures that I never forget that sense of optimism and instills in me the belief that future generations will continue our quest to continually improve the services we provide to our patients.

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