President's Message - January 2017

David White, MD, CCFP, FCFP

Setting a positive tone for engagement in 2017 

The new year is a time to take stock, reflect on the year behind us, and plan for the year ahead. In my family we add some fun to the occasion by each making a prediction. Some of these even turn out to be correct, which is generally remembered only by the person who made the call.

As I contemplate 2017 it is with excitement for my role as President of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC). It’s hard to believe it has already been 2 months since I took on the mantle of this office, literally, at Family Medicine Forum 2016. It is an extraordinary privilege to have this opportunity to connect with dedicated family physicians all across our country. One of my first official duties was to honour members who had achieved Certification in the College of Family Physicians and recipients of Certificates of Added Competence. It was very moving to witness their happiness over the recognition of their hard work and commitment, and to see them surrounded by their proud families, friends, and colleagues at Convocation. 

Connection and engagement are themes that will dominate the coming year. So far, I have had the opportunity to meet with the Boards of the British Columbia College of Family Physicians and the Quebec College of Family Physicians, present awards with the Ontario College of Family Physicians, and represent our College at the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. I was also able to soak up the latest in relevant research in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the meeting of the North American Primary Care Research Group and visit with medical students at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. In addition to being a member of the Board, the President sits as a member or guest on multiple CFPC Committees. In all of these groups, the commitment of family physicians to their patients and our discipline is palpable, often despite the pressures and challenges currently affecting practice in many settings.

As I think about last year and what it means for engagement, I want to highlight that we launched our first-ever electronic election for Board Directors. Participation was remarkable: 2,053 members voted, which is 6.2% of our entire membership. That percentage may sound small, but it represents 1,871 more voters than the 182 who participated in person at the previous Annual Meeting of Members—an increase of more than 900%. In addition, 155 people took the time to comment. Of them, nearly 50% expressed appreciation for the new process and about 28% included suggestions for improvement. Now that’s engagement.

And as we look ahead, I wish you all a happy, healthy, prosperous, and engaged 2017. 

Finally, I invite you to connect with me on Twitter:@DavidGordWhite

David White, MD, CCFP, FCFP


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