A Kingston cardiologist, Dr. Chris Simpson, has been selected as Ontario's nominee to become president-elect of the CMA. Voting in the two-physician election - the other candidate was Dr. Gail Beck, an Ottawa-based psychiatrist - closed Feb. 27, and results were announced March 1.
Simpson, a professor and head of the Division of Cardiology at Queen's University, is already well versed on national issues facing the health care system because of his work as chair of the Wait Time Alliance, an organization that includes the CMA, 13 other members and three partner organizations.
When voting began in mid-January, Simpson told eligible voters - the 30,000-plus members of the Ontario Medical Association who also belong to the CMA - that he intended to focus on "four areas of opportunity" if elected:
- To "grow the reputation" of Canada's doctors as credible and respected opinion leaders who work to provide solutions: "As the organization representing all of Canada's physicians, the CMA can provide a national platform for disseminating [medicine's] success stories."
- To enhance and further build partnerships between the primary care/family medicine and specialist communities: "Together, we are so much better than the sum of our parts."
- To lead a process of health human resources planning for the future: "As Wayne Gretzky famously said, we need to go where the puck is going to be."
- To bring value to our members: "As a co-editor of the CMA Driver's Guide, I never cease to be amazed at how it provides nearly daily help and guidance for most of my colleagues. I want to build on the CMA's successes and create even more helpful resources for our members. My goal is to have cma.ca on every doctor's 'favourites' list."
Simpson's name will be submitted to General Council during this August's CMA annual meeting in Calgary, and if his nomination is confirmed there he will serve as president-elect for a year before assuming the presidency in August 2014. (Each year, the president-elect is nominated by physicians in a different region of the country according to a pre-determined rotation cycle involving the 12 provincial and territorial medical associations that form the CMA. Under the CMA bylaws additional candidates can be nominated by other means, such as from the floor of General Council, but this seldom happens.)
It is clear that Simpson is looking forward to his new role. "I believe passionately in the capacity of Canada's doctors to lead our health care system to a better future," his campaign materials state. "If entrusted with the presidency, I will put my heart and soul into doing the best job I possibly can."