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Young members’ issues focus of 2015 Members’ Hour

When the CMA held its seventh Members’ Hour on Aug. 24, it wasn’t hard to determine a theme.

These 70-minute sessions, which have become a popular staple at General Council, allow members to “take over the CMA floor” and raise any issue they want with the association’s senior leaders. This year, half of the 14 questions from the floor dealt with the CMA’s relationship with its young members, and the fact that some of them let their membership lapse once they enter practice.

CMA Honorary Treasurer Brendan Lewis noted that some steps are already being taken to ease new doctors' entry into practice, with the membership fee cut by 50% during their first year. President Chris Simpson said the association has to continue providing good value to all members. “I want members to want to be members, and we do this by generating value,” he said.

CMA President-Elect Cindy Forbes said the CMA has to work to make membership a “no-brainer” because of the value it provides to physicians. The CMA currently has more than 80,000 members.

One student delegate suggested that the CMA work to encourage the mentoring of young members by more experienced colleagues. Board Chair Brian Brodie said both sides could benefit from such an arrangement. “We need more conversation about this,” added Forbes.

The remaining questions covered a variety of topics, ranging from cybersecurity at the CMA and its subsidiaries to a suggestion that the organization get involved in helping young members cope with an increasingly tight job market. Another delegate suggested that, given the CMA’s current emphasis on developing a seniors strategy, it should do more to deal with Canada’s shortage of geriatricians.

Brodie, who chaired the forum, said he was pleased with the session — results, particularly the large turnout and the numerous questions raised.

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