President Report AMM 2020

It is with some nostalgia that I am addressing you for the last time as president of the New Brunswick College of Family Physicians. My mandate was not without challenges, but I did my best to improve the NBCFP. During the past year, so much hard work has been done by family physicians across New-Brunswick and I have never been so proud to advocate for that work to be recognized. It is always an honour for me to share our successes with colleagues from across Canada.

These exceptional times I am continually reminded about the versatility of family physicians in the care of our patients and community. While this has been unexpected for everyone, we continually met this challenge with professionalism and dedication. You have been strong examples of what our specialty can bring to the health care system. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that we can adapt quickly to any situations and still offer comprehensive, timely, cost effective, high quality care to patients.

We have shown through these past 12 weeks that the health care system does not function without the vital work of family physicians. I have advocated strongly so that our specialty is valued to the full extend of our impact on the wellbeing of New Brunswickers and, even if I will be past president of the NBCFP, I will continue to promote that family physicians are treated equally and with as much respect as deserved.

The past months have also brought changes to our office. On June 1st we hired a new executive administrative assistant Dominique Gagnon. We are confident that Dominique will make a significant contribution to our organization for many years to come.

Furthermore, the College of Family Physicians of Canada has hired a Health Policy Analyst, Atlantic Chapter Support that is now to our disposition to help us build strong relationships with government and other partner organizations. Heather Mullen joined us last November and has already made a significant difference in our team. Preparation is key to success and she can provide the expert advice that we need.

I am thrilled that we have continued to modernize our operations. Our goal remains to adapt our office and board of director to be more efficient without fee increases for our members. I have the NBCFP at heart and I worked hard for the past two years for the college to continue its progress and for our organization to provide service and value to all our members. During my mandate I have discussed with various stakeholders about:

  • The Value of Family Physicians and our Profile;
  • Family Doctor Day, celebrated on May 19th every year;
  • The Protection of “Family Medicine” Terminology;
  • The importance of the Patient Medical Home and Neighborhood;
  • The access to Mental Health and National Pharmacare for our Patients;
  • Practice Numbers and The Need for Alternate Payment Model.
  • More recently, we made sure that our voice was heard in support of family physicians during COVID-19 pandemic and the importance that “Your Family Doctor is There for You” even virtually.

The board of directors also worked on many projects in the past year. Some highlights include:

  • Being more present than ever on social media;
  • We were ready for our very first Free Family Medicine Conference that included renowned Canadian speakers and innovative workshops. This was unfortunately cancelled due to COVID19 pandemic. To compensate, we are working with the Atlantic provinces to maximize a 30k grant received from CFPC for chapter led CPD;
  • We are working on our own version of “We Specialize in You” campaign that should be ready for launch in September. This campaign is aimed at the public and will emphasize how family physicians are specialists trained to assess the complete health picture;
  • Our First Five Years in Family Practice Committee has continued to be a leader in Canada for the Transition into Practice website;
  • We have been active on the provincial Choosing Wisely Initiative and we also have an important role in the Primary Care Task Force that has the objective to establish best practices as strategies to increase primary care access;

We continue to work on governance of the Board. In the past months we introduced:

  • “NBCFP updates and board of director evaluation” to make sure board members were accountable to their responsibilities;
  • We added “In the News “, as a standing item on our agenda to ensure that the board is proactive with what is going on in our communities;
  • “Key Messages” are now available on our website for members to be informed about the activities of the college;
  • In order to assure that members funds are used responsibly, we established a more robust and transparent Fiscal and Reimbursement Policy;
  • We also introduced an Overhead Replacement Policy. We created this to be more competitive with other provincial organizations when it comes to board recruitment. The purpose is to replace office overhead expenses encountered by Board members while away to fulfill official duties;
  • And today we are rolling out the new “board of directors composition pilot project”

Now, I want to take a moment for the important people who have helped me so significantly over these last few months of my presidency. First, Lissa Manganaro and Heather Mullen: I am so grateful that I had your assistance to manage the NBCFP and preparing this AMM. The challenges encountered were easier to face with a team of supportive colleagues behind me. It helped getting the job done without having a negative impact on my patients. Thank you so much!

To our board of directors, your work to improve our profession has not gone unnoticed. Thanks! At this time, I would like to acknowledge our past president Dr Melissa MacQuaid for her dedication to the NBCFP. She will be stepping down after being on our board for more than 10 years. Thank you, Melissa, for your involvement!

I would like to extend my appreciation to the New Brunswick College of Family Physician members for the energy devoted and sacrifices you make for the well being of our patients.

I also want to Congratulate Dr Ghislain Lavoie taking on his new role as president and wish him much success along with the new board of directors.

Thank you very much for your time and attention, it has been a great privilege to represent you at the New Brunswick College of Family Physicians and I look forward to what can be accomplished over the coming years. I will finish with part of a borrowed quote. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time”. I want to encourage you all take a small action to be a leader in your community and to help improve lives.

Darren Martin
President, New Brunswick College of Family Physicians