CMA: The national voice of medicine

While Doctors of BC represents physicians at the local, regional, and provincial level, the CMA represents its 80 000 members on the national stage, no matter where in Canada they live.

Because the CMA is a federated organization, its policies are determined by a General Council and Board of Directors that contain representatives from each of the country’s 12 provincial and territorial medical associations (PTMAs). The CMA provides the national meeting place where all doctors—family physicians, specialists, and general practitioners—come together, discuss major issues, and determine what the medical profession’s response should be.

As a Doctors of BC member who also belongs to the CMA, you are represented on the CMA Board by two physicians. A third BC representative will join them soon, as a result of the growing number of BC physicians who are members of the CMA.

During the CMA’s annual General Council meeting, physicians who are joint members of Doctors of BC and the CMA account 30 of the roughly 260 delegates who attend the meeting every year. While there, they will represent the voice of BC’s physicians on issues as crucial as end-of-life care and the working hours of medical and surgical residents.

The CMA’s work as medicine’s national voice began in 1868, when it produced the country’s first Code of Ethics for physicians. However, this national role was not formalized until the 1930s, when the nine PTMAs that existed then agreed to become part of a federated CMA — a move that would make possible policy discussions on issues of national importance to the medical profession. Since then, three new PTMAs (Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon) have been added.

All of the CMA’s existing 1450 policies, policy briefs to government, and resolutions passed on topics ranging from euthanasia to the use of marijuana for medical purposes are available at
—Tim R. Smith, BSSc, MBA
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Medical Association

Tim R. Smith, BSSc, MBA,. CMA: The national voice of medicine. BCMJ, Vol. 56, No. 5, June, 2014, Page(s) 236 - News.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
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  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

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