Crossing the Rubicon

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 59, No. 2, March 2017, Pages 80-81 President's Comment

By the time you read this I will be more than halfway through my term as president.

By the time you read this I will be more than halfway through my term as president. It amazes me how fast the time has passed. From engaging with members throughout BC on topics and issues of great importance to our profession to addressing the significant changes we face as an association, it has been an exciting, challenging, and rewarding time. When I was running for president I based my platform on a number of key commitments, including helping to unite the profession and adding necessary supports and resources for our younger members and colleagues. As I reflect on my term thus far, I thought I would highlight the ways in which this has taken place.

We need only think of the work we all do each day in our own communities to recognize that as a profession we are stronger when we are united. And to truly grow as a profession of influence we must find our collective voice and work together as one. In my presidential platform I offered to help foster physician leadership by creating opportunities for balance between GPs and specialists within the association’s boardroom and on its many committees, and also by encouraging young colleagues to take on active roles in our association. These are still areas of great importance to me, and most relevant given recent months’ events.

I believe a key approach to achieving an ever united profession is through the efforts of an association that is effectively governed—one that is more responsive to important and emerging issues, more proactive on your behalf, and more relevant in your professional lives. As a result of the recent governance referendum in which you placed your trust, I am excited to say we now have a new governance model that will enable us to do just that. During the referendum an overwhelming number of you cast your vote and had your say in helping shape the future of our association. You told us you were ready for change—ready to move forward and ready for a more representative association. Thank you for continuing to value democracy: every voice and every vote makes a difference.

The new model we will embrace is that of a dual structure: a nine-member Board and a new 104-member Representative Assembly (RA). For the first time, the RA will bring together our peers’ voices from across the province and provide broad representation from all sections and spectrums of practice: all geographical areas of the province; GPs/FPs and specialists; those practising in rural, remote, and First Nations communities; medical students; residents; and members in their early years of practice. This is the legitimate representation that so many of you have asked for and have been keen to see implemented. This is also the first time ever that a governing body of Doctors of BC will be required to seek equity in the number of GPs and specialists, and will notably include our province’s medical students’ voices. With such diversity and such broad representation, the RA will help us dispel and dismiss myths that our profession is divided along the lines of our training, scope of practice, or where in the province we practise. It will help us to come together to debate issues of common concern regardless of specialty, where in the province we work, or how many years we’ve been in practice. It will help unite us, and I am equally proud and humbled that you have rallied for change.

This governance referendum was history in the making, and it is an exciting time to be not only president, but a member. Amazing changes and opportunities lie ahead of us, and your association has already been hard at work implementing the first steps. Rest assured that during the transition from the existing Board configuration our existing governance structures will remain in place and the association’s ongoing work will continue. When the new Board and Representative Assembly meet for the first time in September, we will transition to further legacy building in an association that is 117 years strong. In the coming months I’m hoping you will continue to add your voice and do your part. You will be e-mailed a call for nominations for the following positions:
•    President-elect
•    Board directors at large
•    Elected delegates to the association’s new Representative Assembly
•    Speaker and deputy speaker of the Representative Assembly
•    Members-at-large to the Governance and Nominating Committees

Once we learn who the nominated candidates will be, all members will again have the opportunity to embrace our collective democracy and vote for their candidates of choice.

If you have ever thought of or been inspired to contribute some of your professional time, skills, and expertise to the greater good of the profession, this will be a transformative time to put your name forward for one of these positions. You voted for meaningful change, and I now encourage you to join me in being part of that change.

Another area of great importance to us all, and one I have continued to advocate for during my presidency, is supporting our younger members: medical students, residents, and those new to practice. You’ve heard it before, and I’ll say it again—they are our doctors of tomorrow; the future of our profession. We depend on them, but they depend on us. As they seek to establish their own medical careers in BC—careers, services, and expertise desperately needed across our province—we have the opportunity to support them, teach them, and, most importantly, mentor them. As president I have had the great privilege of interacting frequently with our younger generation at various stages in their early careers—from the moment they enter their first year of medical school, to the angst-ridden and exciting time of receiving their CaRMS match, and the exhilarating next stage that follows graduating residency. I have also engaged with them in discussions on career options, reviewing the challenges and rewards of working in this amazing profession, and exploring the ways in which we—the collective we—are here to provide support that will help both students and residents be successful in our profession.

If these first 9 months are any indication of how fast the coming months will go, well then, it’s back to work for me, yet harder and more focused than usual, as we have much exciting business ahead of us.
—Alan Ruddiman, MBBCh, Dip PEMP, FRRMS
Doctors of BC President

Alan Ruddiman, MBBCh, Dip PEMP, FRRMS. Crossing the Rubicon. BCMJ, Vol. 59, No. 2, March, 2017, Page(s) 80-81 - President's Comment.

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