Follow my lead; lead me to follow

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 65, No. 9, November 2023, Page 328 President's Comment
Dr Joshua Greggain
Dr Joshua Greggain

Music has always inspired me. It’s a universal language that can move emotions, memories, thoughts, and ideas. One of my favorite folk bands, The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra, has a song called “Canoe Song,” in which the chorus is “Follow my lead, lead me to follow.” In practical terms, it refers to canoeing, where you need to follow the person sitting in front of you and lead the person sitting behind you. A common purpose and synchronization are needed to make the canoe travel in one direction. The same is true of leadership. You need others to follow your lead, just as you concurrently follow theirs.

November is when the general membership votes for our next president-elect and our physicians at the Representative Assembly. I urge you to vote, to raise your voice and help shape the future. This is your opportunity to ensure the people you want representing you in leadership roles at Doctors of BC are the ones who are chosen to lead. These are the individuals who will keep your voice front and centre as we navigate and help build the future of BC’s health care system. We need those who can lead with humility and, simultaneously, those who follow and listen with intention.

I attended a leadership course where the question “What does a leader look like?” was answered from the vantage point of third graders. In their minds, a leader was their teacher, and they described the three most important characteristics: big ears to hear all that goes on in class and determine who needs guidance and who is doing well, long arms to give hugs to one or more people when they are struggling, and high heels to be seen at the front of the class. I would suggest these qualities apply to medical leaders as well. Use your big ears and your heart to listen with intention. Use your long arms to extend compassion to your patients and your colleagues. And ensure you are visible so that others can see where to follow and ultimately where to lead.

To all who are currently in leadership roles, I thank you. I have no doubt you embody many of these qualities already. I value that you are taking time to have others follow your lead, while at the same time being led to follow by those you serve. I look forward to continuing to work together to move our province and Doctors of BC along this ever-improving journey, just as if we were all paddling together in a canoe.
—Joshua Greggain, MD
Doctors of BC President


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Joshua Greggain, MD. Follow my lead; lead me to follow. BCMJ, Vol. 65, No. 9, November, 2023, Page(s) 328 - President's Comment.

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."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • 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

Leave a Reply