They say time flies when you’re having fun, and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to my year as your president. It has been an exciting time, one that provided me the opportunity to engage with colleagues from all spectrums of our profession—family physicians, specialists, residents, medical students. It has truly been a privilege to represent the dedicated and hardworking doctors in this province.
I began my year by focusing on two key values: collaboration and opportunity. As promised, I kept these values foremost in my mind and in my actions. They were the foundation that guided me as I undertook my priorities for the year.
One of those key priorities was to recognize and help empower our medical students and residents. Our doctors of tomorrow are our future. Their passion and enthusiasm is inspiring, especially around the use and integration of IT. They are an engaged group, persevering toward finding innovative solutions to health care challenges and pushing our profession to new heights. I also had the joy of interacting with the youngest members of society through our Be Active Every Day campaign. Speaking to elementary school kids about the importance of being active and eating healthy foods, and providing them with promotional items to make being active more fun, was a real delight.
As your president I was able to attend a number of memorable meetings between Doctors of BC and our different partners that were remarkably effective, collaborative, and worthwhile. One such meeting was the Medical Services Commission’s annual planning session. It was refreshing to see the collaboration between doctors, government, and the public in our quest to find better outcome-based patient-centred care, all while respecting physician autonomy. Another opportunity was addressing colleagues, stakeholders, and other health care providers at the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use learning session. It was rewarding to help highlight the important work of this collaborative to ensure BC’s children and youth have access to the services and supports they need. A challenging moment for me was stepping out of my comfort zone and speaking at the annual convention of the Trial Lawyers Association of BC. The topic of conversation was how our two professions could build a better working relationship, and I had the privilege of sharing creative ideas and possible solutions. Our groups are similar, and we share the goal of achieving a positive outcome for our patients and clients. It was a daunting experience but also a very rewarding one.
As I step out of my role as president I think ahead to the hopes I have for our organization. Over the year I have watched the Board open up to the idea of change—change in the Board’s format and change in how it governs our association. My hope is that the Board will embrace progress and a revamped Board will emerge: one that can respond quickly and be extremely effective. I also hope to see continued success in the expansion of medical staff associations so that our facilities-based physicians have a meaningful voice in improving patient care and their professional working environment.
This is also a time to reflect on the future of our profession. BC’s population is continuing to age, resulting in a more complex patient population. In response, I hope our profession will embrace the shift toward more team-based care, including the successful integration of health services and all health care providers with physicians at the helm.
It has been a true honor and a humbling experience to serve as your president this past year. I have learned, I have grown, and I have loved every minute. I believe in our organization, and after a year as your president I am confident that we will continue to work together to make a positive difference for our patients, our health care system, and our profession. Moving forward we will face challenges and we will face change. Embracing both, and doing so with a united front, will make us stronger. As the African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Thank you for your support this past year. It has meant a lot to me.
—Charles Webb, MBChB
Doctors of BC President