Students and residents: Let’s talk!

portrait of William Cunningham

Nearly 1900 medical students and residents are members of the BCMA, and I am looking forward to meeting some of you when I embark on my president’s tour of the province in the coming year.

I love the energy and ideas that students and residents bring to our association. When we recently held the Walk with Your Doc event near Kits Beach in Vancouver, a group of medical students turned out to volunteer. I heard from many participants how great it was to have the students cheering from their security-check stations along the walking route. 

I also love how so many medical students and residents are passionate about making a positive difference in our world. Recently, Dr Barry Tur­chen held an advocacy session for a group of med students. He and BCMA Director Rob Hulyk provided tips to the students about how to engage governments, administrators, and others on how to effect positive change—on stages big and small. The students who attended were positive, enthusiastic, and determined. 

It’s particularly great to see our future doctors out at these events, because we know just how tough those studies and rounds can be. I still remember my time as a medical student at McGill University and as a resident in Victoria, BC. The work hours were crazy, but I always tried to find time to become involved in student/resident organizations. I found that these kinds of activities not only kept me healthy but also gave me a window into the broader health care system and what my role in it could be. 

During my time at the BCMA, I hope to work with the staff to make our association even more open and responsive to the needs of our students and residents. One of the things that the BCMA can offer you is a way to “plug into” the world of physicians—to make contacts and develop relationships with mentors who will keep you apprised of the bigger world out there. 

One thing our residents ask for is information on billings, fees, and contracts. There is a lot of information out there, but what we hope to do is to bring it all together in a coordinated, focused way. Kind of like a one-stop shop. 

I will be doing more direct engagement with you at medical school sites around the province—watch for my invitations for lunch or perhaps dinner. It will be an opportunity for me to hear what is going on in your world and how the BCMA can better support you. We are also developing a new (and more interactive) website that will be launched in the new year. We want to ensure that it speaks to the needs and concerns of our province’s future doctors.

I am really excited about all these opportunities, so let’s start the dialogue right now! Send me your thoughts and ideas on how we can be of greatest assistance and support you in the journey toward becoming a practising physician. Drop me a line at And, who knows, I may see you in the cafeteria or classroom soon, when I come to visit. 

The BCMA provides a wide range of programs and services for students and residents, including bursaries, financial aid, insurance, academic resources, and consumer savings through Club MD. For information go to and
—William Cunningham, MD
BCMA President

William Cunningham, MD, CCFP, CCFP (EM). Students and residents: Let’s talk!. BCMJ, Vol. 55, No. 6, July, August, 2013, Page(s) 270 - President's Comment.

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