Canadian Medical Association
 
   

Session 4

Facing the health workforce challenge

On June 8, more than 350 people took part in the final session of the CMA’s 2022 Health Summit Series – a discussion about the crisis facing Canada’s health workforce.

CMA President Dr. Katharine Smart moderated the two-hour event, which featured a keynote address from Dr. Verna Yiu, former president and CEO of Alberta Health Services.

Panellists included registered nurse Amie Archibald-Varley, first-year medical resident Dr. Dax Bourcier, family physician Dr. Lynette Powell and Jake Starratt-Farr, a social worker and patient advocate.

Five key take-aways from the session are to:

  • Create a national health human resource strategy
  • Expand team-based care across Canada
  • Tailor the health workforce to patient needs and outcomes
  • Champion care in rural communities
  • Educate health care professionals about trans health care

“We can overcome the workforce shortage and we’ll do what we do best – focus and find solutions so Canadians can have quality health care and better outcomes.” – Dr. Verna Yiu, Keynote speaker

You can watch the conversation here:
 

 

Moderator:

Dr. Katharine Smart, CMA President


Katharine has worked in pediatrics for more than 20 years. She moved to Whitehorse (Yukon) to implement a new collaborative model of pediatric care to serve marginalized children. She works primarily with children who have experienced trauma and adverse childhood events. Prior to moving to Canada’s North, Katharine was a pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary and the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. She currently serves as CMA president, the 10th woman to assume the role in 154 years.

 

Keynote speaker: 

Dr. Verna Yiu, Former president/CEO, Alberta Health Services

Dr. Verna Yiu, Former president/CEO, Alberta Health Services


Verna is one of Canada’s most respected health care leaders. For more than six years, she led Alberta Health Services (AHS) through a period of considerable change that included better integration of care within the province, improved efficiencies in patient care and the launch of a province-wide clinical information system. In addition, Verna successfully led AHS and its 100,000+ staff in their pandemic response. She was the first female dean (interim) of the faculty of medicine and dentistry at the University of Alberta, where she is professor of pediatrics in the division of pediatric nephrology. Verna continues to provide care at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.

 


 

Panellists: 

Amie Archibald-Varley, Registered nurse

Amie Archibald-Varley, Registered nurse


Amie is a registered nurse and a quality and patient safety specialist for Niagara Health. She is a graduate of the Master of Nursing program at the University of Toronto. Amie is a thought leader in advancing health equity and political health activism, including anti-Black racism. She is co-host of The Gritty Nurse, a podcast that gives nurses a platform to speak out and explore issues facing the profession.

 


Dr. Dax Bourcier, Pediatrics resident (PGY-1)

Dr. Dax Bourcier, Pediatrics resident (PGY-1)


Dax is a first-year pediatrics resident at Dalhousie University, having previously completed his MD/MSc at Sherbrooke University. As a board member at the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, he founded and chaired their Health Human Resources (HHR) Task Force, creating a first-of-its-kind interactive online HHR platform. Dax is currently a co-investigator on a project to develop a minimum data standard for health workforce data in Canada funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. His work aims to empower the future health workforce to make career choices based on both personal interest and social accountability.

 


Dr. Lynette Powell, Family physician

Dr. Lynette Powell, Family physician


Lynette has been practising family medicine in Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador, since 2004. She is a passionate advocate for strong primary care and made the difficult decision recently to close her practice to tackle the family doctor shortage in the province’s Central Region. Lynette is past president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association and has served on its board since 2016. She enjoys teaching and has been actively involved in Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Family Medicine Residency Program.

 


Jake Starratt-Farr, Social worker and patient advocate

Jake Starratt-Farr, Social worker and patient advocate


Jake is a social worker and counsellor who works with an interprofessional primary care team in Durham, Ontario. As a trans person, he is dedicated to supporting trans and gender-expansive individuals and is passionate about helping health care providers better understand the unique health needs of the 2SLGBTQI community. As a member of the CMA’s Patient Voice, Jake advocates for timely and equitable access in transgender care. As a parent, he is navigating the health system with a child on the autism spectrum and supports his own aging parents in accessing health care.