Dr. Jami Sridhar
1. Many associations face challenges engaging new and prospective members. How do you envision residents and first-fifteen physicians engaging with the CMA? What actions would you, as CMA President, take to accomplish this?
I believe that Canada needs more doctors. We are an aging population nation and today’s’ resident doctors are our future who will be taking care of us and our population at large. The changing times and technological advances created a large gap between the old and millennials.
As a CMA President-elect nominee, I do not hesitate to take some new bold paths to address the gaps we created in the past. A resident doctor from each speciality must be a representative in the CMA board & committee to better represent at the national level. Gender equality must be respected at all levels of representation. My motto: Resident doctors are hardworking individuals to whom CMA must be at their doorstep to help, not vice versa.
Google, Artificial intelligence, encrypted messaging have become inseparable from our lives. Millennials can give a boost to the old guard in CMA to incorporate these new tools to enhance our capacity to understand our patients better, faster and serving at their doorstep. Though I am extremely unhappy with the way the sale of MD Management happened, I completely opted out of it as I felt cheated, but it opens new opportunities to work with universities and rural regional hospitals to open more residency positions to train our future doctors. We have to help ourselves to build a healthy nation. We must continue to respect our old guard, but we also have to unleash the power of youth. As a President-elect nominee, I will be a catalyst for a whole new generation of actions and thoughts.
2. In your view, what are the biggest challenges residents will face in the next 10 years? What are your proposed solutions to those challenges?
Resident doctors are working hard, and I see them at crossroads of life with an immense financial burden. The recent changes to tuition fees to university fees in Ontario is a testimony to changing hard times. Along with financial hardship, long years of studies and at the end of being an MD, not qualifying for residency is nothing less than a heartbreaking saga.
CMA needs to work on with provincial governments, university faculty, and the continually changing population landscape so that a future design of residency seats required can be established. Technology must be utilized to avoid long and expensive travel times for interviews. A corpus fund must be available from the sale of MD management, be invested in establishing an office, buying a home to smoothen the burden of recruits but also help to retain the already practicing rural specialist doctors, who act as mentors to new ones.
In my eleven years of Anesthesiology practice, I came across many rural specialists staying in government-subsidized homes, just because of the financial burden they faced during the residency period. CMA can be a platform to start a dialogue in this matter. I am proud, we achieved gender equality in residency seat allocation, and vouch to continue the excellent work thru CMA.
Work-life flexibility is the key to sound mental well being. A healthy physician means a healthy community for sure.
As CMA President-elect nominee, I support the CMAJ and promote it at a global stage. The recent resignation of CMA from the World Medical Association is a step in the right direction.
3. An increasing lack of alignment between the Canadian medical workforce and the healthcare needs of the general population has been well documented. What do you believe is CMA’s role in advocating for better alignment?
CMA has always played the role of advocacy. I take an active step moving forward. As president-elect, I will bring the RHAs, Provincial Governments, and Licencing authorities work together to map out the changing health needs of our population. Residents are well aware of the necessities of patients during their training period. To incorporate the training needed to better fit towards the future practice, we have to change today, and it must be done in consensus towards nation building for better health care.
Technology must be adopted by the government agencies towards creating a single electronic health record of every Canadian is a step forward. Privacy is a big concern, but as health advocates, we understand the gravity of the situation and our patients supported us at every step on the way.
The financial burden on the residents must be nullified or eased so they can concentrate on their learning. Work-life integration is an ongoing work in progress and CMA may play a role in integrating best practices.
4. What do you perceive to be the main causes of burnout among residents, and what actions would you advocate for to correct them?
1. Financial burden: The residency is tough, long and needs 100 percent commitment from the individual. Everybody tries and fulfill the role as much as possible. The financial burden and uncertain future are cherries on the cake of life. CMA can to some extent ease these burden on the resident doctors.
2. Pursuing interests other than medical studies: Many resident doctors feel unable to pursue other interests due to immense pressure to perform well during studies. CMA may work with the millennials to address this concern and probably inculcate hobby as one of the subjects during residency. This is just a new thought from me!
3. Work-life integration: I had volunteered as Anesthesiologist to Rwanda and Nigeria, and these trips have given me a sense of fulfillment. I encourage every resident doctor to make at least one trip during residency to expose to international medical practices to broaden our minds. As a CMA president-elect nominee, I actively encourage physician mentors from communities, who stand as an example. The real-life heroes in our daily life are an inspiration, and they must be projected at the national stage.
5. More than half of surveyed residents would locum outside of their primary province or territory of practice if no additional license applications were required. What steps would you take to create a licensing system that improves physician mobility and allows physicians to respond to dynamic patient care needs?
My CV and manifesto clearly state that “a Pan Canadian licensure” is my goal. The recent E-panel survey clearly shows that Canadian resident doctors and specialists want mobility. CMA must work towards avoiding expensive regulatory licencing authority regulations, bringing provincial authorities across the table ( if necessary bargaining with MD sale management funds ) so that physicians can maintain work-life integration and deliver best health care.
A community MD has become an endangered species. The recent article in Medical post is a dangerous trend. I practised Anesthesiology in rural NewBrunswick, and also in Ontario, but my flexibility has given me immense satisfaction when I did locums in other hospitals in NB, The talks of Maritimes premiers to have a Maritime licence for physicians is a welcome sign.
As CMA president-elect nominee, I will catalyze the process of Pan Canadian licensure as a reality.
I was the past president of the Restigouche multicultural Association. I worked and volunteered for multiple community activities. I successfully completed two years of as President, General Medical staff, Campbellton Regional Hospital, and successfully organised physician engagement activities, which I am confident can be replicated at the national level.
As CMA president-elect, my work will be to build a future that we can all be proud of.