January 09, 2023

Family physician leaders’ event and divisions learning session

Family physician leaders and senior staff from key local and provincial organizations gathered for two events in Vancouver November 1 and 2, 2022. The overarching theme for both events: Reconnect. Reflect. Renew.

Family physician leaders’ event

On November 1, 2022, five organizations representing BC family doctors (BC College of Family Physicians, BC Family Doctors, Doctors of BC, GPSC, and Divisions of Family Practice) co-hosted a first-of-its-kind family physician leaders’ event to explore new ways of working together to drive meaningful change in primary care.

Drs Ramneek Dosanjh, Doctors of BC President, Sari Cooper, FPSC co-chair, and Brenda Hefford, Vice President, Doctors of BC, helped welcome close to 150 guests, following a traditional welcome from Thelma Stogan, Elder and Knowledge Keeper from xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nation, and her brother Arthur Stogan.

Dr Mark Sherman, a family doctor, mindfulness facilitator, and the first keynote speaker, emphasized that now is a pivotal time to move from patient-centred care to human-centred care – a model which includes doctors taking care of themselves and each other.

The day featured panel and table discussions, learning sessions, and networking, beginning with an all-female panel of physician leaders from each of the five organizations, who reflected on struggles faced by family doctors in recent years, and the experiences that have given them the hope and courage to continue their leadership.

During a World Café Think Tank, participants engaged in rotating table discussions, building on ideas and insights from previous conversations in response to three questions:

  1. What do you see as values underpinning family medicine that we hold in common and that will serve to propel us forward?
  2. What practical suggestions would you make to improve communication and collaboration between our physician organizations?
  3. How can we help cultivate a culture of community within family medicine?

Divisions learning session

On November 2, 2022, Division of Family Practice physician leaders, executive directors, guest representatives from other organizations, and FPSC staff reconnected for a learning session highlighting division work across communities.  It was FPSC’s first in-person learning session since 2019.

Dr Sari Cooper and Alana Godin, director of primary and community care transformation at Doctors of BC, set the stage by acknowledging GPSC’s support for, and belief in, divisions as transformative entities in the health care system, and for bringing family doctors together to achieve that transformation.

A keynote presentation from Kate Dilworth, SFU faculty lead for the GPSC Leadership and Management Development Program, explored The Power of Leadership in Difficult Times.

Afterward, participants had the opportunity to learn from peers in one of three concurrent breakout sessions:

  1. Supporting a Thriving Family Practice - divisions shared insights into models of primary care business support with potential to strengthen longitudinal care and improve retention and recruitment of family doctors:
    • South Island Division - HIVE and the South Island Business Support Project
    • South Okanagan Similkameen Division – Clinic Management Model
    • qathet Division – Clinic Business Support 
  1. Community Innovation in Primary Care - divisions shared innovative local initiatives and proactive solutions to improve primary care:
    • Fraser Northwest Division – Emergency Preparedness Planning Event – Summer Heat
    • Ridge Meadows Division – Mental Health One Referral
    • Sea to Sky Division – Whistler 360 Health
  1. So You Think You Can Governdance – divisions shared their journeys to refresh and evolve board governance:
    • Rural and Remote Division – Transition to a Diverse Governance Board
    • Burnaby Division – The Journey to Policy Board Governance
    • Northern Interior Rural Division – Staying on Target with Strategic Plans

Open Space sessions provided further opportunities for dialogue, brainstorming, and problem-solving. Several participants stepped up to propose and lead topics including non-profit primary care, managing organizational growth, evolving PCN governance, and the idea of accelerating connection, collaboration, and innovation between divisions via an IT platform.

The event concluded with divisions coming back together for regional dialogue sessions to discuss how they could apply learnings to address regional issues. In a follow-up evaluation, division leaders said they valued the event and felt they would be able to apply the knowledge gained to their work moving forward.