Former Nelson doctor elected new president for Canadian Medical Association
Dr. Anna Reid, the former chief of staff and the emergency and intensive care unit physician at the Kootenay Lake Hospital, was recently appointed as president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).
The well-travelled and impassioned physician plans to bring a unique rural perspective to the new role as the CMA spokesperson and advocate for Canadian health care.
Her new position will run for one year, during which time she has moved to Ottawa from her post in Yellowknife, NWT where she works as an emergency physician at Stanton Territorial Hospital.
Reid also serves on the emergency and critical care committees, is on the Stanton Hospital mental health-working group and planning team and contributes to the NWT Medical Directors' Forum.
Reid's new job will include acting as a spokesperson for the 76,000 members of the CMA, lobbying the government for better health care and advocating for quality patient care.
"I always think we can make a difference and I never give up," said Reid during a private interview with The Nelson Daily.
"It seems a bit overwhelming and it's a bit like trying to turn the titanic but we're not going to sink. People are interested in the message and people are really getting on board with physicians.
"I think it is a very exciting time and I'm very excited about it. I think if we just keep pushing messages out that health care is number one in terms of what Canadians want to talk about, politicians will want to talk too."
While living in Nelson, Reid was the chief of staff for Kootenay Lake Hospital from 2002 to 2003, was president of the medical advisory committee in 2006 and served on the board of AIDS Network Kootenay Outreach and Support Society.
She has experienced first hand the issues facing rural communities like Bella, Coola, Nelson and other Kootenay communities.
"Even in Nelson we had tremendous issues with transportation on winter roads," recalls Reid.
"I don't know how many trips I've done to Kelowna with critically ill patients in the back of ambulances and we've gone off the road and run into power lines with those winter storms. The transport issues in British Columbia are huge."
Over the next year Reid hopes to continue working on the CMA Health Care Transformation Initiative, which includes addressing issues concerning patient care, physician training and recruitment, preventative care, economic barriers and the link between low income and poor health.
"We realize the health care system doesn't just need to be tinkered with but it really needs to be transformed when we look at providing health care. There are a lot of problems in the system and there just isn't enough money to keep doing it the way we're doing it."
CMA another way to make a difference
Reid became a physician almost by accident. She had earned an honours degree in wildlife biology from the University of Guelph when she decided to take a two-week paramedic course while planning an outdoor excursion.
"I was so interested in it that I decided to apply to medical school," said Reid.
"I've always been interested in anatomy and physiology. We have a lot of doctors in my family, not my parents. It never occurred to me to be a physician."
It is her passion for people that drives her to contribute so much to the profession and to Canadian health care.
"What I enjoy more than anything is the people," said Reid of what she loves about being a doctor.
"I just love that human connection. It is such a privilege to be an intimate part of your patient's lives. To share their hopes and dreams and failures and illnesses I particularly love that as a family physician. While I'm not doing that anymore I felt it was such a privilege and very, very rewarding."
She considers medicine to be a creative profession; much like any art form and the problem solving really challenges her and keeps her inspired.
Reid will spend one year as the president of the CMA before turning the position over to a another physician. Reid and her spouse Linda plan on returning to Nelson to retire.