Professor seeks presidency of Canadian Medical Association
Christopher Simpson is passionate about his work and hopes earning the presidency of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) will give him an opportunity to help lead the transformation of health care in Canada. He has built his campaign around a call for physicians to embrace what he calls civic professionalism – to provide exemplary leadership at an uncertain time for health care.
“The CMA is already moving in a progressive direction but I want to show that we, Canada’s doctors, can be the leaders and the drivers of positive changes to the system,” says Dr. Simpson, Chief of Cardiology at Queen’s and Medical Director of the Cardiac Program at Kingston General Hospital/Hotel Dieu. “Canadians expect us to lead. Governments need us to lead.”
Dr. Simpson’s path in medicine has been long and winding with a few detours along the way. His goal in high school was initially to study music at Mount Allison University but eventually he decided he wanted to become a family doctor in his tiny hometown of Nackawic, New Brunswick. He played saxophone in a swing band during his undergraduate studies but the music dream took a backseat when he was admitted to Dalhousie University’s medical program. As he neared the end of medical school, political circumstances intervened and forced Dr. Simpson to reconsider his original hope of becoming a family doctor.
“There was an upheaval in medicine going on at the time,” he says. “There was an oversupply of physicians and the New Brunswick government limited billing numbers. It made practice back home nearly impossible so I decided to just keep on training.”
He continued on to internal medicine and cardiology training at Queen’s after obtaining his MD. He then completed a Heart and Stroke Foundation Research Fellowship in cardiac electrophysiology (heart rhythm disorders) at the University of Western Ontario before returning to Queen’s as a professor in 1999.
Dr. Simpson has built a strong career with a focus on public policy, particularly access to health care and the referral process between family doctors and specialists. He serves as the chair of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society’s standing committee on health policy and advocacy and is the chair of the Canadian Wait Time Alliance that advocates for timely, quality care for Canadians.
Now he is hoping to build on that advocacy work if selected as the next president of the CMA.
“In five years I want the CMA to be the premier go-to organization for health policy in Canada,” says Dr. Simpson. “My campaign includes four areas of focus: physician leadership, building partnerships between family medicine and specialist communities, health human resources and enhancing membership value.”
Despite a busy professional life, the father of four always finds time for his children, who are involved with music and competitive swimming. He hasn’t completely abandoned his music background either, finding time to play a little jazz on the side or just relax at home with his piano.