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Representing Canada on the world stage

Queen’s cardiologist Chris Simpson named Canadian Medical Association representative to World Medical Association.

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Queen's in the World

When Queen’s cardiologist Chris Simpson’s term as past president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) came to an end earlier this year, he looked for new opportunities to continue playing a leadership role in guiding the medical profession in Canada. Beginning in 2017, he will have the opportunity to do so as the CMA’s representative to the World Medical Association – an international confederation of 112 national medical associations, representing 10 million physicians around the globe.

“I was pretty delighted to be elected by the CMA Board to serve in this new role,” says Dr. Simpson. “In my previous role (as CMA President) the issues were predominantly Canadian and nationally-based, but Canada has a lot to offer the world in terms of our science, our excellence in medical education and training, and our work on professionalism. In a number of the issues we’ve been grappling with – from medical aid in dying to medical marijuana - Canada has been very progressive. It’s an opportunity to share that with the world and one I’m looking forward to.”

[Chris Simpson]
Dr. Simpson has been elected to a four-year term as the Canadian Medical Association's representative to the World Medical Organization - an partnership of 112 national medical associations which aims to promote international excellence in medical education, ethics, and health care. (Supplied photo)

As the CMA Representative, Dr. Simpson will represent the voice of Canada’s physicians in tackling many of the pressing medical issues facing the global community. He explains that he is most looking forward to getting involved in issues around refugee health and supporting physicians working in war zones. The association is also heavily invested in the social determinants of health - including poverty reduction, access to clean drinking water, food security and early childhood education.

“The association presents a unique opportunity for all of organized medicine – at least in those 112 countries – to come together to see how they can be better than the sum of their parts” Dr. Simpson explains. “There’s a real sense of responsibility for the more technologically and economically developed nations – such as Canada, the UK, Germany, Japan, the US and others – to share their expertise with countries that don’t have that sort of infrastructure and help develop medical education to a higher standard around the globe.”

Dr. Simpson will serve the first two years of his term in an observer role alongside current representative Louis Francescutti (University of Alberta). This transitory period, similar to the dual roles of president and past president in the CMA, allow for the incoming member to get acquainted with the role while maintaining continuity. From 2019-2021, he will fully take over the representative role at WMA meetings around the globe.

“Dr. Simpson is a highly respected and skilled physician who has shown tremendous leadership as a voice for the medical profession in Canada,” says Richard Reznick, Dean of Health Sciences and Director of the School of Medicine. “I wish him my most sincere congratulations on this appointment and trust that he will serve as a strong advocate for Canadian physicians to the global medical community.”

Founded in Paris on Sept. 17, 1947, the World Medical Association was created to ensure the independence of physicians. Its mission is to serve humanity by endeavoring to achieve the highest international standards in medical education, medical science, medical art and medical ethics, and health care for all people in the world.

For more information on the WMA, please visit the website.