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Brainstorming for better health: Open Dialogue draws hundreds of Summit participants

 A participant shares her ideas at an Open Dialogue session during the CMA’s inaugural Health Summit in Winnipeg


What happens when you gather together hundreds of physicians, policy-makers and patients, and give them a big problem to solve? That was the design for the Open Dialogue sessions at the CMA Health Summit.

Described as “participant-driven crowdsourcing”, each session drew hundreds of participants, and posed a question to get them thinking big about improving health and health care. Day one’s session looked at what could be done to exponentially improve Canada’s health systems, and day two focused on how to improve the health of Canada’s population.

Some of the ideas that rose to the top included developing a nation-wide EMR system, building a universal pharmacare program, facilitating access through virtual care, and guaranteeing access to clean drinking water for all Canadians.

“I really saw it as an opportunity to help direct the future of the CMA, particularly with CMA 2020 and the new vision and mission of being more of a health-systems influencer,” said Dr. Ali Damji. “I wanted to make sure that my perspectives were represented and see what was top of mind for other Canadian physicians and patients.”

The Open Dialogue is just one of the new levers for change available to CMA members. This type of “hand to hand” engagement is part of the move to make it easier for members to shape CMA policy and advocacy. In the coming year, communities of interest, member proposals, and member forums will be among other ways of reaching out and connecting.

“That’s the value of the CMA, the opportunity to have all these very amazing leaders – physician, patient and policy leaders – and to be able to learn from all that shared expertise, to be able to share ideas and to prioritize things collectively,” added Dr. Damji.

The discussions in Winnipeg generated hundreds of ideas, and the CMA will be reviewing them in the coming weeks to inform its upcoming policy and advocacy agenda. They may also lead to enhancing or broadening existing programs, or exploring new ones in keeping with our focus on a vibrant profession and a healthy population.

For more ways members can connect with the CMA to influence policy and build a better health care future, visit “Connecting you to CMA 2020”.