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Collaborative Mentorship Network Secures New Funding & Broadens Scope

The Alberta College of Family Physicians (ACFP) is pleased to announce it has been awarded a $1.9 million funding contribution from Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP). The funds allow the ACFP to continue the important work of the Collaborative Mentorship Network for Chronic Pain and Addiction (CMN) and to broaden its scope by expanding the network to the full health team including pharmacists, nurses, and social workers. 

The ACFP remains focused on pursuing and assisting our members to provide adaptive, high quality health care. 

The opioid crisis highlighted a need in primary care for medical mentoring in chronic pain and substance use, and since the CMN was started, the need for diverse mentorship options has been identified. The CMN has had a unique opportunity to provide resources for building capacity in family physicians and their teams to manage chronic pain and substance use disorder in a compassionate and holistic way. 

In my community, over the last few months, there have been more deaths due to substance use than from COVID-19. 1 in 4 Albertans suffer from chronic pain. Frontline workers need support – the CMN is a community of practice focused on harm reduction and how we can help our patients now. The CMN is for all aspects of managing chronic pain and substance use in a safe and secure environment.”

– Dr. Cathy Scrimshaw, Pincher Creek

The CMN was launched in March 2019 and was funded through the Primary Health Care Opioid Response Initiative from Alberta Health. 

With the SUAP contribution, the CMN will continue to build capacity within family physicians and primary care teams to care for patients; it supports the continued integration of the health system into the community with long-term relationships developed in mentoring and in dissemination of evidence-based tools and resources. 

The CMN model ensures family physician voices are present in the discussions relating to the current challenges within chronic pain and substance use, and CME opportunities are directly shaped around these voices

The CMN Expands its Program Objectives

The ACFP has enhanced the existing CMN program objectives:

  • To provide practical, evidence-based, and relevant complex clinical care continuing professional development (CPD) and supporting reference material based on learning needs;
  • To enhance the capacity of family physicians and their teams and increase connections to community partners in providing complex clinical care of patients with chronic pain and addiction;
  • To provide a platform for integration among primary care and specialty care; and
  • To include persons with lived experience in the educational components of this network.

What’s Next

Please share this news with your interdisciplinary teams members, and consider joining the CMN in an of the following ways:

  • Become a Mentor
  • Request a Mentor/Become a Mentee
  • Use the Discussion Board
  • Participate in Virtual Collaboration Forums
  • Attend CMN Education Events

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My name is Smitha Yaltho and I feel privileged to work as a family physician. Why? I believe that being a family physician has been the best job any physician can hope to have. I have personally grown in my own abilities and skill-sets with diverse opportunities in ambulatory practice, acute care and work in Facility Living.  Working in primary care has been exciting and has also afforded me tremendous opportunities for growth while still remaining stimulating in its complexity.  I believe that Family physicians are trusted partners in patient care –  every step of the way. 

Why are you volunteering to serve on this committee?
I currently have an interest in Physician Leadership and  trauma informed care.  I have served as a director with the Board of Directors with the Edmonton North PCN, Edmonton’s largest PCN. Thereafter, I have worked as the Director of Medical Services with CapitalCare (also based in Edmonton) for almost 6 years. It is my express wish that my contribution on the ACFP board of directors will highlight the excellence of family medicine that exists right here and now within the Alberta health care system. 

What about the ACFP’s work do you find most valuable?
Ability to highlight and further support the excellence of primary care right here in Alberta.