Usually at ACFP, December is a time for gathering, celebrating together, exchanging handshakes, hugs, and spending time in each others’ presence. For another holiday season though, we at ACFP are having distanced celebrations given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We still plan to express our best wishes to each other via online meeting platforms. We would like to convey the same to you as our members via this, our final President’s Message of 2021.
As your voice of family medicine in Alberta, we at the ACFP hope that your holiday season is one that is restful, rejuvenating, and restoring. But we know that this may not be the case for all of us. Some of us will be working hard to keep Albertans healthy and safe over the holidays and we thank you for that meaningful work. As we know, and often tell our patients, the holidays can be stressful, and we should be taking care of ourselves during this time by supporting each other and treating each other kindly. I hope that we take our own advice whether or not we are working over the holidays this year.
We hope that your celebrations at your workplaces are enjoyable and safe, and perhaps in person, practising all of the precautions that we now know all too well. Recently, the ACFP Board met in person for the first time in over a year. Our seating arrangement was distanced, we donned masks when away from our seats, and hand sanitizing products were abundant. We were happy to be together while following public health guidelines, enabling us to do meaningful work on your behalf and considering your input to date. Feeling positive after a productive in-person meeting, the Board left feeling uplifted, creative, and primed to think about the possibilities for the future of family medicine in Alberta.
Speaking of the Future of Family Medicine, especially in our province, we invite you to watch for some engaging opportunities to contribute your ideas to ACFP’s work. In the new year, we will announce ways for you to be involved with ACFP, speak your thoughts, and have conversations with other members to determine how we collectively support each other given all we have been through in the past few years. As such, in 2022, please keep your eyes and ears open for invitations to contribute to our Future of Family Medicine initiative.
As an update for those of you who noted my personal story in the most recent President’s Message, my family member (my Dad) who was in the hospital has sadly passed away. My Dad was looking so forward to telling his family physician all about his medical adventures in the hospital upon discharge. Instead, I recently had the opportunity to connect with his family physician (also mine) and gave that update on my Dad’s behalf. Our family physician patiently listened, was kind, and empathetic just like always.
My hope is that the Future of Family Medicine prioritizes and supports therapeutic interactions at the patient-family physician level just like what I experienced the other day.
Sudha Koppula BSc, MD, MClSc, CCFP, FCFP
Alberta College of Family Physicians