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Doctor Shortage Symposium: Controversially educational

By Andrea Di Ubaldo

Pick a hot topic, add some industry professionals, invite everyone you can think of. What do you get? A Medical Student Health Policy Symposium that is both educational and, as the organizers hope, a little bit controversial.

2nd Annual Medical Student Health Policy Symposium

2nd Annual Medical Student Health Policy Symposium: Event poster

The symposium will be on May 7, 2009 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Faculty of Medicine’s Libin Lecture Theatre at the Health Sciences Centre.

Alaina Aguanno, a third-year medical student, and Kevin Wasko, a first-year medical student at the University of Calgary, are co-organizers of this year’s symposium which will discuss Canada’s doctor shortage. The two also sit on the students’ council as Vice-Presidents of External Affairs for their respective classes.

“We hope that this symposium answers a few questions but stirs up many more,” Aguanno says. “The issues we are discussing are complex – contributing factors and management strategies will only scratch the surface of the potential for the topics surrounding this issue.”

“We hope attendees will gain a better understanding of the physician shortage in Canada and what is being done to address the issue,” Wasko adds.

The annual symposium was created last year by Aguanno, who holds a masters of science in the areas of health policy and health economics and wanted to share her passion for these topics.

“I created the symposium because I felt that health-care professionals, and especially medical students like me, could benefit from a greater understanding of the social, political and economic context of the system in which we work,” Aguanno says.

Only in its second year, the event will feature many high-profile speakers, including the Hon. Ronald Liepert, Minister of Health and Wellness along with the presidents of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the Alberta Medical Association (AMA), Drs. Robert Ouellet and Noel Grisdale, and professors from UCalgary and the University of British Columbia.

“We invited the people who we thought were best-suited to answer our questions and they said yes!” Aguanno says excitedly. “Our speakers have been very enthusiastic about this event, both last year and again this year; we are fortunate to have such dedicated teachers and leaders.”

Last year’s symposium examined public, private and mixed models of health care financing and featured Dr. Brian Day, CMA president, and Dr. Darryl LaBuick, AMA president, along with Dr. Tom Noseworthy, professor and head of the Department of Community Health Sciences and director of the Centre for Health and Policy Studies at UCalgary.

“We’re really excited about this year’s event. With the enthusiastic support we received last year, the first symposium was at maximum capacity,” Aguanno smiles.

Learn more about the 2nd Annual Medical Students Health Policy Symposium.

About the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary
UCalgary’s Faculty of Medicine is a national leader in health research with an international reputation for excellence and innovation in health care research, education and delivery. We train the next generation of health practitioners and move new treatments and diagnostic techniques from the laboratory bench to the hospital bedside, improving patient care.  For more information visit http://medicine.ucalgary.ca. or follow us on twitter.com @UofCMedicine.

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