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  • 29-Jun-2022 4:04 PM | Anonymous

    The SRPC held its first in-person conference since 2019 this past April. As may be the case for many of you, Rural and Remote (R&R) was my introduction to the SRPC. At my first 'R&R', I immediately felt at home. The conference, and the SRPC, provided something lacking in those first few years of practice in Nunavut, Labrador and the Yukon: a sense of wider community, camaraderie and fellowship with like-minded rural generalists across the country. Now, over 2 years into this pandemic, rural physicians find themselves part of wounded, tired and sometimes fractured teams. We have lost much of that sense of community, and as we face critical staffing shortages, the health human resource crisis facing rural Canada has been starkly exposed. Challenges with transfer, licensure and access to speciality services compound our ability to provide care.

    Many have experienced a profound loss in various ways over the past 2 years and feel acutely the threats to the resilience of our rural health systems. At this juncture, we all are seeking ways to reconnect, heal and rebuild. I hope that for those who attended R&R, it will have been a part of the process.

    Through our ongoing work outside of the conference, the SRPC focusses on the needs for sustainable rural healthcare. Over the past months, we have taken a leadership role, with partners, including the Canadian Medical Association, in conversations aimed at achieving national physician licensure. We have seen progress and engagement with federal and provincial partners, and momentum seems to be building for the establishment of these standards.

    As health systems rebuild, the SRPC continues to advocate for high-quality training of future rural generalists. In January 2022, the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) published the Final Report and Recommendations of the Outcomes of Training Project.[1] This described a need for a robust, generalist workforce, including with the skillset to serve rural communities. The Report proposes training changes to enhance preparedness, via extension of programme duration to 3 years, and exposure to specific skills. As the CFPC navigates this transition, the SRPC has voiced that additional training must reflect the true needs and context of rural practice and our concerns regarding potential unintended consequences on rural health human resources. We have shared a desire to play an active role in this transition and feel that our strong network of rural educators has a great deal of experience, knowledge and skills to offer.

    Moving forward, out of the ashes, we rebuild, heal and reconnect. Moreover, the SRPC will continue its work on your behalf, championing rural generalist medical care through education, collaboration, advocacy and research.


    Lesperance S. President's message. Can J Rural Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 18];27:89. Available from: https://www.cjrm.ca/text.asp?2022/27/3/89/349014

  • 22-Apr-2022 4:12 PM | Anonymous

    During the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada’s (SRPC) annual Rural & Remote Medicine Conference in Ottawa April 21‐23, 2022 the physicians embraced Earth Day with a spectacular plenary session by Dr. Courtney Howard, Past‐President of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE). The session, “A Healthy Response to Climate Change”, spurred the 400 rural physicians and medical learners to take action against what the Lancet has called “the worst global risk to health”. 

    Read the full Statement: Canada’s rural physicians unanimously endorse motion asking feds to redirect fuel subsidies to support climate crisis adaptation.


  • 26-Mar-2022 4:01 PM | Anonymous
    The past 2 years have posed many challenges for our members and our organisation.


    Nonetheless, the SRPC has made big strides in advocating for rural generalism and the health of rural people.

    Early 2021 saw the formal conclusion of the Rural Road Map Implementation Committee. The SRPC is now continuing the work of the rural road map with on-going projects such as collaborating with Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) on rural research, disseminating the consensus statement on rural patient transfers, advocacy work around national licensure and involvement in a Health Human Resources planning group at the Canadian Medical Forum. We have also reached out to multiple stakeholders to explore common goals and identify ways to improve rural health care.

    Recognising our responsibilities in reconciliation, the SRPC introduced a successful webinar series on Indigenous health. This series provides our members with access to knowledge and evidence that is essential for delivering culturally safe care to Indigenous patients and communities. In Fall 2021, the SRPC Indigenous Committee issued a statement that called upon governments to 'invest in indigenous peoples individually and collectively, listen to the wisdom of Indigenous peoples, and collaborate on the solutions they propose to the many inequities that persist'.[1] We also asked SRPC members to learn from and listen to their Indigenous patients, identify injustices and inequities, and advocate for change in policies and laws negatively impacting indigenous communities.

    Under the leadership of the SRPC Student Committee, we introduced a mentorship programme that aims to connect medical students and residents to rural physicians from across the country. This is a way to support career exploration, guidance and increase understanding of the scope of rural practice. This programme is thriving! We have successfully matched 100 learner mentees with a rural mentor physician!

    While the past 2 years have been a bizarre time for all of us, it has been my absolute pleasure to have served as the SRPC president. I look forward to on-going involvement with the organisation in my role of past-president during the next term. Thank you to the past presidents and to the many dedicated SRPC members for help and guidance during my tenure.

    The society is in excellent hands with our amazing staff, and Dr. Sarah Lesperance will be a great successor. She has worked in many different rural and remote parts of the country, and continues to be a dedicated rural generalist. I hope that some normalcy may shine on us during her future as President of the SRPC.


    Woollam G. President's message. A reflection. Can J Rural Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 18];27:49. Available from: https://www.cjrm.ca/text.asp?2022/27/2/49/341028

  • 29-Dec-2021 4:02 PM | Anonymous

    Early in my career, I remember sitting in a remote northern emergency room in the early hours of the morning with a hypotensive, bradycardic patient. I worked to stabilise him, then called Cardiology in the referral centre located 2 h by air to the south. The cardiologist asked, “How do you know this is a cardiac problem?” Frustrated but undeterred, I spent the hours that followed racing to find an accepting physician and arrange a medevac. As a sole physician in the hospital, I should have been providing patient care.

    What seemed like an isolated experience at the time, I now see clearly as a widespread problem: many of the medical transport systems in this country are broken. Agreements and policy between sending and accepting sites are lacking, transport programmes are frequently under-resourced and inter-jurisdictional transfers can be impossible to navigate.

    The burdens of these inadequacies are borne first not only by patients and communities but also by providers and health systems. Existing infrastructure often leaves patients waiting in underserved areas for too long and causes stress for patients, families, and transferring physicians[1] and may lead to increased mortality.[2]

    However, there are things we can do. In April 2021, the Rural Road Map Implementation Committee (RRMIC) released their recommendations for improving patient transfer.[3] These included the following calls to action:

    •     Adopt formal patient transfer agreements
    •     Implement no-refusal policies
    •     Create supportive intra- and inter-jurisdictional infrastructures
    •     Leverage the use of virtual care technologies to support more care close to home
    •     Use data to evaluate, improve and reduce the need for patient transfers and enable on-going end-to-end planning.



    The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada is pushing these recommendations forward through research, advocacy and collaboration with our RRMIC partners. I encourage each of you to find ways to be part of this collective effort in your respective corner of the country and to help realise these calls to action.



    Woollam G. President's Message. Rural Patient Transfer. Can J Rural Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 18];27:7. Available from: https://www.cjrm.ca/text.asp?2022/27/1/7/334310

  • 30-Sep-2021 3:54 PM | Anonymous

    As members of the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC) and its Indigenous Committee, we are profoundly saddened by the discovery of the many unmarked graves containing the remains of Indigenous children at the sites of numerous residential schools across the country. We are reminded that we must all listen and acknowledge the truths of our colonial past and present. The SRPC strongly condemns the systemic racism in policy and decision-making that continues today as a direct result of our country’s colonial history. These policies have caused unquantifiable damage to Indigenous Peoples and continues to reverberate in our day-to-day work as rural and remote physicians. The SRPC believes our duty as healthcare providers is to identify legislation and health policies that lead to racially inequitable outcomes and challenge our current and future governments to move ahead on a path to truth and reconciliation.

    Read the full statement : Truth_and_Reconciliation_Statement_FINAL.pdf

  • 16-Dec-2020 4:10 PM | Anonymous

    The SRPC has grown and evolved over the years, and in 2019 we felt it was time to reflect this in our new logo. The SRPC was started by physicians who worked in agricultural areas of Southern Ontario and Western Quebec and the original logo reflects these agricultural roots. Over the past 27 years, the society has expanded and now has many members from all across the country. After careful consideration, we chose a logo that reflects all parts of rural and remote Canada with a modern, clean look.

    Color is an essential element to any logo so the red Canadian maple leaf was chosen. Red evokes feelings of power, passion, determination, and warmth. It also represents friendship, hospitality, and joy. All true characteristics of any rural health care professional.

    A canoe paddle was inserted as representation of rural, remote, and Indigenous communities. It symbolizes great wisdom, a tool of exploration and discovery, a connection to the natural world. The paddle is still a tool of labour in many parts of the county, but is also a tool of recreation. Canadians paddle in every province and territory across the county. The paddle is used in water; water is a symbol of life, healing, and transformation.

    It was important to have a new look, but also as important for some aspects of the original design to remain. The snake, which represent healing and medicine was coloured green, a colour of nature and a symbol of life and new beginnings.

    We feel the logo stays true to our roots while still reflecting the evolution of our organization. We are very pleased with the new look and hope you like it too!


    The first SRPC logo was designed when the SRPC was based in Mount Forest, Ontario, and by the time the first SRPC conference was staged in 1993 the name and the logo were established.

    We reached out to Dr. Ken Babey, as the concept of our original logo was brought to art by a patient and friend of his, Mr. Gary McLaughlin, a talented artist and commercial illustrator.

    In 1991-92 a group of Mount Forest physicians became the epicenter of the politics for rural medicine when they caused the Ontario Ministry of Health to recognize rural medicine as an unique entity. This led to both funding and educational initiatives that were beneficial to the practice of rural medicine.

    On the ground in Mount Forest they were inundated with calls and requests for information and help from other communities. As the concepts they were promoting spread rapidly and there was a need to interact with a wider public, they needed a way to reach out, support, and be recognized. This was difficult in the rural world pre electronics and social media and it was suggested they form a society of like-minded people and try to make the momentum sustainable. They developed a newsletter that would be sent out to every rural physician they could identify.

    It was at this time that they became aware of a group of physicians in Shawville, Quebec who were on a parallel course and were gearing up for their first Rural and Remote Medicine course. They decided to attend and see if that was another route to explore in developing a Society of like-minded rural physicians.

    The necessity for a logo came out of these initiatives. They needed something to readily identify themselves on the newsletter and they needed a logo for their business cards.

    The single snake coiled in the staff represented Asclepius and thus healing and medicine. Grant Woods’ 1930’s painting American Gothic immortalized the pitchfork as rural strength, determination and productivity, not to mention self-sufficiency. The pitchfork is itself a symbol of mischief, defiance, and to some degree the dark arts. This fit well with the activities of upsetting the status quo, mischievously intruding ourselves into various levels of decision making.

    The background field was added which could be coloured blue for the coastal oceans and lakes, green for the fields and trees of the central provinces, or yellow for the wheat of the prairies.



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