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8th - May

Dr. Joanne Sivertson of Prince Albert elected SMA president

Dr. Joanne Sivertson, an obstetrician and gynecologist from Prince Albert, has been elected president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) at the 2017 spring Representative Assembly. She succeeds Gravelbourg family physician Dr. Intheran Pillay.

Dr. Sivertson’s connection to the SMA began when she was student representative on the Board of Directors. She says she enjoyed learning about the complexities of the health system.

Dr. Sivertson acknowledged the state of the province’s finances, outlined in the March 22 budget, will make her tenure as president particularly challenging. A minimal increase in health funding brings uncertainty and stress to the health sector, she said.

“I want to ensure that we are keeping patients at the forefront of decision-making in health care,” Dr. Sivertson said. “The SMA has been advocating for greater participation of physicians in the planning, management and governance of the health system. The SMA will continue to advocate for physician leadership and for health system redesign.

“Health system redesign is probably the best way to change the health system so it’s better for patients and physicians in this province,” Dr. Sivertson said.

She vows to be an advocate for doctors during her term as SMA president, which lasts one year. After serving on the SMA board as a student, she rejoined after she began her practice to further her understanding of the health system.

“I find inspiration in the commitment and dedication demonstrated by my colleagues as they advocate for their patients,” Dr. Sivertson said. “I hope to represent their voices and to advocate for them in their efforts to provide optimum patient care.”

Dr. Sivertson becomes the 51st president of the SMA. Born and raised in rural Saskatchewan, she grew up on a farm in the Hanley area. She was educated in Hanley and Rosthern before embarking on her medical journey. She took pre-med at the University of Regina and medical school at the University of Saskatchewan.

She did her obstetrics and gynecology (O&G) residency primarily in Saskatoon, with some time spent in Regina, and began her practice in Prince Albert in 2009. Throughout her work and her SMA duties, she has found time to stay engaged with residents. As site co-ordinator she is in charge of medical students and residents who take O&G training in Prince Albert.

Dr. Sivertson is O&G director for the enhanced surgical skills program, teaching family doctors how to perform surgeries such as caesarean sections, for example.

She cares for many pregnant women with HIV and in the past has travelled to the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation east of Prince Albert and to the communities of Ile-a-la-Crosse and La Loche for outreach services.

“I have a passion for reviving generalism in medicine and returning care to the community,” Dr. Sivertson says.

The Saskatchewan Medical Association (www.sma.sk.ca) is a voluntary, member-based, professional association for physicians, medical students and residents in the province and it is the provincial chapter of the Canadian Medical Association. As the trusted voice of Saskatchewan’s 2,400 practising physicians, the SMA negotiates for and on behalf of doctors; supports the educational, professional, economic and personal well-being of physicians; and advocates for a high-quality and patient-centred health-care system.

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