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MSA leaders learn about effective advocacy during PLI course

Physician leaders from across Saskatchewan who are helping to transform Regional Medical Associations into new Medical Staff Associations came together recently to learn how to effectively advocate for change.

They attended the Physician Leadership Institute course “Advocacy for Change,” organized by the Saskatchewan Medical Association and held virtually Nov. 27, 2021.

“The knowledge I gained will be applied almost every day in our work,” said Dr. Randal Friesen of Prince Albert, who is Area Chief of Staff, Northeast. “This is a big chunk of what we do.”

La Ronge family physician Dr. Sean Groves said he was interested in learning more about how advocacy can be done at a system level. “I was also interested in examining how my current local advocacy work might be better approached and supported,” he said.

The course enabled physicians to recognize how advocacy can be part of their day-to-day practice. It showed how to advocate effectively – including in a hostile environment where advocacy is not encouraged - and explained the different forms that advocacy can take. Participating physicians prepared an action plan leading to meaningful change.

Drs. Friesen and Groves welcomed the opportunity to interact with like-minded physicians across the province.

“It was great to hear about the amazing work other doctors in Saskatchewan are doing as well as to get tips on how best to approach systems level change management challenges,” said Dr. Groves.

Asked what he learned that he could apply to his MSA, Dr. Groves cited the importance of setting achievable goals and “win-win” scenarios. In addition, sharing stories is vital so that people become more engaged in the work being done. “Facts matter when it comes to building a plan, but when the focus is on engagement and consensus building, you need people’s hearts just as much as their minds.”

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