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Dr. Allan Woo of Saskatoon elected SMA president

Dr. Allan Woo, an orthopaedic surgeon from Saskatoon, was elected president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) on Friday, May 3, at the 2019 Spring Representative Assembly (RA) in Saskatoon. He succeeds Dr. Siva Karunakaran, a Regina nephrologist.

Dr. Woo becomes the 53rd president of the SMA. His connection to the SMA began as an RA delegate in 2005 representing the orthopaedic section. He thought his involvement would consist of advocating for the section, but he was asked to join the SMA Board of Directors in 2013.

“My personal belief is you can’t really complain unless you get involved and try to understand the issues, so that’s what I did,” Dr. Woo said, adding with service on the board came an expectation that he would join the executive, and hopefully get elected to the presidency.

“Once you have a willingness to be on the board, you see the responsibility and expectation that comes with being a board member, and you know that’s part of your responsibility,” he said. “That’s why I am happy to carry on in that tradition.”

Dr. Woo’s term is for one year. A couple of issues that will be brought forward from Dr. Karunakaran’s 2018-19 term include developing practitioner bylaws with the Saskatchewan Health Authority – rules that will govern workplace practices for many physicians – and negotiating a new agreement with the province. The current Medical Compensation Review Committee agreement expired on March 31, 2017.

“Those are things that are a high priority,” said Dr. Woo. “We will also carry on with what the SMA has been trying to achieve for the last couple of years in the areas of physician wellness and physician leadership, and dealing with other issues and topics, whether they be Canada-wide or specific within our provincial borders. For the most part these will be physician-centric ideas that help physicians provide the best care they can to patients.”

He likens his role to that of a communicator – making sure physicians across the province understand why the SMA does what it does. “I think that’s my task over the next year – make sure the message is consistent and that everyone understands that message. If any member has any concerns or questions, they can come to me.”

Dr. Woo graduated from the U of S College of Medicine in 1994 and completed his orthopaedic residency at the U of S in 1999. He has also completed three fellowships – a hip fellowship in Bern, Switzerland, in 1999, a hip and knee arthroplasty fellowship at the University of Toronto in 2000 and a spine fellowship at the University of Alberta in 2001. Dr. Woo is a clinical assistant professor with the U of S College of Medicine. He is married to Maya and they have two children, stepson Ethan, and daughter Tien.

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