Dr. Lauren Bilinsky

We are now the “pandemic generation” of resident physicians. Like those generations before us who were shaped by major world events – Spanish Flu, international wars, AIDS – our careers will be shaped by the cultural and technological changes that have swept us up over the past year and a half.

Some changes, I’m sure, we’ll be happy to see fade away while others we might wish to keep. Your voice matters and you can help determine the directions we go next. These major world events are catalysts for change and it’s exciting to think that we’re at the forefront of determining the future of our profession.

Medicine, medical education and medical leadership have all been affected by this pandemic. We have a multifaceted role in the health care system because we are not just new physicians, we are also simultaneously both learners and teachers too. We have a significant impact on the medical education system, on the learners that follow us and therefore on the future of health care.

I see how the culture of the health care system is shaped through our daily interactions with colleagues, staff and patients. In our work we can choose what pandemic changes we promote or leave in the past. For instance, personally, I hope we continue to encourage ill colleagues to take a sick day and look after themselves. Our everyday leadership and the purposeful roles we sometimes seek out are an opportunity to promote the value of voices from diverse backgrounds, specialties and stages of training.

The Professional Association of Resident Physicians of Alberta (PARA) will be working alongside you to promote a supportive learning environment for all Alberta resident physicians in this new normal world. PARA works with individual residency programs, the medical schools, Alberta Health Services and with many other provincial and national partners. The past year we have had a heavy focus on COVID-19, on wellness during a crisis and on inclusivity. I imagine that this year will be similar; your involvement can help shape PARA’s focus and direction.

There are a number of ways to be connected. The PARA office (para@para-ab.ca) is always available for questions or concerns. Your Executive Board team of resident physicians is happy to hear from you. Follow PARA on InstagramTwitter and Facebook. (I love the Instagram monthly photo contest!) Our PARA Internal Committees are open to all members and help organize a variety of activities (e.g. awards, wellness, leadership, inclusivity, etc.). Speaking of events, we’ll be offering many this year and would love to see you there.

I know some of you are looking for more involved leadership roles. For you, nominations for PARA’s General Assembly are open. This diverse group of resident physicians, representing a wide range of specialties from both universities, play a critical role in advising PARA. Assembly delegates also have an invaluable role in liaising with colleagues who have questions or concerns about their residency experience. If this sounds interesting to you, then I encourage you to nominate yourself. I speak for the whole PARA Executive Board when I say we’re excited to meet this year’s Assembly in August!

To those of you who are new to Alberta or to residency, welcome! To those continuing, welcome to another year. As we move further into July, I reflect on the mix of uncertainty and excitement that comes with a new year. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work with you and alongside you in shaping the next steps for our education and for our profession.

All the best,

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