What are the “hot button” topics for family medicine in the coming year? We asked this and other questions to Christie Newton, BCCFP’s new president. Dr. Newton works in a community teaching practice at the University of BC, providing care for local residents as well as students, staff and faculty.
How did you get involved with BCCFP?
I started on the Board when I became involved in the National Committee for Continuing Professional Development in 2010. I was particularly interested in supporting family physicians in accessing up-to -date information and education to help them remain current. I was frustrated that much of the education available was oriented to specialists and not addressing what to do in the average family practice community office. I had been involved in the Health Authority Primary Care Council, which had been disbanded, and also the Board of the Vancouver Division, but at the time neither of these groups focused on education and supporting family docs in their day-to-day practice.
In your role as president, what are your goals/priorities for BCCFP in 2016?
We transitioned from a representational board of 26 to a skills based board of 13 this year, so my main priority is to make sure that in this transition we don’t lose connections with our members across the province. I hope to travel to many of the communities to meet with the members and ensure that the Chapter is advocating for and supporting all of its members. I do realize that BCCFP can’t be everything to everybody, and so I think another priority will be to strengthen partnerships with the other primary care stakeholders in the province: GPSC, RCCbc, Divisions etc, and ensure that we are working together to meet the needs of the family physicians of the province.
What about family medicine in general ? What do you see as the hot button topics for BC in the coming year?
I actually think family practice is a hot button topic for the province. I think that family physicians are in a good position to drive change in the health care system. I think that part of this change will be to team-based care, starting with specific populations and spreading to general community family practice, the Patient’s Medical Home and similar collaborative care models will take hold in BC in the coming year.
When you talk to medical students about making a career in family medicine, what do you say?
I tell them there is no other career that is as rewarding. You develop these wonderful relationships with your patients, students and colleagues. There is variety in what you do every day – you never exactly know what you will be doing with every patient encounter. From a practical point of view–paying off loans or having a family– family practice offers flexibility in where you work, how much you work and who you work with. You will never worry about being employed.
What are your passions outside of work?
My family. I can do what I do because of my family. They have always supported me and my career choices. My girls are amazing, and I love living vicariously through them, their sports, music, art, etc. My husband is my sounding board, constantly reminding to think big but to always remember what it’s really like practicing on the front lines of primary care. Other than that I’m an avid soccer fan, I appreciate art and fine wine and I am a recreational runner.