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Nunavut to be Represented at Canada’s “Parliament of Medicine”

For the first time, the territory of Nunavut will be represented at the Canadian Medical Association, the national body representing Canadian physicians.

Nunavut lacks its own medical association to represent the territory’s small number of physicians. At the request of Nunavut doctors, the Ontario Medical Association has agreed to sponsor a delegate from the territory — adding an important voice representing the far north to the healthcare landscape.

“I’m very pleased that Ontario can step forward and help bring greater attention to the needs and concerns of Nunavut’s medical community,” said Dr. Scott Wooder, president of the Ontario Medical Association. “Ontario doctors have always participated in the treatment of Nunavut patients, so it’s fitting that physicians from both jurisdictions are now formally linked. The relationship will benefit patients in this underserved area.”

“A group of longterm dedicated physicians are living  and  working with the most marginalized people in Canada,” said Dr. Katherine Canil, a surgeon in the territory for the past 18 years. “We  ourselves have also been marginalized because of our remoteness, and our small numbers.”

“On behalf of the wonderful, resilient and worthy people we serve, we’re most grateful to the OMA and CMA for this incredible opportunity  to be a working part of the CMA.”

The Inuit people of Nunavut face many health and social challenges, including the highest infant mortality in Canada,  a cancer death rate that is three times that of the national average,  a TB  rate that has been reported as 64 times the national average, and a suicide rate that’s dramatically higher than that of the rest of Canada, said Dr. Canil. Through the CMA, she said, Nunavut physicians hope to bring focus and leadership to these and many other Inuit health issues.

For more information:
Heidi Singer, OMA Media Relations, 647.300.0081

NT5