News from North America region

Fall is a busy time for the North American Region of WONCA. The American Academy of Family Medicine held its Congress and Assembly in October in Washington DC. In an inspiring special address, AAFP member Dr Kent Brantly told of his training as a family physician in Texas, his work in Liberia against Ebola, his personal personal battle with the disease and subsequent recovery. He challenged all in the audience to support the fight against Ebola financially or by considering directly providing health care in West Africa. More here.

“Health is Primary” is a new initiative launched by the AAFP in collaboration with several other organizations ( It is a three-year communications campaign to advocate for the values of family medicine, demonstrate the benefits of primary care, and engage patients in the health-care system. The aim is to build a primary care system that reflects the values of family medicine, puts patients at the center of their care, and improves the health of all Americans.

In November the College of Family Physicians of Canada held its board meeting, Scientific Assembly, and Besrour Conference in Quebec City. Prof Michael Kidd, president of WONCA brought greetings to the CFPC on the occasion of its 60th anniversary. Take a look at these links to learn more about the 60th anniversary of the CFPC anniversary and heritage.

The Besrour Conference gathered together international family medicine partners of the 17 Departments of Family Medicine in Canada; several of the countries represented are not yet members of WONCA, and so the chance for WONCA leadership to interact with them was particularly valuable.

Dr Ruth Wilson, WONCA North America regional president was awarded first Calvin L Gutkin Ambassadorship Award. The award recognizes a dynamic leader in Canadian family medicine distinguished for his or her vision, innovation, and relationship-building with organizations that support and positively influence the ever-changing role of the family physician.

During the Family Medicine Forum, the first face to face meeting of Polaris, the young doctor movement for North America was held. This was an organizational meeting to consider a draft constitution, opportunities for co-operation, and sustainability. See separate story.

The Caribbean College of Family Physicians will be hosting its 6th triennial conference in Kingston Jamaica February 5-8th with the theme of “Family Physicians: Integrating Mental Health Care into Practice”.

Dr Ruth Wilson
WONCA North America region president