Prof Michael Kidd, new WONCA President
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Professor Michael Kidd, has taken over the presidency of WONCA in a ceremony in Prague today, Thursday 27 June,. Recently he was interviewed by the Prague HOC for the Prague conference newsletter.
What is your professional background?
I am a family doctor from Australia. I am also a primary care researcher and medical educator and dean of the faculty of health sciences based at Flinders University in Australia. I am also a past president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and have been a member of the WONCA world executive since 2004.
Why do you invest your energy in WONCA?
Once you understand what WONCA does, why would you not want to invest at least some of your energy in supporting WONCA? WONCA has been a force for good during its 40-year history, with member organisations representing family doctors in over 130 nations and territories, all working together to improve the quality of life of the peoples of the world by supporting the development of family medicine throughout the world. We have shown that by working together we can make a real difference.
Where will you drive WONCA?
I see the role of the WONCA president is to be a strong vocal advocate for family medicine around the world. I will be working with our member organisations to continue to expand the role of family medicine in strengthening primary health care and working towards universal coverage in each of our countries, and strengthening our important work with the World Health Organization at global and regional levels. In addition I will be working with our member organisations to expand WONCA’s presence by supporting the development of family medicine training in more low- and middle-income nations, increase support for our young family medicine leaders, celebrate the many achievements of family doctors around the world, and reinforce the role of family medicine in providing primary care to all people in each of our countries, especially those who are marginalised and vulnerable. I will also be working with our CEO to expand awareness of WONCA and our work through social media.
What are your expectations?
There is a golden opportunity for family medicine and primary care as the nations of the world wake up to the need to strengthen their systems of primary health care to better meet the current and future health needs of their people. I expect to see continuing high levels of interest in family medicine in many nations of the world and expect that WONCA will continue to work with our member organisations and with the World Health Organization to support these developments.
What do you expect to gain from the WONCA presidency personally?
Medical leadership roles provide incredible opportunities for personal development – to expand your knowledge and understanding, to challenge your attitudes, to allow you to work alongside wonderful people who share a similar passion for making a difference and to support them as they achieve wonderful things, and to provide opportunities to the leaders of tomorrow to develop their skills and interests.
How do you feel in Prague?
I know Prague well and feel very comfortable here. By now everyone attending this conference will realise that Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is wonderful to stroll the streets during the day or night and enjoy the sights and all the activity. I first visited Prague when I attended the WONCA Europe conference here in 1997 and I now have some wonderful friends here and have been back several times since.