COVID served as a catalyst for the spread and uptake of mis- and disinformation, threatening the trust Canadian citizens have in vaccines and, frankly, putting lives at risk. Further, the extra disease burden on the healthcare system exacerbated pre-existing problems, including in the area of health human resources (e.g., staff burnout and shortages). Some may ask, So what? Why are these problems so concerning? How do we go about rebuilding trust in healthcare and science? Dr. Katharine Smart has been tackling these problems as President of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). As she transitions to the role of Past-President, Dr. Smart joins us to reflect on these issues, speaking to the importance of the longitudinal patient-provider relationship and innovative ways that clinicians can meet people where they’re at.
This is Part 1 in a two-part series. To hear Dr. Smart discuss staff burnout and bringing our healthcare system back from the brink of collapse, listen to Part 2 of this series, “Healing the Healthcare System: Staff burnout, honest leadership and collaboration”.
Note: This interview was recorded in July, 2022, prior to Dr. Smart’s transition to CMA Past-President.
Dr. Katharine Smart is a pediatrician in Whitehorse, Yukon and Past President of the Canadian Medical Association. Her work is centered on developing collaborative partnerships with community and government services to serve marginalized children using a model of social pediatrics. She works primarily with children who have experienced trauma and adverse childhood events, and she witnesses the broad and lasting impact these events have on children and their development daily. She is passionate about improving services for marginalized children in an effort to change their life trajectory.
In addition to her community-based work, Dr. Smart enjoys acute care and provides on-call services to the hospital. Before moving to the Yukon, she was a pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary. Dr. Smart is the past president of the Yukon Medical Association.