The year ahead and my three priorities

October 11, 2022

Dr. Fredrykka Rinaldi, AMA President

Dear Members,
As I begin my term as president, I would like to thank the membership of the AMA for your vote of confidence. This is an honour that I certainly wouldn’t have expected myself. Hopefully, I will prove worthy.
What does one say at a time like this? Physicians who know me can attest that I have no shortage of words when tilting at windmills. Here are some things that occur to me as I write this letter...
The past few years have been the craziest that I have encountered in my years of practice. Looking back, in 2019 the Alberta government’s health platform included:

  • Enabling the medical home
  • Addressing wait times
  • Supporting those challenged by mental health and addiction issues

What issues face us now? I remind you that in the corporate world, best practice in business planning is three priorities or maximum five. Here are the issues and areas of focus that I see on our planning plate (in no particular order):

  • practice stability and viability vs budget management
  • access/wait times (especially rural)
  • human resource scarcity (physicians and allied health care professionals - again, especially rural)
  • system leadership and relationship with government
  • digital and information technology impact
  • physician health and healthy working environments
  • equity, diversity and inclusion, including Indigenous reconciliACTION
  • reforming primary care (although I’ve yet to see anyone define “primary care”)
  • alternative methods of practice and payment mechanisms
    • urgent care, third party entities, ARPs
    • teams, virtual care, artificial intelligence
    • stipends, overhead, Z-codes
  • patient expectations and democratizing medical knowledge
  • government priorities, e.g., MAPS, ASI
  • self-regulation and autonomy

Where should we focus to be strategic? I suggest three priorities:

  • Leadership
  • Viability
  • Patient care

The AMA and all physicians (leaders both formal and informal) need to be early partners in the design of system transformation for meaningful and sustainable progress to occur in these areas. We need to recognize that not all of these priorities will be resolved in the government time frame of five months or maybe four and a half years. We need to respect the capacity of physicians and staff who are often working off the sides of their desks while pursuing their main vocation: caring for patients. We need to understand the costs and opportunity costs of change management and ensure supports are in place. We need to address these things at the coalface. It does little to advance meaningful, engaged change where the rubber hits the road when providers are already standing ankle deep in Alberta Health or Alberta Health Services policy, watching the flush of another pathway or guideline wash into their workspace.
We need to convey that “team” is not simply a noun. It is an evolutionary process based on trust and respect. We need to take care of ourselves and our circle of care to be at our best. We have unique expertise that needs to be brought to the planning table early on. We need to embrace the perspectives, values and contributions of our colleagues, even if we cannot ascribe to them completely. We need to be seen – and behave – as leaders in the system and champions for patient care. To quote a former AMA president, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
The AMA and patients need each of you to be involved, at the level that makes you comfortable. We will support you. I will keep you up to date. The Board of Directors meets October 27-28 to begin the work of implementing our new agreement and addressing the direction provided by the Representative Forum at the September meeting. You’ll hear from me about outcomes and what happens next.
If you have things you would like to tell me, please reach me via email at You can also comment on this letter on the AMA website.

fred Rinaldi, MD, CCFP, FCFP, LLB, MBA, MPA(HSA), BCom
President, Alberta Medical Association
"Fate whispers to the warrior, 'You can not withstand the storm.' The warrior whispers back, 'I am the storm.'"


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  • #1

    Borys Hoshowsky


    6:13 PM on October 11, 2022

    Congratulations on your role as AMA president.

    I have been a practicing Otololaygologist in Calgary for over 30 years. The statements in your letter though are thoughtful have been mentioned over and over again previously. There is no province that is not in the same situation.

    I find it very difficult to understand why physicians cannot come up with an alternative to this imploding “free” healthcare system. Waiting years for appointments. 5 years for surgery, 1 day for the emergency room is unacceptable. This should be a violation of our oath and I personally cannot believe that any physician is happy with the state of healthcare unless you have never required it.

    For myself , my family and family members I pray that perhaps you have the will/desire/ strength to pursue a complimentary system. It truly is time .

    The belief that paying or providing a sector of medical doctors a bandage relief borders on lunacy let alone how much in taxes we pay for substandard service.

    Its time we talked about a better Alberta with healthcare in keeping with most other countries. Letting politics guide us is to our demise.

    Please help all Albertans and show us true leadership.

  • #2

    Salma Murji


    5:16 PM on October 13, 2022

    "Fate whispers to the warrior, 'You can not withstand the storm.' The warrior whispers back, 'I am the storm.'"
    love you already!!
    I see that you are ready to fight the good fight!

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