© Jeff Harper - Metro Halifax
Dr. Cindy Forbes poses for a portrait in her Fall River clinic.
By Haley Ryan
For the first time ever, three Nova Scotian women are in the running to become president-elect of the Canadian Medical Association.
From Jan. 22 to Feb. 26, doctors across the province will cast their vote between Dr. Cindy Forbes, Dr. Maria Alexiadis, and Dr. Cathy Felderhof to decide who will go on to be the seventh woman to hold the title since the association began in 1867.
“It’s to be expected when one sees the increasing number of women entering the medical profession,” said Nancy MacCready-Williams, chief executive officer of Doctors Nova Scotia. “It’s a great sign.
”Whoever wins the election will appear before the CMA’s general council this August to be named president-elect, and become president in the summer of 2015.
One of the women will be the first Nova Scotian president since 1996-97, because the position rotates among the 12 provincial and territorial medical associations.
“It’s so Canadian, it’s just the way we do things,” said current CMA president, Louis Francescutti.
Felderhof is a general practice doctor based in Canso and First Nations staff doctor in Pictou Landing.
Forbes and Alexiadis are both family doctors in HRM, former presidents of Doctors Nova Scotia, and good friends.
“(That’s) the good and the bad,” Alexiadis, who is based in Bedford, said with a laugh. “In the spirit of collaboration I’m sure we’ll all help each other after the election is over.”
Alexiadis said she’d like to work on long wait lists, chronic disease, and being vocal about how mental health and addictions should be treated as chronic diseases and “funded accordingly.”
Forbes, based out of Fall River, said physical activity and improving Canadian’s eating habits would go a long way to cut down on chronic diseases.
She said although the province doesn’t necessarily have more female doctors, there’s a lot of support and mentorship at the local level which “filters up through leadership positions.”
Having a Nova Scotian at the federal level could also help our specific issues on long-term care and fewer resources by seeing where they overlap with other provinces, said Forbes.