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Recent Podcasts

AMS Conference ‘Narrative Teaching in Medical Education: A Workshop on Practical Tradecraft’
Feb 23 2011
** Introduction by AMS President/CEO, Dr. B. William Shragge
AMS Conference ‘Narrative Teaching in Medical Education: A Workshop on Practical Tradecraft’
Feb 23 2011
** Keynote Address By Dr. Rita Charon, ‘The Clearings of Narrative Medicine’

The AMS Hidden Curriculum Workshop, Mar 2 2011
** Guest Speaker: Professor Fred Hafferty (MAYO Clinic, USA)

The AMS Hidden Curriculum Workshop, Mar 2 2011
** Guest Speaker: Professor David Hirsh (Havard University)

Report of the Chief Executive Officer to the 2010 Annual General Meeting

I would take this opportunity to highlight the key themes of my report to the Annual General Meeting of AMS.

My comments will be framed around the word journey, a word which, in fact, characterizes our last year. This word can function as a noun or it can function as a verb. As a noun, this word represents travel or passage from one place to another, such as the journey from youth to maturity or a journey through time. This word can also function as a verb, as in to travel over or through, or, to go on a journey. Our last year has seen the beginning of a journey (verb) as well as both the end and beginning of several journeys (noun).

I would reflect briefly on the last year and the journey we have launched and, as well, the journeys we have observed, both coming to closure as well as beginning.

The last Annual General Meeting of AMS in April, 2009 saw significant transitions. Carl Haller completed his journey as Board Chair and I assumed that role. This meeting saw review of the Pregel report dealing with issues of Governance and By Law and, as well, the beginning of a in-depth discussion of the future of AMS, both in terms of financial status, in context of the global/investment crisis, and in terms of initiatives, both ongoing as well as those potential future initiatives .

The following three months, culminating in the annual retreat in June of 2009, saw considerable reflection and action based upon discussions at the April meeting.

At this retreat, facilitated by Ingrid Pregel, the discussion began with the fundamental question of the continuance of AMS as an entity. There was unanimous support for continuing AMS as an organizational entity, but framing its 'modus operandi' differently, around themes of leverage, partnership, and accountability. The retreat saw the launch of a period of introspection and reflection in terms of the desire of the board to “make a difference". This general statement was framed in more specific terms around the decision to launch a major overarching initiative framed around the 'humanities in undergraduate health professional education'. It was also determined that all other activities of AMS would be aligned with this overarching initiative. Finally, fiscal prudence was again emphasized, given global fiscal instability.

At this meeting in June, two journeys came to an end. Mary Ellen Jeans left AMS as CEO, effective July, 2009 and I assumed the role of CEO with Duncan Sinclair stepping in as Acting Board Chair. Mary Ellen went on to the private sector to pursue her research and consulting career, having contributed to AMS, particularly around our relationship with the CIHR. In addition to the departure of Mary Ellen Jeans, Michael Bliss ended his journey with AMS at the June retreat. Michael's contributions to AMS over many years of service, particularly as spokesperson for History generally, and the History of Medicine community specifically, were significant and valued.

Beginning with the June retreat, I was charged as CEO to bring to the Board progressive clarification and refining of the generally framed initiative related to the humanities in undergraduate health professional education. As well, I was further charged by the Board to launch a process of dialogue and communication with our stakeholders, particularly with the history community. My third 'mandate' as CEO, was to carefully review all existing and ongoing activities of AMS within the context of the overarching framework.

This journey of reflection and communication was marked by reports back to the Board over the course of the following year marked by several key moments.

The September meeting of the Board marked the next nodal point in this journey, and at this meeting, there were updates and reports on several themes with communication with the History of Medicine stakeholder community specifically discussed. As well, there was in depth discussion of By Law and Governance issues. The December meeting was significant in two major ways. Firstly, the revised By Laws were approved, thus establishing a current and responsive platform for our ongoing activities. Secondly, we received a report from Cathy Fooks, CEO of the Change Foundation. The Change Foundation is an organization that has undergone a journey quite similar to ours, and in this context, Cathy presented a very compelling and cogent review as to their journey and the point they have reached in this ongoing voyage after three years. She particularly emphasized the key decision determinants that facilitated their organizational tracking in terms of Vision, Mission, and Values.

The December, 2009 meeting also marked the end of the AMS journey of Mr. Carl Haller with his resignation from the Board after lengthy service to AMS, service characterized as a member of the fiscal advisory committee, the finance committee, chair of the Board for two years, and always as a most valued friend, advisor, mentor, and colleague.

Sadly, the New Year 2010 saw the passing of Mr. Carl Haller as well as Dr. John Seely Both these individuals contributed in a most meaningful way to the evolution of AMS and their passing was both noted and commemorated by AMS.

The threefold mandate assigned to the CEO, i.e., to move forward and mature the concept of the overarching initiative around the humanities in health professional education, to undertake dialogue and communication with the AMS stakeholder community, particularly, but not exclusively, with the history community, and, as well, to review and align all ongoing existing activities of AMS with the overarching mandate, advanced in a significant fashion as a result of a retreat in February, 2010 moderated and facilitated by Maureen Quigley. At this retreat I was able to bring forward to the Board the input obtained from a broad and multi professional consultation that took place over the preceding six months. As a result, we saw a very significant advance in our understanding of the nature of our initiative, now increasingly framed around both developing in the learner, and sustaining throughout the entire practise continuum, patient centred care based on a foundation of reflective professionalism.
This journey continues with the April meeting of the Board. At this meeting we cannot help but reflect on the journey of AMS from a human perspective, both through the lens of the departure of valued members of the Board, but, as well, through the lens of 'building on strength' through the recruitment to the Board of Dr.Carol Herbert, Mr. Ron Sapsford, Mr. Andrew Smith and Dr Jeff Turnbull. These new members of the Board bring additional dimensionality and depth to AMS as it continues its journey. This …. a journey increasingly defined by a new and heightened level of transparency, candour , and dialogue with its stakeholder community…. a journey increasingly bringing definition to a project that has as its vision a fundamental transformation of the culture and values of Health Professional Education with the mission framed around the developing, maintaining and sustaining those fundamental core values through the full professional practise continuum…. a journey increasingly aligning all AMS activities in an ever more coordinated fashion to bring singular focus in a value added fashion to the AMS overarching initiative….and a journey increasingly reflecting the new values of AMS framed around leverage, partnership, accountability, and fiscal prudence in the context of endowment management in a time of ongoing fiscal instability .

At this point, and at a personal level, I would express my appreciation for the constant input, support, and collegiality of the members of the Board over this remarkable last 12 months and would expressly thank the Chair of the Board, Duncan Sinclair, for his leadership this last year. I would also express my appreciation to Ms Sheila McDougall for her friendship, support, and unrelentingly accurate corporate memory as we have endeavoured to move this incredible enterprise forward.

Respectfully submitted

B. William Shragge, MD, FRCSC
Chief Executive Officer
Associated Medical Services, Inc.