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New SMA president says some doctors feel isolated due to pandemic

Dr. Gjevre is a professor of respirology, critical care and sleep medicine with the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan.
Dr John Gjevre of Saskatoon
Dr. John Gjevre of Saskatoon

SASKATOON — Dr. John Gjevre, a respirologist from Saskatoon, was elected president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) on Friday, May 6, during the 2022 Spring Representative Assembly (RA), which was held virtually.

Dr. Gjevre becomes the 56th president of the SMA. He succeeds Dr. Eben Strydom, a Melfort physician, and will serve a one-year term.

One of his goals is to re-establish connections among physicians after two years of the pandemic – assuming no further waves of COVID-19 infections require public health measures.

“It’s important that we start to re-engage with each other, see each other, within pandemic boundaries,” Dr. Gjevre said.

He plans to meet physicians where they work to make these connections.

“Some physicians are feeling isolated. Some are feeling disconnected because of the pandemic. The SMA needs to rebuild relationships among its members. We need to reach out and see people face to face and to hear their concerns. We need to rebuild collegiality, networks, and a sense of community among physicians.”

Dr. Gjevre also hopes during his term to acknowledge the resilience of health care workers.

“People have worked hard and have managed to keep our health system going provincewide, not always perfectly, but these have been unusual times,” he said. “A lot of people have done a lot. COVID has been challenging for many physicians. We need to celebrate the resilience of physicians, health care workers and the health system.”

Dr. Gjevre is a professor of respirology, critical care and sleep medicine with the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan. He graduated from the Mayo Medical School in 1991 and followed with fellowships in internal medicine and critical care from the Mayo Clinic, and a fellowship in respirology from the University of Manitoba. He joined the USask faculty in 2002. He has been an SMA Representative Assembly delegate for several years and joined the SMA’s Board of Directors in 2017. He has also been active with the Canadian Thoracic Society and is currently on the board of the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine.

The 2022 Spring RA also featured addresses from Health Minister Paul Merriman and Everett Hindley, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health, followed by a question-and-answer session with delegates.

Canadian Medical Association president Dr. Katharine Smart addressed the RA and presented CMA honorary memberships to four Saskatchewan physicians: Drs. Bruce Berscheid, Jamie Harris, Jeff McKerrell, and Sandra Wirth.

The Saskatchewan Medical Association is a voluntary, member-based, professional association for physicians, medical students and residents in the province and it is the provincial chapter of the Canadian Medical Association. As the trusted voice of Saskatchewan’s physicians, the SMA negotiates for and on behalf of our doctors; supports the educational, professional, economic and personal well-being of physicians; and advocates for a high-quality and patient-centred health care system.