September 15, 2016 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – This week Dr. Merrilee Fullerton participated in the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine’s annual Social Accountability Forum for first year medical students. Over 160 people attended Roger Guindon Hall to hear Dr. Fullerton and other medical experts speak on the theme “Working Towards a Healthy Population: What Can Physicians Do?”
Dr. Fullerton’s contributions focused on concepts surrounding the importance of patient rights, the positive movement toward empowering patients in health care, and the growing understanding and respect for individual differences within a population.
“Today, there is both incremental change and disruptive change in health care”, said Dr. Fullerton. “As providers of care, physicians must see the big picture in addressing the ongoing issues involving patient need and system limitations. We must have the courage to disagree at the same time as having the humility to know what we don’t know. Valuing diverse perspectives is important in creating improved patient care and ensuring that the system is responsive to patients.”
“Physicians have so much to contribute and must be willing to speak out about patient need and system change.”
“It is important for Canadians to have a respectful dialogue regarding the changing relationships between physicians, patients and the public,” Dr. Fullerton observed. “This dialogue requires both emotional and academic intelligence. Communication is key to building trust between physicians and patients as we work to improve care for all patients.”
Dr. Fullerton encouraged the medical students to embrace change. “Canadians’ evolving health care needs require that physicians adapt. Progress requires both emotional commitment and academic understanding which is why it is important for physicians to use both critical thinking and their experience to address the status quo. As physicians, we must understand the need for incremental change but must be ready for “disruptive” change that is unexpected and initially uncomfortable. Mobile health technologies are an example of disruptive change that can be positive but which disrupt the status quo of health care delivery.”
Dr. Fullerton explained that technologies that involve the use of smart phones are capable of engaging and empowering patients in improving and maintaining their health. These technologies have the potential of evolving into robust medical tools, over time displacing various kinds of health services including some diagnostics.
Merrilee Fullerton is a graduate of the University of Ottawa Medical School and has addressed physicians and medical students on a wide range of issues. Her career includes serving at the Carleton Place Hospital, practicing family medicine at Med-Team Clinic in Kanata, and serving as President of the Academy of Medicine Ottawa. Dr. Fullerton has been very active in professional medical associations and local health care organizations, including advisory roles with both the Ontario Medical Association and Canadian Medical Association, and membership in the City of Ottawa Board of Health and the local LHIN serving Ottawa and area.
Dr. Merrilee Fullerton is currently seeking the nomination as the Ontario PC Party candidate in the new riding of Kanata-Carleton for the 2018 provincial election.
Dr. Merrilee Fullerton