The October Resident Spotlight is now here! We interviewed one of our new Board Directors, Dr. Casey Chan, a PGY-4 General Internal Medicine Resident. Dr. Chan was previously a resident in Alberta and worked with PARA as a Director of their Board. We chatted with him about his experience at PARA, residency in Alberta, and choosing to run for the RDBC Board of Directors upon coming to BC.
I had the privilege of serving on three years on PARA, including being the VP of Leadership and Education. I have been through 3 different residency contracts in Alberta (and now into my 4th one in BC, yikes!), but at the same time, got to work with some really amazing people who really made me grow as a person. I have no hesitation to saying that PARA was one of my highlights of residency in Alberta.
PARA is a different residency organization from BC in that it is not a union. During this difficult economic time in Alberta, it was important for PARA to really work on having strong connects with partners such as Alberta Health Services, the PGME, and the Universities. This allowed for stronger mutual understandings of issues facing residents lives daily in a holistic manner. Of course, during this whole time, we were also involved in having a resident voice on Physician Resource Planning. This is an initiative in Alberta aimed at looking at the supply and distribution of physicians in the province.
During my time, I was able to chair a few committees under my portfolio. PARA tries to bring different educational events for residents to help round out their training – including events such as Leadership Training and Transitions to Practice. For the latter, we learned what was important for residents to provide a lot of resources for residents on how to transition both logistically and financially, as well as potential opportunities within the province. Moreover, we were able to come up with a new structure of having leadership workshops so that there would be yearly themes that will change as residents progress through the years.
Overall, I was really happy to be part of PARA and I think it was a fantastic experience that compliments our training and got to some meaningful work that I know will last for years.
During this time, you also worked with CPSA. Could you talk some more about your work with CPSA?
I was lucky that I was able to sit on the Council of the College of Physicians of Surgeons in Alberta. As many of us in residency will know, there are a lot of areas that the colleges across the nation are trying to improve, including things such as physician engagement, national licensure, as well as Bill 21. The latter is an act passed by Alberta aimed to protect patients from sexual abuse and misconduct and puts clearer guidelines on how CPSA regulates this area.
My experience at the CPSA really provided me with a wider angle lens at some of the complexities happening at a high level with physicians. I gained a strong appreciation of how starting one initiative can have lingering effects on other parties/programs. For instance, having Bill 21 officially passed in Alberta not only has implications for patients, but also for trainees and this, among other new developments on council, have generated a lot of positive discussions to improve care for the public. Overall, I was excited to see how the CPSA really values the opinions of trainees.
What inspired you to run for the RDBC Board, and what are some of your plans and hopes as Director?
I think it was my experience with PARA and recognizing the lasting impacts that can be accomplished through these provincial residency organizations that inspired me to run for RDBC. I think it is very rare for a resident to be able to be on the Board of Directors for a residency organization from two different provinces and I really want to leverage this opportunity. I can hopefully bring some different perspectives on how the same thing can be done in a different way and ask some challenging questions to improve lives for not only residents, but more importantly, to patients.
Through these two years, I really hope to work with the organization to develop connections. To me, that means to develop connections with our members. I am a strong believer that the most valuable thing a resident has is time. Hence, I want to create more efficient and convenient mechanisms for our members to engage with the organization and provide further feedback on continued areas of improvement. More importantly, I hope to develop strong relationships with our partners – UBC, health authorities, and Ministry etc. For us to improve health care together, I think this is a crucial aspect so we can all get continued mutual understanding/awareness on the challenges that residents face when providing care. Whether this is about scheduling or more holistic academic/educational opportunities, or workplace culture/safety, I think there are many areas to grow and it all starts with us coming together.
Lastly, what are some of your plans for your residency and beyond?
This is what I want to do for the rest of my life! I am in my last two years of residency, and just started the General Internal Medicine Program here at UBC. I really hope to incorporate my love for holistic care in GIM with a more holistic approach to the healthcare system in general. Hence, I plan to do a Masters in Healthcare Administration during my training. As a career, I want to be more involved in looking for increased efficiencies in the system and improving health care culture so that we can make this a happier, safer, and effective way to provide care for our patients.