A Grande Prairie physician is the first-ever Indigenous nominee for president of the Canadian Medical Association. Dr. Alika Lafontaine was chosen by members in Alberta to serve in the position for 2022-2023 and will serve as president-elect until August 2022.
The local anesthesiologist was born and raised in Treaty 4 Territory in southern Saskatchewan and has Anishinaabe, Cree, Métis, and Pacific Islander ancestry. He is also the first nominee for CMA president of Pacific Islander descent.
The association says Dr. Lafontaine aims to address issues of healthy working conditions, the physician social contract, and creating a culturally safe health system.
“Mobility, employability, and collaboration should exist in a post-pandemic world, along with the decreased stress, burnout, and improved wellness that will result,” says Lafontaine.
“It’s also time to eliminate racism, sexism, ableism, classism and all other ‘-isms’ that permeate health system culture,” he adds.
Among his accomplishments, Lafontaine launched an anonymous reporting and learning platform with friendship centres across British Columbia and co-led a health transformation project involving 150 First Nations and several national health organizations from 2013 to 2017. He also holds several other leadership positions and was named to Medical Post’s 2021 “Doctors with Sway” list.
His nomination is pending confirmation by the CMA General Council in August.