An anesthesiologist from Grande Prairie is officially the first Indigenous president of the Canadian Medical Association. Dr. Alika Lafontaine stepped into the role at the organization’s annual general meeting Sunday.
Lafontaine has served as president-elect since his nomination was confirmed last August. He will serve as president of the CMA for the next year, representing and overseeing more than 68,000 member physicians and trainees.
“As I take on the role of CMA president, I want my fellow physicians to know that I see their struggles and I am deeply committed to making progress toward a better future,” says Dr. Lafontaine. “Together we will rewrite the narrative of what it means to be a physician, how to better partner with patients and team-based care. We will build a future for healthcare in Canada.”
Dr. Lafontaine 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 CMA president of Pacific Islander descent.
Among his accomplishments are nearly 20 years of medical leadership positions, including at the Alberta Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, HealthCareCAN, and the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada. He also co-led a national strategy with territorial organizations representing 150 First Nations and several national health organizations submitted to the federal government.