Meet Dr. Henry Annan – residents’ new voice at the Royal College
PGY3 Pediatrics resident aims to bring a strong advocacy perspective to Council
For Henry Annan, MD, researching a presentation on the future of Pediatrics hit home the responsibility for physicians to get engaged in social issues beyond the four walls of a hospital or clinic.
“I came across an article that stated almost 90 per cent of the disease burden associated with climate change occurs in children under the age of five,” the third year Dalhousie Medical School resident says. “I was shocked. Climate change will disproportionately impact my patients.”
He learned his peers and other Pediatric staff were equally unaware of these facts.
“If pediatricians aren’t talking about it, who’s going to talk about it? Whether the issue is climate change or racism, I don’t think physicians can say ‘my job is only to operate and to prescribe medications anymore,’” he says. “We’re seeing more medical students, residents and physicians taking the health advocate role very seriously. And it’s exciting.”
Advocacy, honesty and working together toward the same end goal
Dr. Annan plans on bringing this advocacy perspective to his new role as the Resident Member for the Royal College’s Council, the governing body that oversees the organization’s policies, decisions and long-term strategy. He aims to reach out to residents to learn about their concerns and the issues they’re facing, anticipating the impact of COVID-19 on training, resident wellness and Competence by Design as top-of-mind topics.
“I hope to bring an honest perspective to policies. Saying this would be great for residents or not and being truthful about it,” he says.
Dr. Annan’s interests in medical education, physician leadership and health equity – and how medical training can be used as a way to advance these issues – is reflected in his volunteerism at the national and local levels. Dr. Annan was president of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) and later its board. He was a member of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada Resident Matching Committee and served on the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Board of Directors. He recently served on the board for Réseau Santé Nouvelle-Écosse in Halifax, an organization that improves access to French-language health care services.
While Dr. Annan admits Canada’s medical education system is complex, his experience at CFMS, CMA and other organizations helped him understand their mandates and roles, how they’re connected, and when and where decisions are made, in order to advance change.
“At the end of the day, all of us really just want a positive education experience for trainees and a high standard of Canadian medical education. What I’ve found the most gratifying and exciting, is when we recognize that we are all working together [toward] the same end goal, despite our different ideas on how to get there – that for me is a winning strategy.”