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To be or not to be?


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Correspondance  Letters

Vol 54:  february • féVrier 2008 Canadian Family PhysicianLe Médecin de famille canadien


I  invite—I  implore!—researchers  to  scrutinize  and  analyze the effects of every single remedy in the com- plementary  and  alternative  medicine  repertoire.  If 

$1  out  of  every  $10  spent  on  researching  often  triv- ial  pharmaceutical  products  was  devoted  to  good  research on complementary and alternative medicine,  there  would  be  a  tsunami  of  valuable  studies,  many  of  which  would  indicate  new  and  useful  therapeutic  opportunities.

But I hope, just as fervently, that visible and decisive  titles  of  articles  like  this  are  reworked  carefully  so  that  they reflect the radically more ambiguous content.

—Warren Bell MD President, Association of Complementary and Integrative Physicians of BC

Salmon Arm, BC by e-mail reference

1. Whittington C. Exacerbation of hemochromatosis by ingestion of milk thistle. 

Can Fam Physician 2007;53:1671-3.

To be or not to be?


would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the authors  of  the  study  profiling  students  entering  medical  school.1 Having just graduated from medical school, I  feel  that  this  study  adequately  and  accurately  reflects  the  main  issues  that  medical  students  contend  with  when considering family medicine as a possible career  choice.

I  especially  appreciate  the  articulation  of  the  “pres- tige”  factor  when  deciding  on  family  medicine.  While  there  is  the  pressure  to  “apply  for  something  better,” 

I  feel  that  the type  of  students  that  make  up  medical  classes  these  days  is  drastically  different  from  those  that  populated  classrooms  even  just  a  few  years  ago. 

Because  the  process  of  gaining  admission  to  medi- cal  school  is  that  much  more  competitive,  it  tends  to  single  out  pupils  that thrive  on  competition,  prestige,  and high esteem, things that are well entrenched in the  Canadian Resident Matching Service’s process for sub- specialty residencies.

I suggest that the selection process should somehow  identify features that would predispose medical students  to  choose  generalist  specialties  overall;  some  resilient  element  that  persists  despite  over-represented  expo- sure  to  subspecialty  rotations  during  the  clinical  years. 

Admittedly,  this  would  be  a  difficult  task  to  undertake,  but  if  we  start  with  more  family  medicine–friendly  stu- dents,  in  addition  to  all  the  other  curriculum  changes  that  need  to  occur  (eg,  family  medicine  rotations  in  urban  centres  as  well  as  rural  centres),  then  perhaps  more FPs will make it out the other end.

—J. Marlinga MD Calgary, Alta by e-mail



Correspondance  Letters

Vol 54:  february • féVrier 2008 Canadian Family PhysicianLe Médecin de famille canadien



1. Scott I, Wright B, Brenneis F, Brett-MacLean P, McCaffrey L. Why would I  choose a career in family medicine? Reflections of medical students at 3 uni- versities. Can Fam Physician 2007;53:1956-7, e1-8.

A member’s concern


am  writing  this  letter  to  express  my  concern  about  a  recent  issue  of Canadian Family Physician  that  opened  with a letter from the Prime Minister of Canada (November  2007). The basis of my concern is as follows:

In 2005, a family physician from Nova Scotia, Dr John  Hamm,  successfully  concluded  a  prolonged  “Campaign  for  Fairness”  on  behalf  of  his  province,  and  managed  to  get  the  federal  government  to  finally  live  up  to  the  terms  of  the  Atlantic  Accord.  The  document  had  origi- nally  been  developed  in  1985  and  was  to  last  15  years  once signed.

In 2007, the new Government of Canada passed a fed- eral  budget  that  would  unilaterally  alter  this  Accord.  A  recent  study  of  the  Atlantic  Provinces  Economic  Council  has  calculated  that  changes  in  this  budget  will  result  in 

$4.2  billion  in  revenue  being  removed  from  the  budgets  of  Atlantic  Canada,  money  that  would  have  largely  been  budgeted for health care and education in those provinces.

Hence, it is with utmost concern that I witness letters  from  the  Prime  Minister  of  Canada  being  published  in  the journal.

It  is  also  my  humble  opinion  that  unless Canadian Family Physician  is  committed  to  providing  a  balanced  viewpoint  of  all  Canadian  political  parties,  they  should  remain a non-partisan voice on all matters that relate to  health care of Canadians. 

—Rob Miller MD CCFP(EM) Halifax, NS by e-mail

Editor’s response


hank  you  very  much  for  your  letter  regarding 

“Greetings  from  the  Prime  Minister”  in  the  November  issue of Canadian Family Physician.1 The November issue  was a special issue on global health and development as  part of a worldwide initiative organized by the Council of  Science Editors to raise awareness of poverty and global  health issues.

To  honour  those  Canadian  family  physicians  who  contribute  so  much  to  improve  global  health  and  to  acknowledge  this  special  issue,  we  asked  the  Prime  Minister to bring greetings. Opinions expressed in com- mentaries  or  greetings  are  those  of  the  authors  and  do  not  imply  endorsement  by  the  College  of  Family  Physicians of Canada or Canadian Family Physician.

Diane Kelsall MD MEd CCFP FCFP Editor Canadian Family Physician reference

1. Harper S. Greetings from the Prime Minister. Can Fam Physician 2007;53:1838  (Fr), 1839 (Eng).



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