Why I Got Involved

Members reflect on why they joined the Board of Directors and share their experiences.


Dr. Renee Arnold, MD, CCFP, FCFP
Hawkesbury, Ontario
OCFP President, 2007-2008
The OCFP mission statement guides the actions of the organization and provides a sense of direction. Our purpose is to build and maintain the highest standards of practice in family medicine through leadership, research, education and advocacy. I am so proud to be part of such an organization.

Consider a role with the OCFP. We need new members of all ages to continue to inspire and lead family medicine in the future to benefit our communities, our colleagues and our patients.

Back in the 90s, I was a family physician who like many was struggling in my practice. Then came the OCFP and the CFPC’s vision for  family medicine in the future – group practice supported by information technology and interdisciplinary teams.
I was so excited and tried to implement such a vision in my community but lacked the skills, the knowledge and the support needed to forge ahead. Then I joined the OCFP Board and found my voice for family medicine. What an organization! Along with the OMA, academia and government, we were able to create a primary care renewal in Ontario. I was energized with the vitality that each new member brought to the OCFP Board, the strong relationship we built with government, the OMA, our members, and the public. Consider a role with the OCFP. We need new members of all ages to continue to inspire and lead family medicine into the future to benefit our communities, our colleagues and our patients.

Dr. Sandy Buchman, BA, MD, CCFP, FCFP

Toronto, Ontario
OCFP President, 2006-2007

I became involved with the OCFP Board of Directors and came to witness that it was an effective provincial table for voicing and implementing issues affecting family physicians and our patients. One prime example is that this was the table at which the concept of primary care reform was first conceived and debated about 20 years ago. Within 10 years we had a new system of primary care delivery in Ontario that has significantly changed the practice of family medicine for both physicians and patients.
It was on the OCFP Board that I learned the skills of leadership in our discipline. Without this experience and mentoring/modeling by my peers, I would never have been able to assume the responsibilities and duties of the OCFP and the CFPC presidencies.
It was on the OCFP Board that I learned the skills of leadership in our discipline. Prior to joining, I had never been part of any leadership group or Board. Without this experience and mentoring/modeling by my peers, I would never have been able to assume the responsibilities and duties of the OCFP and the CFPC presidencies.

Joining the OCFP is important because this Board is the representative voice of family medicine in Ontario. No other medical organization can speak solely for the interests of family physicians and their patients. And the OCFP has earned the respect and credibility that has allowed it to have the ear of the Ministry of Health and other health care organizations in the province.  It also is the forum where the important educational developments and policy issues of the day affecting family physicians are debated and determined.  Without the OCFP and its Board of Directors, family medicine in this province would never have been as strong and well respected as it now is across Canada.

Dr. Sarah Newbery, MD, CCFP, FCFP

Marathon, Ontario
OCFP Board of Directors, 2008 to present
Secretary Treasurer, 2013-14
President Elect, 2014-15

It has been a really rich professional development opportunity and I believe my community-based practice and hospital Board work has all been enriched as a result!

I am a family physician in rural Northern Ontario and I am passionate about our role in the health-care system and in the lives of the people and communities we serve. Working with the OCFP has allowed me to explore and share that passion with a wonderful group of colleagues from across the province while learning about governance and not-for-profit organizations. It has been a really rich professional development opportunity and I believe my community-based practice and hospital Board work has all been enriched as a result!


Dr. David Tannenbaum, CCFP, FCFP

Toronto, Ontario
OCFP President 201​1-2012

As a family physician in Ontario it’s easy to become frustrated with decisions and policies that negatively affect our practices and patients. The OCFP is one organization that listens to and responds to the needs of family physicians and patients and seeks to provide solutions to improve patient care.

As a Board member you will help guide an outstanding organization that takes what we do at the level of patient care – trying to achieve the best outcomes possible – and moves that goal to the wider level of community and province.

The OCFP is first and foremost about quality of care. It promotes quality through a commitment to excellent CME and professional development for its members, by advocating with government and healthcare organizations for improvements in the way care is delivered, and by developing leaders in family medicine who can work within their communities to promote best care.
Participating as a member of the Board of Directors of the OCFP is one of the best ways I know to develop your own leadership skills and contribute to improving primary care in Ontario. Established leaders and emerging leaders are offered a remarkable perspective on the issues and challenges facing family medicine and primary care and can play a very significant role in shaping change. As a Board member you will help guide an outstanding organization that takes what we do at the level of patient care – trying to achieve the best outcomes possible – and moves that goal to the wider level of community and province. Working with a group of outstanding fellow family physicians and others, you will learn and experience such things as collaborative decision making, strategic goal setting, not-for-profit organizational principles, governance responsibilities, and even something about financial oversight. You will refine your ability to think strategically, appreciate complexity and contribute effectively at a governance level. These highly transferable skills will serve you well in leadership roles within and outside medicine.

I initially joined the OCFP Board when tapped on the shoulder by a colleague and recognized leader who felt I could make a difference and contribute. I only came to appreciate the tremendous value that the organization brings to our patients, our members and to the health care system when I was given the opportunity to listen to and understand the issues that are brought to the Board table – issues around advocacy, education and leadership that form the pillars of the work that the OCFP carries out. Serving as a Board member is also a way to give something back to an organization and its leaders that work tirelessly on our behalf to improve primary care and promote excellence in family medicine. I strongly advise you to consider contributing some of your time and energy to the work of this very important organization. Like many of us you will find effort to be highly satisfying and very worthwhile.


Dr. Eric Wong, MD, CCFP

London, Ontario
OCFP Board of Directors, 2013 to 2015

When the call for nomination came from the OCFP for a Board of Director opening, I read it and left it in my inbox.  As the days moved on, I kept coming back to it and realized the call was an existential question for me. Having just finished my term as program director for family medicine, I was subconsciously looking for another way to elevate the status quo and what better way to do it than to support and enhance the work and lives of my fellow colleagues in this province – and learn at the same time!
My experience on the OCFP Board has been phenomenal! On a personal level, I have learned a tremendous amount about good governance, effective management, financial literacy, and strategic thinking. Most importantly, I was able to be part of a family and experience what an effective member-based organization looks like and how it can enhance the lives of its members and their patients. My belief in the value of the OCFP has never been stronger as a result.

My experience on the OCFP Board has been phenomenal! I have learned a tremendous amount about good governance, effective management, financial literacy, and strategic thinking.

“Through learning we re-create ourselves. Through learning we become able to do something we never were able to do. Through learning we reperceive the world and our relationship to it. Through learning we extend our capacity to create, to be part of the generative process of life.” Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, 1990.

I can't say it better than Peter Senge, and my experience attests that the OCFP is a learning organization that is able to create a better future for family medicine in this province - that's why important to be part of it!

Dr. Jennifer Young, MD, CCFP(EM)

Collingwood, Ontario
OCFP Board of Directors, 2011 to present

After working for 15 years in a small town family practice in Ontario, I realized I had front line experience that could inform input into the Board of the OCFP. I had some local leadership experience, but not a lot, and I have found that my involvement in the Board has been a huge and invaluable learning experience.

All of the Board members have come to the Board as “imperfect Board Members” and we have all grown through support from fellow Board Members and the OCFP staff who help each of us get up to speed and be a valuable contributing member.
At Board meetings, we grapple with the issues such as the present and future state of comprehensiveness, of primary care reform, of the patient’s medical home. We learn about how an organization functions best with well-structured Board oversight and strategic planning.
All of the Board members have come to the Board as “imperfect Board Members” and we have all grown through support from fellow Board Members and the OCFP staff  who help each of us get up to speed and be valuable contributing members. Now in my fourth year on the Board, it has been personally and professionally enriching to share experiences and knowledge and to work towards the betterment of our valuable profession. You have valuable clinical experience and ideas about our system– why not bring them to the table?