Interview with Dr. Kumanan – New President of the Ontario College of Family Physicians

Picture of Dr. Kumanan

(article from CND OHT Newsletter: Volume VIII November 2022)

Congratulations to (Two Rivers Family Health Team’s) Dr. Mekalai Kumanan on her new position as President of the Ontario College of Family Physicians! Dr. Kumanan’s continued support and involvement within the Cambridge North Dumfries OHT has been invaluable to date. We were fortunate enough to sit down with Dr. Kumanan to learn more about her vision for family physician leadership and engagement in the CND OHT and beyond!

Dr. Kumanan, what do you see as the main strength of Cambridge North Dumfries OHT as it relates to the engagement of family physicians?

Primary care engagement is incredibly important as we consider the health care needs within our local system. Our community is very well positioned to engage family physicians and ensure a strong family physician voice within the Cambridge North Dumfries OHT.

Family physicians in Cambridge are accustomed to working together. Our pre-existing Primary Care Collaborative provided us with the foundation upon which we will continue to strengthen the primary care voice within our OHT.

We are also quite fortunate to have an active Department of Community and Family Medicine at the Cambridge Memorial Hospital. As Chief of the Department, I am proud that we have this opportunity for family physicians to connect on a regular basis.

Continuing to develop these relationships within our family medicine community will ensure family physicians continue to be engaged and integral to our OHT.

What areas of care transformation will require ongoing family physician leadership and engagement?

Family physician leadership and engagement will be important in almost all aspects of the work of our OHT as it relates to patient care. Given the important role that family physicians play in caring for patients in the community and helping to navigate the system, it will be critical to ensure that family physicians are actively engaged in local health care planning.

Family physician leadership will be of particular importance as we look at ways to better integrate our local health care system, especially given the challenges we are facing in pandemic recovery.

Looking ahead to five years from now, what would the ideal integrated health model look like and how will this improve the experience of family physicians?

The well-integrated healthcare system we are working towards will significantly reduce the pressures family physicians currently face in managing the administrative burden and navigating care. A well-integrated system will allow us to refocus our time and resources towards providing direct patient care within our practices.

I envision a system grounded in equitable access to team-based primary care, where patients move seamlessly throughout the system for their health care needs. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with our partners within our OHT as we work towards this ideal state.