“Connection, not hatred, is the glue that makes us feel we all truly belong.”
-Dr. Vivek Murthy

Dr. Murthy, the former Surgeon General of the United States, believes that loneliness is killing millions. As I consider my twenty-one years in medicine and the upcoming year as your president of BC Family Doctors, I think of Dr. Murthy’s anecdote to loneliness. My wish for the coming months is to build and strengthen connections: the circles between our membership and other medical organizations.

There are meetings where I have sat enveloped with loneliness. Despite tens of colleagues all around me in a large banquet room, I felt isolated. The meeting leaders sat alone at the elevated head table. Staff were distributed to the room’s perimeter, as if they all bore a scarlet letter and were not deemed pure enough to join the inner sanctum. I wondered about the alphabet soup describing the various, unique to BC, medical organizations: it took me years in leadership to understand the difference between BC Family Doctors, BC College of Family Physicians, Family Practice Services Committee, Doctors of BC and our place in the medical ecosystem. Afterwards, no resolutions or solutions were created. “Why had we gathered?” I wondered.

In contrast, the best meetings are ones where we sit in a circle. The leader, an equal, sitting with us to foster a safe and secure environment. We transition slowly into our time together—with a prayer or mindfulness moment. Our newfound openness and vulnerability creates an opportunity to delve into sensitive and challenging topics. We brainstorm solutions and next steps. I leave invigorated and fulfilled, excited for the next gathering and grateful for the new connections.  

I want to foster that same circle of connection between BC Family Doctors and every family physician in British Columbia. Whether you’re a longitudinal family physician in a suburb like me or a new to practice physician in a rural community. Whether you are in the hospital struggling to provide care in a broken system or a maternity provider saddled with too much call and too little remuneration. From medical educator to rural locum; from maternity doc to hospitalist; from surgical assist to clinic owner; from health authority medical director to providing house calls – I live in all these worlds. It’s why I went into family medicine. I want to do it all.

Doing it all comes at a price. I have cried to the physician support program in my office while patients waited in the exam room because I had no more to give. I contemplated closing my longitudinal practice because it was no longer emotionally or financially sustainable. What pulled me through were my colleagues – the other reason I chose family medicine. My preceptors always valued my opinions: I was an equal and not just a learner. They saw me as a whole person.

I lean towards circles. Sometimes in life, we approach problems as if it’s a zero sum game with only losers and winners. I want to  approach our challenges like a circle – equal, harmonious, with infinite possibilities, connected in all ways. I see each and every one of you as the whole people you are. I hope you will accept me as the imperfect, passionate, and dedicated person I am. I invite you to join our BC Family Doctors circle and make it stronger than ever.

Dr. Tahmeena Ali
President 2023-2024
BC Family Doctors 

Past Presidents

Dr. Danette Dawkin20222023
Dr. Toye Oyelese20212022
Dr. Jennifer Tranmer20202021
Dr. Karen Forgie20192020
Dr. Ramneek Dosanjh20182019
Dr. Wendy Amirault20172018
Dr. Ernie Chang 20162017
Dr. Ken Burns20152016
Dr. Lawrence Welsh20132015
Dr. Tracy Monk20122013
Dr. Peter Barnsdale20112012
Dr. Ralph Jones 20102011
Dr. Joanne Young20092010
Dr. Steven Goodchild20082009
Dr. Bryan Norton20072008
Dr. Bill Rife20062007
Dr. B. Jean Clarke20052006
Dr. Frank Healey20042005
Dr. Phil Asquith20032004
Dr. Catherine Clelland20022003
Dr. David Attwell20012002
Dr. David H. Geen20002001
Dr. W.J.R. (Bill) Cavers19992000
Dr. Carole Williams19981999
Dr. James Rhodes19971998
Dr. Heidi Oetter 19961997
Dr. A. Jack Burak19951996
Dr. Al Kallas19941995
Dr. Keith Phillips 19931994
Dr. Peter Boronowski19921993
Dr. Ken Kolotyluk19911992
Dr. Jack Albrecht19901991

Section of General Practice under BCMA prior to 1990

Dr. Brian Taylor   
Dr. Claude Morin 

BC Family Doctors