Editorial: COVID-19

Johny Van Aerde, MD, PhD, FRCPC


In this special issue of CJPL, you will find some of the COVID-19 related work that the Canadian Society of Physician Leaders (CSPL) has been doing and continues to do for you. Within days after the pandemic had been declared, and even before British Columbia imposed its restrictions on conferences, the CSPL was one of the first non-profit organizations to cancel its annual meeting, which was to be held in Vancouver.


From previous surveys, we knew how much this annual gathering means to members: a place and a time to reconnect with peers, friends, and the organization. With that in mind, we decided quickly to develop and deliver resources for members, not only to maintain some of that connection, but also to offer tools and information they might use during this time of uncertainty, volatility, and chaos. Whatever was offered had to be short and practical.


Leading the Way is a series of 19 podcasts, based on the pandemic experiences of medical and other health care leaders across Canada. Included are leaders for patient advocacy, virtual care, supply chain management, medical students, and physicians who are a CEO, minister of health, astronaut, innovator, and more. The interviews connect us across the nation and address approaches to various aspects of the crisis in different areas. At less than 12 minutes each, they are short (see physicianleaders.ca/podcasts.html). We intend to continue this series, but change the frequency of release and switch up the content by adding leadership development topics, keeping to a maximum length of 15 minutes.


In this special issue, we’ve compiled the short bulletins that we produced over the last three months, each including a quick overview, framework, or skill that is useful to physician leaders in the current chaotic world (see physicianleaders.ca/bulletins.html). Written by CSPL members or Physician Leadership Institute faculty, these bulletins are based on evidence and relate to the L, E, and S domains of the LEADS framework. The CSPL is grateful to the contributors: Dr. Marc Bilodeau, Dr. Andrew Downes, Dr. Mamta Gautam, Dr. Paul Mohapel, and Monica Olsen. We hope that having all 12 documents together in one publication is useful to our members.


In addition to these offerings for busy physicians, we also delivered several targeted webinars early on. Dr. Dan Diamond, who was to be a keynote speaker at our annual conference, delivered a shortened version of his address in the form of three workshops on “Thriving during crisis.” Another workshop, on “Everyday resilience” by Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe, is available for viewing until 13 August. Please email  Deirdre at deirdre@physicianleaders.ca for the URL and password.


Because we are all affected by the pandemic, because “we are in this together,” CSPL made many its resources open source from the beginning. Our tiny team is grateful that it was able to pull together 35 offerings for our members in a short time. However, our society has also incurred a large financial loss because of the cancellation of our annual conference. We continue to offer value for your membership fees during COVID19, and we hope we can also continue to count on your support. Be kind, be well, do good.


Johny Van Aerde, MD, PhD, FRCPC, is editor-in-chief of the Canadian Journal of Physician Leadership and executive medical director of the Canadian Society of Physician Leaders.