Winter 2019 (Volume 29, Number 4)

Update from the AMRQ

By Frédéric Massicotte, PhD, MD, FRCPC

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Another year already! It seems to me that it was only yesterday that I summarized the Quebec rheumatology picture for you. I would really like to be able to choose a palette in pastel tones to paint this year's fresco, but admittedly, many clouds remain on the horizon. Our system is painfully recovering from the laws imposed by the former Minister of Health, Dr. Barrette, and now the new Premier has taken over. In recent months, Quebec doctors have been at the heart of political events, under the threat of special legislation aimed at massively reducing their remuneration. Fortunately, a last-minute agreement gives a little lull and finally allows for sunnier days. Amid this tumult, this year, the communications team at the Fédération des Médecins Spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ) is working to better inform citizens about the real issues, such as the relevance of the legislation and its impact on accessibility to care. Unfortunately, as far as pay equity within the FMSQ is concerned, there is still a great deal of work to be done to correct these injustices. However, a year has passed since the implementation of the new Quebec reference system, and despite many administrative problems, it is slowly improving.

On a happier note, the Association des Médecins Rhumatologues du Québec (AMRQ) is doing well. There has been no change in the directors on the general council. The AMRQ is made up of 130 active rheumatologists and more than 30 residents in rheumatology active in our subspecialty! We have a very active association which, like medicine, now includes more women and younger members. The young up-and-coming members actively put their shoulders to the wheel and are involved in several therapeutic areas, both clinically and in research.

Speaking of research, I had the pleasure of presenting the 2019 Merit Award to Dr. Jean-Pierre Pelletier (and his long-time partner, Dr. Johanne Martel Pelletier). For those who don’t know Dr. Pelletier, in recent decades, his research team has become a world leader in the osteoarthritis field. His career includes more than 500 publications, nearly 1,000 abstracts, and a dozen national and international awards. Congratulations Jean-Pierre!

Otherwise, the Association's many activities are well under way. Our continuous professional development is always complemented by the half-day sessions covering the Top 3 in rheumatology, and our conferences. Our nurses benefit from their interdisciplinary meeting day, a training day created by rheumatologists especially for them. In addition, changes in resident teaching (competency-based approach) are occurring gradually, thanks to the ongoing and hard work of our program directors.

It will be our turn to welcome our French colleagues to the Fairmont Château Montebello in September 2020, during our annual conference. We’ll be pleased to show them our gratitude for their impeccable hospitality in Bordeaux in 2018.

In a few words, we cannot summarize all the work done by my colleagues, young and old, to promote Quebec rheumatology. This soft light contrasts with the darker background that hovers over Quebec medicine, but it means that rheumatology is slowly taking a well-deserved place among the most sought after medical specialties.

Frédéric Massicotte, PhD, MD, FRCPC
Association des Médecins Rhumatologues du Quebec (AMRQ)
Montreal, Quebec

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