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Rendez-Vous 2012 International Conference

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Last week I attended an international conference in Thunder Bay, Ontario entitled "Rendez-Vous 2012" - a joint conference of several organizations involved with medical education and hosted by the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), The Network: Towards Unity for Health, Wonca Rural Health (the World Organization of Family Doctors), Flinders University School of Medicine (Australia), The Training for Health Equity Network (THEnet) and the Consortium for Longitudinal Integrated Curricula (CLIC). Roughly 850 delegates attended this event from nearly 50 countries and 150 medical and health professional medical schools.

My highlight from the conference occurred Thursday morning as part of the day's opening Plenary Session. Following compelling talks by France's Dr. Charles Boelen and Australia's Dr. Della Yarnold, a recent NOSM grad took the stage: Dr. Doris Mitchell, now a family physician in Chapleau, Ontario. Dr. Mitchell spoke of her lived experience and perspectives going through medical school given her Aboriginal heritage. Her talk provided a wonderful example of a medical school's social responsibility; as an educator/administrator involved with medical education, it reinforced my passion and love for working in this field.

Dr. Mitchell's words left the large audience choking back tears; as a group, we were speechless. Her talk resulted in a prolonged standing ovation, the only one of the conference. It also made me look forward to the day that I will be sitting in an audience where one of you will take the stage to similarly demonstrate your leadership regarding social accountability.