North America region young doctors

Announced on World Family Doctor Day, May 19, 2014, Polaris is the newest Young Doctor movement in WONCA.

Since its inception, WONCA has promoted various supportive environments for junior family medicine or general practice physicians. Such backing became even more evident with the introduction of regional young doctors' movements (YDM), the first being the Vasco da Gama Movement in 2005. Since then, each region has slowly but surely adopted its own version of the YDM – all regions except North America.

Several barriers, including strong national family physician academies, large distances, and limited knowledge of WONCA’s existence, stood in the way of such a movement in this part of the world. Initial interest after the 2010 WONCA World Conference in Cancun generated momentum for a North American YDM; however, the aforementioned barriers proved too formidable at the time.

At the 2013 WONCA World Conference in Prague, a renewed energy and desire for a North American YDM emerged. Furthermore, the timing for such a Movement proved perfect, secondary to continued global interconnectivity and the need for improved healthcare systems – among many other factors. The generation of physicians entering the profession today reached maturity in an increasingly globalized world where junior physicians more than ever want to "think globally and act locally."

With key support from the Caribbean, American, and Canadian professional family physician associations as well as the WONCA North America Regional President, Dr Ruth Wilson, the region launched its WONCA North America YDM in a strategic manner on May 19 – World Family Doctor Day.

The Movement’s formal name is Polaris, representing the brightest stellar body in the celestial sky seen by all those within the Northern Hemisphere. This star has served to lead travelers and seafarers during their journeys for centuries.

As generation gives way to generation, it is our hope that the Polaris and all YDMs together can help guide the profession forward into a bright future.

Kyle Hoedebecke, MD and John Parks, MD

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Convenor / Chair

Rohini Pasricha (Canada)

Rohini Pasricha is a final year medical student at Queen’s University in Canada, with aspirations of pursuing a residency program and career in family medicine. 

As incoming President of WONCA Polaris, she is excited to continue building on the tremendous initiative and leadership facilitated by Polaris’ outgoing President, Margarete Ezinwa. Rohini will continue to engage Polaris members in current initiatives, including quarterly newsletters, regional conferences, virtual webinars, and promote additional opportunities for members to engage in family medicine and global health. This includes advancing Polaris’ social media presence and developing a strong mentorship program between medical students, residents, and first five years of practice physicians. One of the greatest benefits of Polaris is the opportunity to embrace its diverse member population and learn about the similarities and differences in our clinical practices. 

Rohini is committed to ongoing advancement and improvement in family medicine. In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, she co-developed a website to help medical students better navigate virtual care visits. As well, she sits on the Selection for Family Medicine Residency Training in Canada Program Directors’ Working Group as the medical student representative.

Outside of medicine, Rohini enjoys spending time with her family and friends, playing soccer, swimming, cycling, and traveling. One of her personal goals is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro! 

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Co-Convenor or other office bearers

  • Margarete Ezinwa MD, MPH (US) - Immediate Past Char

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Vision and Mission




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