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

Convenor / Chair

Cheyanne Vetter, MD (Canada)

Cheyanne Vetter is a Rural Family Medicine Resident in the northern region of Saskatchewan Canada. She has been involved with Polaris for the past three years, first as the Canadian Medical Student Representative on the executive and now as the Resident Representative and Chair. Cheyanne has a passion for rural primary care and truly believes that full scope family practice is in the best interest of patients, communities, and health systems. Her research interests include harm-reduction and quality improvement.
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