Featured Doctor


Portugal, Young Doctor on WONCA Executive

Dr Ana Nunes Barata, of Portugal, has been elected to be the Young Doctor Representative on the WONCA World Executive from November 2016 -2018

What work are you doing?

I’m working as a Family Physician in Amadora, a city close to the northern side of Lisbon and that is one of the most densely populated areas of Portugal. There is still an important lack of family doctors in this area, which increases the challenges when trying to provide healthcare assistance to this population.I work at a healthcare center with a team of seven doctors, six nurses and five assistants, providing care to a population that has a strong multicultural background. My list of patients is organized by families and I am able to provide holistic care to patients from all age groups. As a family doctor in Portugal I am able to organize my schedule for acute and chronic conditions visits, as well as to do home visits for those patients who aren’t able to come to the healthcare center. I am also able to provide the required follow-up for low risk pregnancies, assist and supervise the development of toddlers until teenage years, as well as to plan visits in order to offer advice regarding family planning.

During med school and during my residency in Family Medicine, I developed a special interest in Palliative and Hospice Care for which I did a Masters’ program in Hospice and Palliative Care, as well as clinical rotations in this field, in different countries. After this experience, currently it is my aim to develop the home care palliative care service in Amadora, for what I am already collaborating closely with the home care nursing team.

As current demographics show an increasing number of elderly patients, I also looked into getting more knowledge in Gerontology for which I am currently doing a postgraduate education program in Geriatrics.

Feeling the need to answer to multiple challenges in Primary Healthcare, I attended two programs on healthcare management and leadership skills so that I am able to answer more effectively to different problems.

I am a member of the executive board of the Portuguese Association of Family Medicine and am coordinating this organization's department of residents and young family doctors, where I have been working with my colleagues to design activities that are of relevance for young Portuguese Family Doctors as well as to answer to their needs and interests.

Your involvement in the YDM to date

Before starting my residency training in Family Medicine, I had the excellent experience of completing medicine school abroad. Afterwards, I considered it was important to experience healthcare in a different continent, for which I did an observership in Internal Medicine in Japan.

When coming back to Portugal and starting my residency program in Family Medicine I looked into possibilities of carrying on with this experience and getting an international perspective of Primary Care.

I’ve started collaborating with the Vasco da Gama Movement in 2012, the year where I started my residency training program in Family Medicine. That year, I attended my first WONCA Europe conference in Vienna and I got to know some members of the Vasco da Gama Movement, who strongly motivated me to start working together with this movement.

At that moment, another door opened and I am incredibly lucky to now be able to call some of them, my friends.

Since 2012, it has been a non-stop of activities having focused my efforts in developing a global exchange program for those in family medicine training and in the first five years of family medicine practice. The popular “Hippokrates Exchange Program” was already happening within Europe and, in 2013, during the 20th WONCA World Conference in Prague, the first meeting for a global exchange program took place the Family Medicine 360º program was created.

From that moment on, I have been coordinating this project and it now already has had over 300 inquiries and 53 certified exchanges all over the world. All exchanges follow an educational program that is built on the participant’s learning objectives and, in the end, the participant is requested to write a small report on his/her experience. Reading through the reports is truly motivating and inspiring as participants share their reasons why this program was a key experience for their personal and professional development. The FM360º program has been promoting global intercultural knowledge exchange between peers, creating opportunities to change mindsets and inspiring new approaches to Primary Care.

Your hopes for you role as YDM representative on WONCA executive

It is an exciting time to be elected as YDM representative on WONCA Executive. I look forward to working together with the seven YDMs so that they become strong, solid movements in their regions, thus inspiring young GPs and motivate them to open their horizons.

Our team will support projects that have already been developed, but we look forward to developing initiatives in the areas of research and education in Primary Care, so that that our peers are able to provide the best care and make the best contributions for global health. Furthermore, we will be advocating for young doctors to have a strong presence in WONCA’s SIG’s, Working Parties and events, so that young doctors are given a stage to discuss and share their ideas.

Another aim is to work more closely with other external organizations (eg. IFMSA) and to also try to be more involved in decisions on policy making, as it is the collaboration with WHO.

Within the WONCA Executive Council, it is my objective to propose new initiatives, to be the voice for concerns of young doctors and to be a facilitator for their resolution. New suggestions will always be welcome, so I’ll be looking forward to hearing your inputs!

Your other interests passions out of work?

Travelling, as an opportunity to learn from different cultures, as well as arts, reading, listening to music and spending time outside in nature are some of my hobbies. Spending time with my family and friends is precious for me and I love playing with my dog.
I am also very interested in technology, in particular the use of social robots to improve quality of life in elderly patients and ehealth, as an active contributor for patient engagement.