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by Maria de la Parra

The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce held the highly anticipated 2023 Physician Recruitment Event on Wednesday, July 19th at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. The main purpose of this annual event is working towards tackling one of the biggest concerns of business owners and residents of New Brunswick, that is, access to a family doctor, primary healthcare for themselves, their families, employees, and potential recruits. The event is a tangible demonstration of Fredericton’s community commitment to supporting health care professionals, as well as a recruitment tool to show medical residents and clerkship students what the city has to offer, so they will hopefully choose to open their practice here. Hosted by the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, the chamber’s event team works with the Physician Recruitment & Retention Committee (which is made up of chamber members as well as corporate stakeholders) to coordinate the event.  The reception was sponsored by: Teed Saunders Doyle Chartered Professional Accountants and Advisors, The Property Ladies, Vanguard Legal Group, The Chalmers Foundation, The New Brunswick Medical Society, The New Brunswick Department of Health, Research NB, The Horizon Health Network and The City of Fredericton. The Chamber launched the Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee in 2009 and have been instrumental in encouraging residents to begin their practice here. The work of the committee includes this annual event, supporting residents’ community needs such as support for spousal employment, and the business of medicine training program co-hosted with the NB Medical Society

This year’s emcee was Krista Ross, the chamber’s CEO, who introduced a prestigious group of speakers including Mayor Kate Rogers, Dr. Jonathan Jean, Minister of Health Bruce Fitch, and Dr. Pete Dickinson. The first speaker of the evening was Mayor Kate Rogers, who gave the guests a warm greeting and explained to them why the city is such a vibrant and diverse place that they will fall in love with and want to establish their practice and their lives here. Next up was Dr Jonathan Jean, who completed his undergraduate degree at UNB Fredericton and his medical degree from Dalhousie University. Dr. Jean provides exceptional care to the patients in his family practice, as well to as those without a family doctor during his hospitalist weeks. Dr Jean is passionate about teaching up-and-coming doctors and is an Associate Professor at Dalhousie University. His inspiring speech to guests demonstrated what practicing in Fredericton looks like for a new physician, his experiences when he chose Fredericton, and how supported he feels by the community.

The Honourable Bruce Fitch, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Riverview, and Minister of Health welcomed the attendees and shared his thoughts about opportunities for physicians in New Brunswick and encouraged those in attendance to reach out to his team to begin the process of establishing their practice here as he gave a brief greeting. Dr Pete Dickinson spoke next, a family physician from Fredericton with vast experience in varying areas of medicine, he is currently doing clinical office-based family medicine and work in the hospital. He graduated from Dalhousie Medical School and attended the University of Calgary Residency Program. Dr Dickinson was part of the Canadian Armed Forces for 4 years after completing his residency. He is the current Chair-Elect for the department of family medicine and will be the Chair starting this fall. He spoke to the attendees regarding his experience, which inspired the present medical residents and clerkship students. The event was wrapped up with closing remarks from René Boudreau, CEO of the New Brunswick Medical Society.

In addition to the speeches, medical residents and students also enjoyed the opportunity to win door prizes generously donated by sponsors Teed Saunders Doyle, represented by partner Jeff Saunders a past president of the Chamber, Vanguard Legal, represented by partner Stephen Hill also a past president of the Chamber. The Property Ladies represented by owner Fanny Bodart, a Chamber Board Director. The final draw for a pair of Apple Air pods from Northwest Healthcare. Five lucky medical residents and clerkship students left with more than they expected!

The medical residents and clerkship students also received swag bags that were filled with gifts generously donated by chamber members. The bags included more than 20 gift cards/vouchers and various gifts and goodies from chamber businesses giving them a taste of what Fredericton has to offer.

A highlight of the evening was the inclusion of brief guided gallery tours, to encourage guests to come back for the full experience. There was also time to mingle and network while enjoying delicious foods provided by The Crowne Plaza and bar service by The Daily Espresso, the gallery’s café. This way, medical residents and clerkship students were truly introduced to the community and had a chance to interact with community and health care leaders. As an added feature, The City of Fredericton provided a tourism booth to highlight all the events and activities taking place to entice the residents, and Ignite Fredericton provided information on spousal employment support from Ignite’s workforce development team.

It was a lovely evening, and the event demonstrated the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce’s willingness to prioritize member concerns and advocate for them, while also helping future doctors integrate with the community so they feel completely supported during their studies and practice and hopefully, begin their practice here, in the Capital City.

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