Ontario College of Family Physicians Welcomes the Organization’s 64th President
New President installed at critical point in Ontario healthcare crisis
(TORONTO) Sept. 29, 2022 – Dr. Mekalai Kumanan has been announced as President of the Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP), representing 15,000 family doctors from across the province.
A family physician in Cambridge, Dr. Kumanan has served this community for the past 14 years. She is also the first person of colour to be selected for this important leadership role with the OCFP in the organization’s 68-year history.
Dr. Kumanan’s leadership comes at a time when Ontario’s healthcare system is in crisis, which includes family doctors. Currently, 1.8 million Ontarians do not have a family doctor – that number could reach 3 million in the next three years.
“We’ve reached a crisis in primary care, and at this time, advocacy is critical,” said Dr. Kumanan. “The voice of family doctors needs to be heard so that we can begin to work toward a future in which all Ontarians have a family doctor.”
Dr. Kumanan lives in Kitchener and practices family medicine at the Cambridge Health Link, Two Rivers Family Health Team. Over the years she has seen the impact of the family doctor shortage that is being experienced across Ontario.
As OCFP President, Dr. Kumanan will support the organization’s efforts to advocate for family physicians to ensure they thrive in the communities in which they serve. Dr. Kumanan brings an equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) lens to the position, in part informed by her experiences as a woman of colour – an underrepresented perspective in health leadership. She is committed to supporting the OCFP in prioritizing EDI across family medicine in Ontario.
“I am eager to champion the OCFP’s work in equity, diversity and inclusivity. This will allow us to better understand who our members are and how we can engage and support them,” she said.
Dr. Kumanan grew up in Nova Scotia after immigrating to Canada at a young age. She completed her undergraduate degree, Masters of Health Administration, and her medical degree at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. She then completed her Family Medicine Residency at the University of Western Ontario in 2008.
Dr. Kumanan works closely with the Cambridge North Dumfries Ontario Health Team as a member of the Steering Committee and the Primary Care Collaborative. She is the current Chief of Family and Community Medicine at the Cambridge Memorial Hospital. She’s been a member of the OCFP Board since 2017 and was installed as President-Elect in 2020.
“Dr. Kumanan is a dedicated family physician with a deep commitment to supporting her peers across Ontario,” said OCFP CEO Kimberly Moran. “At a time when so many family doctors are struggling to keep up with patient needs, Dr. Kumanan brings a strong voice, not only to help us raise awareness on the issues family doctors face, but to develop meaningful solutions to support them.”
Dr. Kumanan assumes the presidency from Dr. Liz Muggah, of Ottawa, who has led the organization for the last two years. With an emphasis on regular communication, Dr. Muggah ensured that family doctors were provided with up-to-date information and guidance related to the COVID-19 response. Dr. Muggah has been a strong advocate for family physician involvement in vaccination planning to ensure an equitable roll-out.
“Family doctors across Ontario are the foundation of our healthcare system, and it has been an honour to serve and represent them,” said Dr. Muggah. “Dr. Kumanan will be a strong leader for the OCFP as we address the pressing challenges family doctors are facing today.”
Dr. Kumanan officially becomes President during a ceremony in Toronto on September 29.
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About the Ontario College of Family Physicians
The OCFP represents more than 15,000 family doctors who support Ontarians in both urban and rural communities in our province. Our members have direct insight into the unique healthcare needs of Ontario’s varying populations. With their guidance, and together with our family physician members, the OCFP has developed three overarching solutions for Ontario parties to implement post-election that will increase access to care for more Ontarians.
Manager, Communications, OCFP