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The Highs and Lows of Medical Cannabis

The Highs and Lows of Medical Cannabis

Tune in for a live-stream debate hosted by the College of Family Physicians of Canada on Tuesday, October 16th at 12:00-1:00 pm ET.

This Group Learning program has been certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada for up to 1 Mainpro+ credit.

Dr. Mel Kahan, family physician at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto and a non-supporter of prescribing medical cannabis will defend his position against Dr. Mark Ware, family physician from Montreal and Chief Medical Officer of Canopy Growth Corporation, a leading provider of medical and recreational cannabis.

The event will be moderated by Dr. Michael Allan, the CFPC’s Director, Programs and Practice Support.

Please join us for this lively debate on a controversial topic the day before recreational cannabis becomes legal in Canada!

A link to join the live-stream debate is available on the CFPC member dashboard.

The YouTube event is best viewed using Chrome or Firefox browsers.

If you are a CFPC member and are unavailable to join the live -stream event, the debate will be recorded and a link will be shared on the CFPC member dashboard.

Tools and Supports for Primary Care

In 2017, the ACFP with their collaboration with the PEER group, published three Tools for Practice articles.

Simplified guideline for prescribing medical cannabinoids in primary care

Objective To develop a clinical practice guideline for a simplified approach to medical cannabinoid use in primary care; the focus was on primary care application, with a strong emphasis on best available evidence and a promotion of shared, informed decision making.

The Evidence Review Group performed a detailed systematic review of 4 clinical areas with the best evidence around cannabinoids: pain, nausea and vomiting, spasticity, and adverse events. Nine health professionals (2 generalist family physicians, 2 pain management–focused family physicians, 1 inner-city family physician, 1 neurologist, 1 oncologist, 1 nurse practitioner, and 1 pharmacist) and a patient representative comprised the Prescribing Guideline Committee (PGC), along with 2 nonvoting members (pharmacist project managers). Member selection was based on profession, practice setting, location, and lack of financial conflicts of interest.

The guideline process was iterative through content distribution, evidence review, and telephone and online meetings. The PGC directed the Evidence Review Group to address and provide evidence for additional questions as needed. The key recommendations were derived through consensus of the PGC. The guideline was drafted, refined, and distributed to a group of clinicians and patients for feedback, then refined again and finalized by the PGC.

Now Certified! PEIP is over 75% sold out!

The PEIP Conference has sold out every year!

Don’t miss your opportunity to join ACFP and the PEER team this October for the popular PEIP Conference in Edmonton. Register today and save before prices increase on September 29.

Registrations are available online only and the deadline for registrations is October 12, 2018.


Session Spotlight: Begone Evidence Nihilist: Some primary care interventions that really work

Sometimes, in trying to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of evidence, we have to spend so much time debunking exaggerated claims of effectiveness that we forget about all of the advances we’ve made and continue to make in modern medicine. This talk will review some of the greatest medical achievements in terms of prolonging human life, why they’re still so important, and the interventions we are making now that not only prolong life, but quality of life.

Planning committee member, Tony Nickonchuk, closes this year’s conference on a happy note: What you’re doing does make a difference!

Session Spotlight: It’s Okay to Get ANALgesic About Pain: Non-opioid solutions for chronic pain

Treatment of chronic pain can sometimes feel like running around in circles, leading us to question if we are doing the right thing. This talk will review what evidence currently out there for chronic pain which, we hope, will confirm that you’re on the right track or affect your current approach to managing pain.

Our newest planning committee member, Danielle Perry, and team member Joey Ton, keep it pain-free during this session on the evidence in chronic pain and the struggles encountered with interpretation.


Earn Up to 13.0 Credits!

This Group Learning program has been certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Alberta Chapter for up to 13.0 Mainpro+ credits.

Please note: You must attend both the pre-conference workshop and the full conference to be eligible for the full 13.0 credits.


Accommodations at the DoubleTree by Hilton West Edmonton

Reserve a room before Thursday, October 4 to take advantage of the conference rate. When booking your accommodations, please reference “PEC” or book online now.

Enhancements to Engage Primary Care, ACFP’s Leader Registry

Alberta’s health care system is constantly evolving and primary care is being asked more and more to provide advice and input on these changes.

To ensure the voice of family physicians is heard when these requests come in, we have created the Engage Primary Care portal–a way to link requesters to those physicians who want to be engaged. In order for it to be a success, though, we need you!

Taking 10 minutes of your time to fill out the family physician engagement form helps us identify the leaders within our communities–those physicians who want to have some sort of an impact or a voice in how primary care works in Alberta. Whether you want to be on province-wide committees or would rather complete an occasional survey, whether you have a specific clinical interest or have some non-clinical ideas you’d like to share, we want you to be part of our Leadership Registry.

Have you already filled out the form and been engaged? We’d still like to hear from you as we have added some more questions to the registry. Contact Adam at either or 587-525-8440 to update your information.

Engage Primary Care is a partnership between the Alberta College of Family Physicians, the Alberta Medical Association, Alberta Health Services, the Strategic Clinical Networks™ and the Primary Care Alliance.

Call for Volunteers!

Student Information Sessions at the University of Alberta

Once a year the ACFP organizes a student-family physician meet and greet luncheon or dinner. The event provides a great opportunity for students to meet and speak with practising family physicians. The informal setting is the perfect place for students to ask doctors the really tough questions.

Call for Volunteers: Edmonton and Area Doctors and Residents!

Share Your Passion for Family Medicine and Volunteer at Our Student Information Sessions.
The Alberta College of Family Physicians (ACFP) will be hosting an evening information session for first- and second-year medical students at the University of Alberta on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 5:15pm. We are looking for volunteers located from communities in northern Alberta, including Red Deer.

ACFP’s Student Information Sessions at the University of Alberta

5:15pm – 8pm, Tuesday, October 30, 2018 (dinner will be provided)

Katz Centre for Pharmacy and Health at the University of Alberta

How It Works
A physician and/or resident will be assigned a room with a small group students (approximately eight to 10 students/group) for dinner. This will provide an opportunity for medical students to meet with family physicians and residents in an informal, relaxed, and interactive manner to ask questions about careers in family practice and/or family medicine residency. There is no set agenda and the discussion will be based on the questions the students have for you. All we request is that you share with students your perspective about and passion for family medicine.

Why We Need You
Evaluations from previous sessions have been very positive and this event helps to develop student awareness about the scope, diversity, and benefits of choosing a career in family practice.

Sign Up Now
For more information or to sign up as a volunteer, contact Susan Soufi at (780) 701-9716 or by email.

Important HIV PrEP update: No cost for high-risk individuals

On October 1, Alberta will make generic versions of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) available at no cost to individuals at high risk of HIV acquisition.

In order for a client to be covered, the medication must be prescribed by health professionals who have demonstrated specific knowledge in HIV prevention, and have registered with Alberta Health Services as a Designated PrEP Prescriber.

PrEP Prescriber Status Form

If you are physician or other health professional with specific knowledge in HIV prevention and are interested in becoming a Designated PrEP Prescriber, please fill out the Application for Designated PrEP Prescriber Status form.

Visit the AHS website for more information including the list of designated prescribers, treatment eligibility and PrEP guidelines.

Interested in learning more about prescribing HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)?

AHS will deliver a number of webinars to assist physicians in making this transition.

Prescribing HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) AHS Module
Learning Objectives:

  • On completion of this module, participants will be able to:
  • Understand and describe the key eligibility criteria for PrEP
  • Describe key components required to safely prescribe PrEP
  • Describe key components to monitoring a patient on PrEP
  • Indicate the rationale for referral to a specialist
  • Identify how to safely discontinue PrEP

Webinar Dates

  • November 8 at noon
  • November 26 and 28


Lindsay Bertholet, Director of STI Services
Communicable Disease Control Population, Public & Indigenous Health, Alberta Health Services

Working Together for Healthy Aging in Alberta: Seniors Forum Recommendations

It is with great pleasure that we share the ACFP’s Seniors Policy Paper – Working Together for Healthy Aging in Alberta: Seniors Forum Recommendations.

The work is the thoughtful collation of recommendations identified at the ACFP’s Seniors Care Forum in 2014.

Seniors Care Forum participants included key stakeholders interested in building partnerships focused on providing and improving seniors care.

Led by our Advisory Committee on Seniors Care, the forum provided a catalyst for positive change and a foundational approach to collaboration, producing the Alberta Seniors Care Coalition.

The ACFP played an instrumental role in guiding ASCC work, taking on the role of Secretariat for two years and delivering a CPD conference—Seniors Care Conference in 2015.

The ACFP is very proud of this Policy Paper and would like to personally thank Sharon Nickel for taking this task on and delivering such a strong publication.

We would also like to thank the Seniors Forum participants, Alberta Seniors Care Coalition members, and past-Chair, Dr. Marjan Abassi for their leadership and commitment.

CPSA Council Update: Standards Clarify Boundaries and Practice Responsibilities

Doctors across Alberta should familiarize themselves with these two recently amended standards of practice, approved by the CPSA Council after an extensive consultation process:

  • Boundary Violations (formerly Sexual Boundary Violations) adds new expectations around non-clinical relationships with patients and learners (e.g., personal, social, business, financial), as well as prohibiting the sexualization of physician-patient relationships.
  • Responsibility for a Medical Practice defines what the College holds physicians accountable for in various practice arrangements and should be priority reading for every Alberta physician.

The standards took effect on July 1, 2018.

The Council has also adopted a Statement of Principles on sexual misconduct by physicians. This statement calls for stricter sanctions when physicians are found to have engaged in sexual misconduct and increased transparency around discipline decisions.

“The public’s expectations are changing and we’re changing with them,” said Council President Kate Wood. “The Minister of Health supports both these directions. We share the same goal: to make sure every patient feels safe seeing a doctor, and to maintain the confidence of all Albertans in the medical profession.”

Questions? Email Chantelle Dick, CPSA Standards of Practice Coordinator.

Registration is now open!

Don’t delay, register for PEIP today!

Pre-conference session confirmed!

We have added a new pre-conference session to this year’s conference line up. Led by Dr. Christy Sutherland (Vancouver inner-city harm reduction), participants will be provided strategies for identifying and evaluating patients in their practices with opioid use disorder, implementing and initiating therapy (including opioid agonist therapies), and providing ongoing treatment in the primary care setting. Participants will also enjoy the opportunity to learn from local family physician leaders—Drs. Jessica Kirkwood and Cathy Scrimshaw—in the field during this three (3) hour workshop on Friday morning. This program aims to inform participants of best practices and local resources that will allow them to optimize care for patients with opioid use disorder. (Space for this workshop is limited and available in-person only.)

2018 Conference topics include:

In addition to the popular What’s New, What’s True, What’s Poo? session, this year’s topics include:

  • Best Tips for New Moms
  • Biologics and Biosimilars
  • Diabetes Medications Update
  • Driving in the Elderly and Medically-at-Risk
  • Fatty Liver
  • Medical Oncology
  • Pearls for Primary Care in: Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, Palliative Care, Rheumatology, and Urology
  • Top 5 Non-Opioid Solutions for Chronic Pain
  • Vascular Surgery
  • VTE Prophylaxis
  • What We Do in Medicine That Works!

Notice to Members

Dear Members,

The Alberta College of Family Physicians is shocked and saddened by the criminal charges against Dr. Fred Janke announced today.

Effectively immediately, Dr. Vishal Bhella (President-Elect) has assumed the role of President, Alberta College of Family Physicians.

Please be assured that our focus remains on operations and to provide programs and services to our valued Members.

Due to the gravity of this matter, we will not be available for further comment in the immediate timeframe. However, as this matter develops, we shall communicate with our members and stakeholders in a transparent manner and in keeping with our commitment to good governance.

Ms. Terri Potter, PMP, CAE
Executive Director, Alberta College of Family Physicians


Innovation in Primary Care: Caring for Unattached and Marginalized Patients

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) is pleased to share a new issue in its Innovation in Primary Care series that focuses on caring for unattached and marginalized patients across a range of social circumstances.

Case studies are featured from Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, and Quebec.

The CFPC and its Advisory Committee on Family Practice developed the Innovation in Primary Care series to give individuals and teams opportunities to showcase innovations in care that they have introduced in their local jurisdictions of practice and to open the possibility of scaling up these ideas.

The series supports collaboration and learning among Chapters and among family physicians across the country by sharing local approaches to health care that are working well.

If you have an innovative model or practice that you would like to submit, or if you would like to provide feedback on the series, please send an email to:

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