Letter from the CPAS President - Dr Simon Whyte
November 9th, 2015
It is a year since I became President of the Canadian Pediatric Anesthesia Society &, with a year of my term to run, I feel I am nowhere near halfway through my to-do list!
Two major structural changes have occupied a large amount of my time so far, both very much ‘behind-the-scenes’ issues & neither seemingly very exciting at first blush, but both have far-reaching implications and present important opportunities for the evolution of CPAS.
The first is that, owing to a federal law change, the Bylaws of non-profit corporations such as CPAS had to be reviewed and revised. Much of this work was done in 2014, with the final approval of our new Bylaws gained by unanimous vote at the Sept 2014 AGM in Montreal. CPAS now has a Board of Directors (‘the Board’), which in turn appoints Officers. For anyone with insomnia, the new 2014 Bylaws accessible on the website, in full legalese.
The second is that the financial affairs of CPAS are now managed independently of those of the CAS. Although this independence was actually at the behest of the CAS, I believe it is timely, as we look at ways to modernise, that CPAS takes the responsibility of managing its own finances. We continue to have a valuable professional working relationship with the CAS office, which currently still manages our membership process & database; & to work collaboratively with the CAS on such matters as pediatric content for the CAS meeting.
CPAS is a small specialist society in a big country. We can’t change geography, but we can try to do something about membership. Currently, less than 50% of specialist pediatric anesthetists in Canada are CPAS members, & almost no trainees, anesthesia assistants or overseas colleagues belong to CPAS. The Board has spent a lot of time discussing the various reasons for this and what might be done to improve matters.
To start with, we are undertaking a wholesale overhaul of the CPAS website – not just content, but technical capability & functionality. We envisage a site that will serve as a truly valuable resource for pediatric anesthetists, with added value for CPAS members. Standalone CPAS membership (separated from CAS membership) will be available, for consultants, trainees & allied health professional who work with us. CPAS meeting registration will move to the website. The world’s first online pediatric anesthesia case reports journal will be hosted here. Pediatric Anesthesia - which will be available to CPAS members at a discounted subscription rate for the first time in 2016 (via the publisher’s website) – will eventually be accessible from the CPAS website. The CPAS listserve will likely be hosted here too. Another ambition is to host Canadian registries for accumulating big data on infrequent morbidities and complications.
All this takes time, effort and money. The classic conundrum of whether to raise dues to fund innovation, or to try to make the changes first, to demonstrate improved value, is relevant. CPAS can fund some of this work from existing revenues, but more members means more ability to bring these ambitions to fruition at less cost per person.
So. If you are already with us – thank you, and please encourage others to join us. If you aren’t yet with us – we’d be delighted to meet you!
Dr Simon Whyte
Chair, Canadian Pediatric Anesthesia Society
Associate Chief, Paediatric Anaesthesia, British Columbia's Children's Hospital
Clinical Associate Professor, University of British Columbia