He’s a no-nonsense, tough talker when it comes to injury prevention and health promotion. And, now, Louis Hugo Francescutti is taking his talk to a new audience. He was recently named president-elect of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) at its annual meeting.
As a practicing clinician, he is well aware of how high an honour this position is within the medical community—but it is Francescutti’s unique position in both the medical and public health communities that he believes will bring refreshing new ideas to the CMA.
Preventing illness and protecting health are things Francescutti is familiar with. As a physician and professor with the School of Public Health, he has made it his mission to raise awareness of public safety and to promote injury prevention. In addition to his role educating tomorrow’s public health leaders, he currently works at the Royal Alexandra Hospital as an emergency and preventative medicine physician. It is there that he has witnessed the impact of preventable injuries.
Now, Francescutti is ready to move beyond injury prevention to things like the social determinants of health and health inequities across Canada.
“The timing around these conversations is important right now,” says Francescutti. “Social determinants of health and health equity got a resounding reception at the CMA conference.”
“What we want to do is get the public to engage in discussion on strategies and understand what is done in public health.”
As the Canadian Medical Association continues to name topics that encompass public health, Francescutti believes the School has the opportunity to be at the forefront of these issues, showcasing how education and experience mesh with public health reality and align with the priorities of the Canadian Medical Association.
In Francescutti’s opinion, by offering courses in social determinants of health and preventative medicine, the School teaches the skill sets needed to tackle these important issues. Case in point, Francescutti is currently teaching graduate students how to advocate and promote the development of healthy public policies.
“Our health care system is very good at treating health problems as they come in,” he continues. “But we need more physicians to enroll in public health master’s degree programs, so that we can prevent illness and injury before they happen.”
“The interest is there. I’m in the right position, and together we can capitalize on the opportunities.”
In 2010, Louis Hugo Francescutti became president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.