World Medical Association elects Canadian President for 2009/10

Dr. Dana Hanson, a dermatologist from New Brunswick in Canada, has been elected President of the World Medical Association for 2009/10, the first Canadian to be elected President for almost 40 years.

He was elected unopposed at the WMA's annual General Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, and takes office in a year's time.

Dr. Hanson, a former president of the Canadian Medical Association, has practiced as a dermatologist in Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick, since 1980.

He said he planned to focus his Presidency on advocacy, both for patients and physicians, and on health and the environment.

‘I look forward to advocating vigorously for access to health care for patients worldwide, regardless of race, gender or socio economic status. The right to health is a basic human right which must be recognised and defended. The shortage of over 4.4 million healthcare workers around the world is a major factor limiting access and must be addressed immediately.

‘Another area is climate change which is a growing global concern. We as physicians have a role to play by informing the public of medical evidence of the effects that environmental changes have on individual health and population health and how to address or prevent them.’

Health and the environment will be the topic of the WMA's scientific session when it holds its annual General Assembly in Vancouver, Canada in 2010.

The last Canadian President was Dr Arthur Peart, secretary general of the Canadian Medical Association, in 1971.

Dr. Yoram Blachar, President of the Israel Medical Association, took over this week as WMA President for 2008/9.