Getting to know AFMC Board of Directors’ Public Members

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The AFMC’s Board of Directors is constituted of 21 Directors including the Deans of the 17 Faculties of Medicine and four public members. By including members of the public on its Board of Directors, the AFMC benefits from the input of experienced leaders that bring important perspectives for the advancement of academic medicine in Canada. 

We will be featuring AFMC Board’s public members on our newsletters. Read our interview with Brent Norton. 

What sparked your interest in becoming a public member of the AFMC’s Board of Directors?  

I have had a lifelong interest in the further development of medical education, including adding some business courses and technology adoption initiatives to the curriculum. My medical focus has always been on “Driving Medical Innovation” to the marketplace for the health of patients and our economy. The AFMC represents a national platform to have this dialogue and a critical voice with respect to steps required to implement change. 

In your opinion, why is it important to have the perspective of public members on the board?  

Public members bring a wealth of views and experiences that they have accumulated over years from outside the walls of academic medicine. A public member’s perspective is a completely different perspective that can help others see and strategize things from a different angle. As such, having this diversity is critically important. 

What do you see as the biggest challenges for academic medicine in Canada? 

The most topical and relevant challenge relates to increasing the number of physicians, particularly in family medicine. Another critical issue is addressing the changes that need to be implemented in order to drive research towards innovation so that we capture more of the economic benefits of our discoveries, thus helping justify and fund our ever-increasing healthcare spend. 

What work being undertaken by the AFMC brings you excitement or joy?  

The recent repositioning of research to include the concept and language of “Innovation” rings music to my ears. Adding language to our position papers and daily speak that talks about the Health “and Wealth” of Canadians or For the Health of Canadians “and Our Economy” is a step I never expected but is a very exciting starting point. Being a part of moving this agenda forward is not only personally satisfying but fulfills my dream of being a doctor who instead of helping one patient at a time or focusing on research, has the potential to have an impact on many. 

Headshot of Brent Norton

Brent Norton is an accomplished business leader with experience across several successful enterprises which have achieved significant product sales, returns for investors and positively impacted hundreds of thousands of lives. He has been an active member of several boards of directors and an active volunteer.