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 Foluke Laosebikan.

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

The two most significant factors that ignited my interest in becoming a public member of the AFMC’s Board are: (1) my background in academia and (2) family ties in the field of medicine. My parents were educators- my late father was a retired Professor of Pediatrics, and my mother is a retired high school principal. I was drawn to education and academia early in life. I saw enough medical textbooks and lecture notes being reviewed and watched my father practice medicine sufficiently to know the hard work, dedication, perseverance, and sacrifice required to qualify and to practice as a physician. Given this background in academia and affiliation and respect for medicine, the opportunity to serve as a public member of the AFMC’s Board of Directors called to me.

In your opinion, why is it important to have the perspective of public members on the board?
Public board members and their perspectives serve to boost board efficiency, enhance public relations and public confidence and provide the opportunity for board accountability. With respect to efficiency, user feedback from public members can be utilized to make modifications for increased efficiency. Regarding public relations and public confidence, the perspectives of public members can reveal public sentiment; the impact on the public of a proposed or actual course of action; or potential blind spots in service delivery which may be hidden to practitioners and/or service providers, but visible to end users. Listening and responding to the concerns of the public expressed through public members enhances public relations and engenders public confidence in the healthcare delivery system and the officials and organizations administering the services.

On accountability, as the voice of the non-physician populace, public members provide the board the opportunity to demonstrate accountability to the non-physician populace at a micro level by providing relevant information and clarification regarding policies affecting the populace.

What do you see as the biggest challenges for academic medicine in Canada?
In my view, the longstanding shortage of doctors in Canada constitutes a significant challenge for academic medicine in Canada. I live in rural Saskatchewan, and I am aware that in many rural and remote communities, the supply of Canadian-trained doctors has not caught up with demand. I am also well-aware that the ongoing shortage of healthcare providers is not just a rural and remote issue, but also affects urban locations, thus emphasizing the magnitude of the challenge. Although this challenge will require input from other stakeholders including the government, it is my view that academic medicine is uniquely placed to play a pivotal and leadership role in addressing this challenge.

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

I attended this year’s AFMC International Congress on Academic Medicine (Quebec City – April 2023) and I found the large number of attendees, the quality of participation, the consistent buzz of post-session networking, the depth, breadth and width of research knowledge, innovation and experience shared by the speakers, all stimulating. Altogether, I found the conference exciting and I am already looking forward to the next one! 

It has been a pleasure being on the board in this one year!

Dr. Foluke Laosebikan is a Solicitor from Melfort, Saskatchewan, where she founded her own legal practice, FLK Law Firm. She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1995 and to the Saskatchewan Bar in 2011. Originally from Nigeria, Dr. Laosebikan immigrated to Canada in 2004. Since then, she has been a dedicated volunteer, sitting on the board of directors of Collaborative Professionals of Saskatchewan for several years and on the Board of the Law Society of Saskatchewan where she has served as a Bencher since 2017 and has participated in and chaired various committees.