Dr. Lisa Calder, CEO, CMPA on supporting physicians in challenging times: “We hear you and we’re here for you.”


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In this episode we’re speaking with Dr. Lisa Calder, CEO of the Canadian Medical Protective Association, known as the CMPA. She stepped into the role in August last year and is the CMPA’s first female CEO.

Dr. Calder studied medicine at the University of Western Ontario and did an Emergency Medicine residency at the University of Ottawa. She has a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology and was an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa in the Department of Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Calder pursued her passion for patient safety by completing two additional fellowships: the Patient Safety Fellowship in Emergency Medicine from the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine and the Emergency Medicine Patient Safety Foundation, and the American Hospital Association’s Fellowship in Patient Safety Leadership.

She spent more than a decade practising as an emergency physician before joining the CMPA in 2015 as the Director of Medical Care Analytics.

When Covid 19 hit, Dr. Calder and her leadership team moved quickly, using a variety of tools to support their physician members during this tumultuous year. She credits her own experience as an emergency physician for teaching her disaster training and how to live with unpredictability.

Today Dr. Calder says the mission of the CMPA has never been more important - to protect the professional integrity of physicians and promote the safety of medical care.


“There are things that we can see that are right in front of us, and are being reported in terms of numbers, but there are impacts that are more subtle – on our well-being, on the way we work together, and those are the ones that I find tricky to put my finger on and understand.” – LC

“We have a phone line which is available to our membership and we receive up to 200 calls a day from our physicians asking for advice.” – LC

“We’re always, when we look at medico-legal data looking back in time. We’re limited by what’s actually documented and that’s a significant limitation because we know that a lot happens in the moment when physicians are making critical decisions that does not get documented.” – LC

“I’ve seen a real shift, which I think is hugely positive to a more of a personal tone to the communication, more of a ‘sharing struggles’ and a willingness to be humble and authentic on the part of leaders.” – LC

“I want to know from employees, what does it mean when we say ‘We are here for you? What does that translate for you in tangible terms in your day-to-day work?’” – LC

“I’m fiercely protective of my lunch break every day. I need time away from my computer and I use that time to go for a quick walk around the block and then to meditate.” – LC

“At HIROC we introduced the Collision Chats, where we pair up staff randomly and they meet up for 5-10 minutes and that’s a way of having those hallways conversations online if possible.” – PAD

“The challenges ahead for the healthcare system are huge and so we will need more collaborative approaches to address these. I don’t think siloing organizations – everyone doing their own thing –is going to advance us where we need to be.” – LC

Mentioned in this Episode:


University of Ottawa – Faculty of Medicine

Dr. Mamta Gautam

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