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New leader of NWT doctors
Emergency room physician appointed president of NWT Medical Association

Thandiwe Vela
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Northwest Territories Medical Association has appointed Yellowknife Dr. David Pontin as its new president.

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NWT Medical association directors

  • President: Dr. David Pontin
  • Past-president: Dr. Peter McArthur
  • Secretary: Dr. Suraiya Naidoo
  • Treasurer: Dr. Robert Krushel
  • Canadian Medical Association board member: Dr. Ewan Affleck
  • Member-at-large: Dr. Maria Pelova

Source: NWT Medical Association

The emergency room physician succeeds Dr. Peter McArthur, who marked the end of his two-year term as president at Pontin's inauguration Feb. 1, at the association's annual meeting.

McArthur, president of medical staff at Stanton Territorial Hospital, said he's "excited" about Pontin taking the helm of the physician's group.

"He's got lots of enthusiasm, new ideas, he's got a lot of experience, he's been up here for a number of years, and he's already involved in a number of projects that are health-care related," McArthur said. "So he's a very knowledgeable and capable individual."

Pontin, 40, started his career as a rural family physician in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Born in Calgary, he lived in a number of cities across the country including Edmonton, Victoria, and Ottawa, before going to medical school at the University of British Columbia.

He did his residency training at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and graduated in family medicine in 2004, followed by a year of rural family practice, and a fellowship in emergency medicine at UBC.

The married father of two young children has been practising full time at Stanton and North Slave Correctional Centre since 2007.

A volunteer with a number of health-care related boards, including fire and ambulance services, Pontin readily accepted the appointment as NWT Medical Association president.

"It's a nice way to get involved in the community and to get involved in health matters that are important to us as physicians, but more importantly, to patients of the North," he told Yellowknifer.

Health equity, which relates to health on a social and economic level, is an issue of particular importance in the North, Pontin said, and for his tenure as president of the association, members will be asked to select a specific topic or issue that the physicians group could lend its voice to, that will make a difference in addressing health equity, he said.

"The NWTMA is essentially a volunteer organization that runs on volunteer members. Despite that fact, demands are high to address many big public health care needs of our members and our patients," he said. "So what we plan to do in order to effectively carry out that responsibility is focus on one essential issue at a time."

Two highlights during McArthur's term as president of the association were hosting hundreds of physicians from across the country for the Canadian Medical Association's annual general meeting in Yellowknife last year and completing successful physician contract negotiations with the GNWT.

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