Thursday, March 26, 2009



Conference date and location: Saturday, March 28, 2009, Innis College, 2 Sussex Avenue, University of Toronto

Toronto, March 26, 2009 – The future health professionals of Canada have noticed an unjustifiable gap in their education - the discussion of Medicare and its merits. Despite being the place where we are trained to be the fair and equitable front line workers and policy makers in the public health care system, the virtues of Medicare rarely enter the classroom.

Students for Medicare, whose mandate is to strongly advocate for our public health care system, has come together to host a stimulating day-long conference. Experts on Medicare will educate the future generation about the value of our public system and will refute common arguments placed against it with solid evidence. There will also be discussion about problems with the system and solutions that can arise from within the public system without turning to privatization.

Distinguished speakers include Dr. Pat Armstrong, CIHR Chair in Health Service and Nursing Research at York University, Natalie Mehra, Director of the Ontario Health Coalition, Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull, president-elect of the Canadian Medical Association, Doris Grinspun, Executive Director of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, Dr. Gordon Guyatt, Founding Member of the Medical Reform Group, and Dr. Danielle Martin, Founder and Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. The conference has gained unprecedented attention with over 200 registrants and many more on a waiting list.

The conference, being held in collaboration with the Ontario Health Coalition, Medical Reform Group, Canadian Doctors for Medicare and other organizations is being held in memorium to honour the life and work of Dr. Mimi Divinsky, a passionate advocate for the defense of a publicly funded health care system. Mimi understood the vital fight for medicare, saying in 1992: “Once again we face what we have fought so hard to prevent – a two-tiered medical care system in which the wealthy have continued access and those who cannot afford to pay are denied,” a message which is as relevant in 2009 as it was during her life.

The target audience includes both health professional students with limited prior knowledge on the issue, as well as those who are informed but lacking in information regarding tangible ways to get involved. Conference goals are education, skill building, networking and action.

Students for Medicare began as group of nursing students at Ryerson University in association with the Ontario Health Coalition, and has quickly grown to include medical students and residents, social work students, health policy students and many more. Their mission is to reach students as well as the public to educate about and strongly advocate for Medicare. As the future doctors, nurses and health policy makers of the country, they strongly believe that the solutions for health care lie within the public system originally envisioned by Tommy Douglas and his eventual plan for a second stage of Medicare. They also have a strong commitment to equity and highlighting the importance of the social determinants in health outcomes.

Students for Medicare is a group of Canadian health care students who have joined on a mission to educate about and advocate for Medicare.

Contact:, or Dr. Ritika Goel, 416 890 7489 for more information.