By Craig Baird
This coming year, Dr. Clare Kozroski, who has called Gull Lake home for 15 years, will be representing not only the area but the entire province as the new president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA). Dr. Kozroski, who is the 47th president of the organization, succeeds Dr. Janet Shannon.
The road to being elected was a long one for Dr. Kozroski.
“You start off by being a representative to the assembly, so I started representing the Cypress Health Region. Then you go to the meetings of all the doctors, like a Parliament of Medicine,” Dr. Kozroski said. “Once I was there, I did my usual job of listening and bringing back news and participating.”
While at one of these, Dr. Kozroski heard a speaker refer to rural medicine as soul crushing. After spending so many years in Gull Lake, Dr. Kozroski stood up to defend rural practicing.
“I said that my children are thriving here and my soul was quite intact,” Dr. Kozroski said. “I guess people took notice and I was asked to be on the board and I finally said yes.”
Dr. Kozroski never thought of herself as a a political person but she soon found that the path could be rewarding.
“I found it really rewarding to talk to people who make the decisions that change how we work on a day-to-day basis,” Dr. Kozroski said. “I think people trust me and know that I am going to be honest and that I am not in it for the prestige.”
Raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Dr. Kozroski obtained her degree in Medicine from the University of Western Ontario. Completing her medical residency at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Dr. Kozroski found herself practicing throughout eastern Canada for six years before coming out west in 1998 to the Canadian Forces in Edmonton, before settling in Gull Lake that same year.
“I have always wanted to help and I know that sounds naive. I always wanted to do something that would make a different,” Dr. Kozroski said. “There is nothing more significant than if people are alive or not. Since I was a little girl, I had been fascinated with anatomy as well.”
As president, Dr. Kozroski will serve as the face and voice of doctors in Saskatchewan, while also representing Saskatchewan with the Canadian Medical Association.
She also has several goals for the year ahead.
“Right now there is health care transformation happening. There is a lot of urgency for that because of financial constraints. We physicians need to really participate in the process of change so that we can get high-quality but sustainable health care in Saskatchewan,” Dr. Kozroski said. “I will be part of many of the Ministry of Health initiatives for change. I would like to cooperate with the transformation of the system with more patients entered. We need patients first care.”