Anesthesiologist, Dr. Alika Lafontaine, has been named the first Indigenous president-elect of the Canadian Medical Association. Lafontaine is also the first president-elect of the CMA to be of Pacific Islander lineage. Prior to his nomination, Lafontaine served as co-leader of the Indigenous Health Alliance from 2013 to 2017. He currently practices anesthesiology in Grande Prairie, Alberta.
Lafontaine grew up in Treaty 4 territory in the southern part of Saskatchewan. As a child, Lafontaine says that he was labeled as developmentally delayed by his teachers, who didn’t think he would graduate high school. According to Lafontaine, that was the moment he developed his determination to succeed.
Lafontaine is the son of Manusiu, a Pacific Islands immigrant, and Christopher, and a university instructor of Cree and Anishinaabe lineage. Lafontaine credits his parents and their support as a key element of his current success.
Lafontaine wishes to help others and fight for those dealing with systemic racism in his field. Lafontaine and his brother, dentist Dr. Kamea Lafontaine, launched Safespace. It’s a website and app where patients can anonymously report when they feel they have been victims of racism by those in charge of their medical care.
The Canadian Medical Association will meet later this month to ratify Lafontaine’s nomination. He is expected to officially begin his presidency in August 2022.
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