The Royal College National Specialty Societies Conference Series

Since 2008, the Royal College and the NSS have engaged in important discussions at the annual Human Resources for Health (HRH) Dialogue and Specialty Medicine Summit. The two-part meeting has looked at various issues affecting specialty medicine including assessment, MOC policies, certification, and workforce planning topics such as employment, duty hours and scopes of practice.

Given the increasing amount of work being done by both the Royal College and a number of NSS in the area of medical workforce planning, and the breadth of issues and topics related to specialty medicine in general, the Royal College is now holding two separate meetings with NSS in 2016.

2018 Human Resources for Health Dialogue

The program for the December 2018 HRH Dialogue was co-developed with the newly formed Specialty Workforce Collaborative (SWC). The formation of a collaborative was proposed during the 2017 HRH Dialogue to support national specialty societies (NSS) and other organizations to advance medical workforce research and proactively address workforce-related challenges. The outcomes-oriented program was designed to advance action in the following areas:

  • Enhancing the relevance and standards of health workforce data
  • Advancing full-time equivalent (FTE) methodologies
  • Expanding and building on needs-based planning
  • Exploring solutions related to employment for newly-certified specialists

Meeting Report

2017 Human Resources for Health Dialogue

The 2017 HRH Dialogue continued the conversation of the 2016 HRH Dialogue and focused on the challenges associated with understanding and planning a medical workforce capable of meeting patients’ specialized health care needs. Common themes emerged such as the multiplicity of data sources with varying comprehensiveness and accuracy, FTE measurement variability, lack of data on population needs, among many others. This then led into the afternoon discussions surrounding the creation of a Specialty Workforce Collaborative (SWC) to support NSS and others in gathering data and conducting workforce research.

Presentations (in English only):

CAPER (Canadian Post-MD Education Registry) Discover trends gleaned from CAPER and employment data. (Note: This presentation includes an update from the Physician Resource Planning Advisory Committee) [PDF]
Canadian Rheumatology Association Gain insights into the 2015 study “Stand up and be counted.” Findings include that we are currently short rheumatologists and that this shortage may worsen in the next 10 years. [PDF]
Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians Check out key findings from The Collaborative Working Group on the Future of Emergency Medicine in Canada. Included are a profile of EM physicians, their distribution and staffing shortfalls. [PDF]
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Understand the specific challenges encountered when seeking reliable sources for data on human resources in this specialty area. Some recommended next steps are also presented. [PDF]
Canadian Institute for Health Information If you like math, the statistical approach presented in these slides will be of interest. It was generated to better profile physician scopes of practice and practice patterns. [PDF]

Meeting Report

Terms of Reference for the Specialty Workforce Collaborative

2016 Specialty Medicine Summit, December 12 2016

What matters to Canada’s National Specialty Societies. We asked that question of National Specialty Societies and built a program around their answers.

Summit objectives:

  • Explore collaborations on medical workforce issues
  • Find answers to questions about “Competence by Design” for medical training and continuing professional development
  • Learn from a parliamentarian about effective advocacy and successful strategies to engage with decision makers
  • Discuss the role of specialists in regards to end of life care
  • Discuss if we should reinstitute the Specialist Forum


  1. Palliative Care: It’s MY Responsibility, Dr. David Carroll
  2. Palliative Care In Respirology, Dr. Shalini Nayar

2016 Human Resources for Health Dialogue

The 2016 HRH Dialogue opened a new conversation among medical workforce leaders within NSS and government. Participants learned how jurisdictions establish priorities and make decisions while exploring new opportunities for collaboration in support of improved decision-making and planning.


  1. Pediatric Dermatology – Specialty Workforce Analysis

2014 Human Resources for Health Dialogue and Specialty Medicine Summit

The 2014 Human Resources for Health (HRH) Dialogue and Specialty Medicine Summit was the seventh event held in this annual discussion series between the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (Royal College) and the National Specialty Societies (NSS). The HRH dialogue on Day 1 continued the discussion on the issue of physician employment and highlighted activities being undertaken by the NSS and others to advance physician workforce planning. The Day 2 Summit focused on a variety of issues including the Royal College’s research on physician safety, innovations in the area of quality improvement, and the Royal College’s Competence by Design and Maintenance of Certification programs.

2013 Royal College National Specialty Society Human Resources for Health Dialogue and Specialty Medicine Summit

The afternoon session focused on changing scopes of practice. Participants identified issues surrounding changing scopes of practice within specialty medicine and other health professions, workforce planning and the health system in general. This discussion paper captures some of the salient insights shared by participants, which may fuel potential areas of collaborative action for the Royal College and the NSS to pursue moving forward.

2012 Human Resources for Health Conference and Specialty Medicine Summit

Delegates from National Specialty Societies and various stakeholder organizations examined the results of the Royal College’s employment study and delved into strategies to help ensure that our physicians and surgeons are meaningfully employed. The December 4th Specialty Medicine Summit examined critical questions around the future of specialty medicine; will physicians and surgeons still have work, who will be doing what and how, and how must the medical profession adapt?

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