Reflecting on mentorship, leadership and passion: Dr. Geneviève Moineau

Faculty of Medicine

By Tiffany Barnes-Huggins

Marketing & Communications Officer | Agente de marketing et de la communication, Faculty of Medicine

Picture of Dr. Moineau with quote that says: "Reflect on what you're passionate about and what makes your blood boil because that's the stuff that is probably worth focusing on. That is what will keep you interested in your work for years to come.” – Geneviève Moineau, uOttawa Faculty of Medicine professor, and newly-elected vice president of the World Federation for Medical Education.
Faculty of Medicine professor and alumna, Dr. Geneviève Moineau, was recently elected vice-president of the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME), taking office on January 1, 2023. We caught up with Dr. Moineau to learn about her upcoming role and her leadership journey throughout her career.

Tell me a bit about your role with AFMC?

I am currently the president and CEO of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), where I have worked for the past 10 years. I will be finishing my term at the AFMC at the end of June 2023.

Before becoming President and CEO with AFMC, I worked as their VP Education and was Secretary to the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools and the Committee on the Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education. I have been a faculty member at uOttawa since 1992, practicing Pediatric Emergency Medicine at the CHEO, and between 2005-2011, I was associate dean, Undergraduate Medical Education.

What has been the most rewarding part of your work?

The most rewarding part of my role with the AFMC has been to continue to work on what I'm most passionate about which is supporting learners, teachers, medical students, residents, and graduate students within our faculties, and those who support them. That includes the leadership within the Faculty of Medicine all the way up to each of our 17 deans across the country. AFMC is the voice of academic medicine in Canada and through our collective leadership and advocacy, we strive to achieve excellence in education, research and care for the health of all Canadians.

As president and CEO, I support the board which is comprised of the deans of the 17 faculties of medicine in Canada. We also have four public members of which one is a learner. In this role, I've really been able to continue to do what's most important to me in my professional career. We are engaged in activities to support education, research, and the overall social accountability of our faculties of medicine. It's really been a privilege to serve in this role.

Dr. Genevieve Moineau wearing scrubs at a hospital.
Dr. Geneviève Moineau practices Pediatric Emergency Medicine at the CHEO.

How did your studies/work in the Faculty of Medicine at uOttawa contribute to your leadership journey?

Well, I think what's been really incredible is that this core passion of mine, to try to improve medical education and the medical education experience for our learners, has really been my north star throughout my career. I started off focusing on that as a professor in the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at uOttawa and as an associate dean of Undergraduate Medical Education at uOttawa, and this carried over to my work as VP of Education at AFMC where I had the opportunity to apply this passion to programs across the country for undergraduate students and the other areas in medical education, such as post grad education and continuing professional development.

Now at the World Federation of Medical Education (WFME), I'm just extending that, to work on excellence in medical education around the world through the three core activities of the WFME. This includes: 1) establishing international standards for medical education, 2) running a recognition program to assesses national accreditation agencies and 3) setting up the world directory of medical schools to support individuals that are trained internationally.

What advice would you give students or alumni that are interested in becoming leaders in the medical field?

What has been interesting is that I don't know that I necessarily saw myself as a leader, early in my career. When it became clear that I was someone who wanted to enable change, I realized that I needed to be part of that change to enable it. I needed to develop some leadership skills, take on leadership positions and try to become a change agent.

I firmly believe that all physicians need to understand that it is important to see themselves as someone who's part of a system—the health care system, the academic medicine system—whether that's in research, education or in clinical practice.

I would suggest that all of our learners think about where they want to be engaging in the system, where they want to enable change and how they might be successful in doing that. That’s going to look different for different people.

Anything else you’d like to add?

What I would add is that it is so important to reflect on what it is that you're passionate about and what makes your blood boil because that's the stuff that is probably worth focusing on. That is what will keep you interested in your work for years to come. As they say: “if your work is your passion then life is joy.”

It is so important to seek advice, and to find mentors. At this stage of my career, I continue to have mentors, and I continue to be a mentor for others. You'd be surprised at how many people will accept your invitation to meet for a coffee and to talk about an area that you're mutually interested in.

To learn more about Dr. Geneviève Moineau, read about her career on the WFME website.


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