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Spring 2024

Colorful Flags

Welcome to the new Executive Committee!

Try "Job Crafting"

Its about controlling and reshaping your roles and responsibilities to align with your values, strengths, and preferences. Picture it as a tailor-made suit for your career, enhancing your job satisfaction, engagement, performance, and overall well-being.


   1. Task Crafting

   2. Relational Crafting

   3. Cognitive Crafting

(Read more by downloading the Newsletter in the link above)

Meet this month's Polaris Stars

Read more by downloading the newsletter


Winter 2023



This program aims to provide a unique mentoring experience for 25mentors and 25 mentees. Look out for updates across our social platforms!


Empowering Education is designed to connect you with top leaders in healthcare to support you on your leadership journey.


This monthly session will provide space to connect with Polaris members and collaborate.

Meet the Wonca Polaris Stars


Fall 2022


Baharak Tabarsi, MD, FAAFP

Featured Doctor

We sat down with Dr. Baharak Tabarsi, MD who provides care with refugees through the Valley Wise Health System in Phoenix, Arizona. Traditionally the refugee population was from Mexico but that changed with the Afghan refugee crisis in 2021 when 80-100K Afghans fled to escape the Taliban. “I escaped from the same region and came to the US as an #asylum seeker and refugee. It’s my honor to now be able to serve in this way” she writes on her Twitter account on Sept 14th, 2021. Due to the previous administration reducing funding to refugee services globally, the US was not well prepared for this crisis. Although county health departments perform domestic medical exams, the sudden influx of refugees left many patients with appointments months out. Her clinic stepped up and provided screenings, prescriptions, labs, and basic medical care to transition these patients to life in the US. Fortunately for these refugees, Dr. Tabarsi not only understands their situation, but can also communicate with them in Farsi. Despite knowing the language and culture, she emphasized the importance of Cultural Health Navigators who play a vital role to refugee care and act as a direct point of contact. A significant challenge that Dr. Tabarsi battles is the hostility and stigmatization of refugees, something she advocates against across social media and traditional news media.

Among the Afghans that were evacuated, many are highly educated and highly skilled individuals. They are a very resilient population that we should value and look at how they are going to contribute to our society and look at them as a valuable resource and not as a group that is going to take up resources…Now that I have the experience, working with legislators and the academy, given this experience, we need to go back and see what can be improved.


1.Ethnomed –
2.Immigration Medical Exams -
3.Medical examinations for Refugees -
4. The Society for Refugee Healthcare Providers -


1.Government of Canada -
2. Canadian Council for Refugees -
3.Jumpstart Refugee Talent -
4.Refugee Support Network (Canada) -


1.The Bahamas - All Saints Camp (find it on Facebook)
2. The Bahamas - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Availability: Mondays - Fridays 9:00am - 5:00PM; Email

Limited resources exist in the Caribbean; please contact us on our website if you know of others.

Spring 2022


We asked three providers in the Wonca Polaris region to give us their answers. 

Winter 2020

Pregnancy Termination in North America

Image by Hermes Rivera


“It is an honour to participate in the full spectrum of women’s health as a GP-Anesthetist who also practices intrapartum obstetrics and abortion care. In doing so, I hope to help sustain the tradition of rural generalism according to the needs of the communities I serve.” - Dr. Lee

Image by Tevin Trinh


In most countries – regardless of the law – abortion is frequently available. Despite the noted risks of illegal abortions, governments are hesitant to change the law out of fear of public backlash.  Many countries have exceptions for rape, incest, and fetal abnormalities and restrictions for gestational age. Additionally, in many places the law differs from what is enforced on physicians and women.

Image by Joshua Hoehne


Title X “continues to require, that abortion not be provided as a method of family planning…a project must give pregnant women the opportunity to receive information and counseling on each of the following options: prenatal care and delivery; infant care, foster care, or adoption; and pregnancy termination.’”

- Angela Napili, senior Congressional Research Service librarian paraphrasing in

2017 from the Code of Federal Regulations 42 part 59.5 (part of Title X code)

Spring 2019

Match Day 2019


A Welcome to new physicians from the President of WONCA North America -

It is said that Family Physicians provide care across the life cycle from embryo through to old age and until death. The Family Physician is the vanguard of the public health system in any country.  The World Health Organization states that “We are convinced that strengthening primary health care (PHC) is the most inclusive, effective and efficient approach to enhance people’s physical and mental health, as well as social well-being, and that PHC is a cornerstone of a sustainable health system for universal health coverage (UHC) and health-related Sustainable Development Goals”, (WHO ASTANA Declaration 2018), a position long advocated by WONCA. In fact, there is international consensus that this goal can only be achieved by investments and strengthen of Family Medicine training and deployment.

It is within this context, that I extend a hearty welcome to those of you who have started the journey to become Family Physicians as well as those who are almost at the end and about to sit residency exams.  Although at different points of the training spectrum, your choice indicates your commitment to quality health care not only for your individual client, but the family unit and community as whole. For this commitment, I salute you and wish for you a successful onward journey.

In closing, it would be remiss of me not to encourage you find time to network and share of your time and skills with like-minded physicians. This you can do by becoming involved with POLARIS, the young doctor’s movement of the North American Region of WONCA. Through your participation, you will be exposed to greater diversity of experiences at the individual, community and International level. In fact it is a great way to become involved in Global Health.

With best wishes


Marvin Reid 

President, North American Region (WONCA)


Dr. Maria Leigh-Ann Clapperton

Lack of resources and under staffing can be challenging, so I hope to see more emphasis and more budgetary allocations being made towards strengthening primary health care in my country (Trinidad & Tobago). It is my goal to one day see Family Physicians receive the recognition they truly deserve not only as Specialist physicians but also as the gate keepers of the health care system and for Family Medicine to really be recognized on par with other specialties.


WONCA World 2018

Seoul, South Korea:

The conference began with the Young Doctors Movement (YDM) Pre-Conference, which provided an opportunity to meet other young doctors from around the world and learn about the activities of other YDMs.  After the sessions, many of the YDM group members ventured to the Gyeongbokgung Palace for beautiful views of the mountains around Seoul and a wonderful introduction to Joseon architecture.  The night continued with Korean barbeque, drinks, and conversation to top off an excellent prequel to the conference and build friendships.  Thursday morning, the conference proper began with a drum performance and the reading of the Seoul Declaration.

The conference continued with many wonderful sessions on Health Equity, primary care evaluation, aging, emergency medicine, and women’s health.  There were several excellent poster sessions, one of which featured an FM360 evaluation presentation which will be traveling to several other conferences this year.  The conference was an amazing opportunity to network with other family docs and trainees from around the world and learn about the diversity of health systems in which our colleagues practice.  We hope to see you there next time!


The Seoul Declaration: WONCA’s equivalent to the Astana Declaration was released at the conference, confirming the group’s commitment to advancing and advocating for primary health care.

Dr. Shawna Pandya

When you ask Dr. Shawna Pandya about her path in family medicine, she describes it as a "choose your own adventure" type of field. "Literally, whatever aspect of medicine you like, you have the capacity to take and make it a part of your own practice: emergency, obstetrics, procedures, hospital medicine - it all comes with the territory. The best part is that you get to choose which 'territories' you want to explore. For me, this has allowed me to explore and develop my passions for surgery, space, extreme environment and wilderness medicine, and take on extra training in these fields, with the Enhanced Surgical Skills program and a Fellowship in the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. It's been a great adventure so far, and here's hoping for many more!"

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