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CMAJ - March 21, 2000JAMC - le 21 mars 2000

Come, come to the fair

CMAJ 2000;162:850

This year the team from Grand Manan in southwestern New Brunswick showed up with a sea kayak and wanted to know where they could hang it. Last year, representatives from Cheticamp, NS, arrived accompanied by fiddle music and hand-stitched quilts, tapping their toes to the former and looking for a wall for the latter. Dr. Richard MacLachlan, head of family medicine at Dalhousie University, says this element of fun and community pride makes the annual Maritime Job Fair for Family Physicians a roaring success.

This year's fair, held in Moncton, NB, attracted 15 communities from Nova Scotia, 16 from New Brunswick and 4 from PEI, along with 70 medical residents from Dal and another 15 from the Université de Sherbrooke satellite residency program in Dieppe, NB. The goal, in addition to having a good time, is to let doctors know what jobs are available in their own backyard. "There's no question it is leading to matches for permanent locations and locums," says MacLachlan. "There's no question it is helping to keep doctors in the region. Residents consistently comment that they had no idea of the breadth or variety of the communities in the area."

The job fair, now in its fourth year, grew out of an annual retreat hosted by family medicine residents. In 1997, at the height of Nova Scotia's doctor shortage, MacLachlan suggested the residents set up a mini trade-fair instead of a lecture series. "It was the worst night of the winter for weather," he remembers. "But it was a howling success. It was just magical."

In an effort to share the magic, the job fair was expanded the next year to include all 3 Maritime provinces. It's still organized by Dalhousie's family medicine program, but is now funded by all 3 provincial health departments and the 3 medical societies.

By the way, the kayak was hung from the ceiling with care. — Donalee Moulton, Halifax

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