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Fredericton physician nominated to head World Medical Association
Quentin Casey Telegraph-Journal
July 10, 2008

FREDERICTON - A New Brunswick physician could be the first Canadian elected to head the World Medical Association (WMA).

Dr. Dana Hanson, a Fredericton dermatologist, has been nominated to serve as president of the WMA, a collection of national medical associations.

"I was very humbled that my name would be put forward and considered for such a prestigious and important position," he said in an interview Wednesday.

Between 2002 and 2003 Hanson served as president of the Canadian Medical Association, which is a member of the WMA. For the past four years he has sat on the WMA's council and chairs its advocacy committee.

The group's presidential election will take place in October during the group's general assembly in Seoul, South Korea.

If elected, Hanson will be the first Canadian to hold the post. He would serve as president-elect until October 2009 and then hold the top job until October 2010.

According to Hanson, there are a number of pressing issues on the WMA radar: the poaching of health care workers, the global resurgence of tuberculosis and ensuring the ethical treatment of humans who participate in medical research.

As well, the group is trying to fight tobacco and alcohol abuse, another rising global trend - especially in emerging economies.

"There's been progress in Canada, but in the rest of the world tobacco sales are skyrocketing - in places like Africa, Asia and Russia," Hanson said. "It continues to be of global concern."

Hanson said he is most proud of the WMA's fight against countries that take transplant organs from executed prisoners without informed consent, notably China.

While the practice may still exist there, he said the Chinese medical association has declared the practice as both unethical and unacceptable.

Though originally from Saint John, Hanson, 59, has practiced in Fredericton since 1980.

He said the president's post is a part time position that would allow him to maintain his local practice.

Founded in 1947, the WMA is comprised of medical associations from about 85 countries. It is unrelated to the World Health Organization - the United Nations public health arm.

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