Ontarians joined together to celebrate and express their thanks leading up to and on Doctors’ Day for the commitment, care and compassion Ontario’s doctors bring to their patients.
“As Ontarians, we are the beneficiaries of the work that doctors and health-care providers do every single day,” said John Bozzo, chief of OMA Member Relations, Advocacy and Communications. “I think it's the least that we can do to stand up and salute those that are putting their lives on the line to take care of patients.”
Through an interactive social media campaign launched by the Ontario Medical Association, Ontarians were encouraged to visit the campaign’s dedicated website to choose coloured tiles with messages of thanks honouring their doctors.
Messages ranging from “My doctor created a better life for my child” to “My doctor’s diagnosis saved my life” gave Ontarians the chance to say thank you by sharing the tiles on social media as a post or profile picture and using an augmented reality filter on Facebook and Instagram.
“In our personal lives or our families, we can all recall a time where doctors saved a life, brought a new life into the world, or sadly had to help us through losing someone close to us,” Bozzo said. “That's the reality that we all face, and those tiles were intended to reflect that reality.”
More than 10,000 tiles were collected with many used to create a thank you collage that was displayed on digital billboards in 18 cities across the province, delivering more than three million impressions on May 1. (Impressions are the total number of times an ad has been served to the target audience).
Thirteen Ontario landmarks, including the CN Tower, Niagara Falls and Sudbury’s Big Nickel were lit up in blue to honour Ontario’s 43,000 doctors who treat and care for more than 340,000 patients every day.
Port Colborne’s city hall was also beaming blue this Doctors’ Day following a recent council decision to officially recognize May 1 as a day of appreciation for physicians. It was the first time the city had lit its cupola for any cause.
Fifteen news organizations covered Doctors’ Day, and many politicians including Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Health Christine Elliot and Toronto mayor John Tory shared their support for physicians through videos and messages of thanks on social media. Another 15 outlets published the news release in its entirety.
The province joined Canada in recognizing May 1 as Doctors’ Day back in 2011, marking an official day of appreciation for the province’s doctors, which is also the birth date of Dr. Emily Stowe, Canada’s first female physician and women’s rights activist.
Ontario’s doctors have been on the front lines of the pandemic for more than two years; risking their health, and the safety of their families, to keep their patients and communities safe.
Bozzo said as Ontarians “we owe doctors a huge debt of gratitude for putting patients first” and that Doctors’ Day is our way of letting them know we recognize their sacrifice.
“It’s a moment for our physicians to see themselves as part of the community and valued members of society,” he said. “To know that the people around them recognize the valuable work that they do in, not only keeping us healthy but leading us to better health, is something they can be proud of.”