The Postgraduate Medical Education Wellness Program
Residency is a unique opportunity to learn, grow and set the stage for the rest of your career. Residency also has its challenges. While you will face high expectations, the NOSM University Postgraduate Wellness program aims to ensure you also have a high degree of support. The mission of the Wellness Program is to assist our residents in achieving the knowledge and skills to develop healthy and productive professional identities during this important transitional time. The framework of the program includes occupational/academic health, physical health, emotional health and social health.
Our highest priority is providing and coordinating supports for residents who have specific health needs, whether pre-existing or arising during residency. Wellness Program personnel will assist residents with finding and coordinating health resources, as well as working with residency programs to accommodate the learning and training environment if needed. The program also includes proactive components for all residents such as: a wellness curriculum, promoting safe housing and transportation, ensuring your duty hour and leave protections are respected, cultural supports, and guidance with developing a healthy and productive professional identity.
Message on Wellness to Incoming Residents
NOSM U Well – Resident Wellness App
The Wellness Program has developed a “Residents” section within the interactive wellness app NOSM U Well. The Residents section in the App, delivers easily accessible, secure, up-to-date wellness information to you around the clock, in any setting! View the NOSM U Well app features here, and download the app below:
To link to the culture.nosm.ca I need help section for NOSM University Resident supports.
For professional counselling and therapy, NOSM University has invested in an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) through LifeWorks. All NOSM University residents and immediate family members have access to the EFAP at no personal cost. To ensure confidentiality, fees for the EFAP services have been paid in advance by NOSM University. The EFAP is completely confidential within the limits of the law.
LifeWorks is a leading EFAP services provider, offering a wide range of wide range of confidential and voluntary support services. We specifically chose LifeWorks as our EFAP provider for their experience with northern and rural clients and for the wide variety of delivery options that suit our distributed model.
EFAP benefits include:
- Short-term Professional Counselling
- Family Support Services
- Legal Support Services
- Financial Support Services
- Naturopathic Services
- Nutritional Services
- Health Coaching
- Specialized Counselling and Online Programs
Residents are encouraged to use the EFAP at any time. Call 1-844-880-9137 or visit workhealthlife.com and sign up using NOSM University for full access to the EFAP services and resources.
For further information on mistreatment, please visit the “I need help, Crisis Information” link on our resident wellness homepage.
To access our PGME Policy and procedures page please click, PGME Office Policies, Procedures & Forms website.
Our Partners in Wellness
Ontario Medical Association Physician Health Program (PHP)
The Ontario Medical Association Physician Health Program (PHP) provides a range of direct services to physicians, residents and medical students, as well as supportive services to family members.
The PHP provides confidential support for individuals who are struggling with substance use and mental health concerns, as well as with other behaviours that have a personal and professional impact. The PHP also offers support and education to physician leaders, hospitals, and other worksites; as well as to anyone else who is concerned about a loved one or colleague.
PHP support is responsive, helpful and knowledgeable about local resources. All PHP services are confidential, and residents are referred to appropriate services geared to caring for physicians in their own community, or one nearby if preferred.
The OMA Physician Health Program can be reached through their confidential line at: 1-800-851-6606 (Ontario only). Additional information is available online at php.oma.org.
The Professional Association of Residents of Ontario (PARO)
Paro is your professional association responsible for negotiating and upholding your collective agreement, as well as providing direct support services for its members.
PARO maintains a 24h helpline, which is a confidential support service for residents and their families. The toll-free number is accessible anywhere in Ontario.
PARO Help Line: 1-866-HELP-DOC (1-866-435-7362). Additional information can be found at www.myparo.ca/helpline.
The PARO website also includes wellness information, tips for thriving in residency, and strategies for stress. These and other resources can be found here: www.myparo.ca.
The resident Wellness Program would like to remind residents of the importance of taking breaks. In addition to our support, the Collective Agreement also provides professional time and lieu days. To find out more on the resident responsibilities for sick days, short term and long-term leaves please visit the PGME Office website.
Other Wellness Resources Available
The CMA Wellness Support Line (www.cma.ca) will link Ontario residents to the OMA Physician health program. For Ontario, the Wellness Support Line is 1-800-851-6606 which offers counselling and access to mental health supports to physicians, medical learners and their immediate families. It is a 24/7 bilingual (French and English) service, delivered via Morneau Shepell and is designed to complement existing resources available through physician health programs in provinces and territories across Canada
For further information on their wellness support line, please visit the CMA Support line.
The CMA Physician Wellness Hub
The CMA Physician Wellness Hub (the Hub) is one of the key programs the CMA has created to drive change in the culture of medicine and to promote health and wellness in the medical profession for the benefit of practitioners, the health system and all Canadians. The Hub aims to improve physician wellness individually as well as at the system level and to promote a collaborative approach to physician health and well-being.
The Hub is a national collection of nearly 300 physician health and wellness resources, spanning 22 topics. Resources include original CMA content and curated information from other trusted sources. Information is targeted to physicians, residents and medical students seeking guidance and wellness self-help, and CMA membership is not required to access it. The Hub also has material for those leading wellness initiatives and programs. The CMA will continue to add tools and resources to the Hub, as needs arise and as new materials become available.
The Hub also incorporates two other key CMA health and wellness initiatives: The Wellness Support Line and Wellness Connection and aims to support other high-quality health and wellness initiatives developed by the provincial and territorial physician health programs. The CMA worked collaboratively with the provincial and territorial medical associations and provincial health programs, other medical stakeholders and physicians to leverage their input and enhance resources that are already in place for physicians and medical learners.
The Hub is a tremendous source of all kinds of resources, such as articles, videos, podcasts, etc. It is easily searchable. A quick search of the hub’s content visit their website CMA Hub
Resident Doctors of Canada
RDoC is dedicated to supporting its members’ health and wellness throughout their medical training. Please visit their Website to learn more about how they have taken a leadership role in a number of resident wellness projects.
- RDoC Wellness site link
- Link to the RDoC poster “How do we change the culture? We start by changing the language”. Poster
Other Community Connections
Contact Us: Wellness Program Support
Dr. Diane Whitney
Dr. Diane Whitney
Assistant Dean of Resident Affairs
Dr. Diane Whitney is a community-based psychiatrist who practices in Thunder Bay. Her clinical expertise focuses on mood disorders and trauma / PTSD. Her community office is an active teaching site for NOSM Psychiatry and Family Practice residents and medical students.
Dr. Whitney graduated from medical school at Western University in 1988 followed by a rotating internship at Scarborough General Hospital in 1989. Dr. Whitney served in the Canada military from 1985 to 1992 where she was stationed at CFB Baden, West Germany as a general duty medical officer / flight surgeon and she also served in the first Persian Gulf War in 1990. After military service, she completed Psychiatry residency at Western University in 1996.
Dr. Whitney has been NOSM University faculty since 2010. She was the Site Director in Thunder Bay and the Program Director of the NOSM U Psychiatry residency program from 2017 to 2021. Dr. Whitney was instrumental in restructuring the program and she was known as a strong advocate for the residents. As the Assistant Dean Resident Affairs, Dr. Whitney plans to lead the creation of a unique brand of wellness for Northern Ontario as well as create collaboration and synergies within and outside of NOSM University.
Mr. Scott Fisher
Senior Learner Affairs Officer (LAO), Residents and Dietetic Interns
Mr. Scott Fisher is NOSM University’s Senior Learner Affairs Officer (LAO), Residents and Dietetic Interns. He brings with him to the role of the LAO a strong desire to help support learners to achieve their goals while at NOSM University. He will work with the Assistant Dean of Resident Affairs (ADRA) to continuously improve the delivery of the resident wellness program and to align support with Learner Support Services accessible to all NOSM U learners. Mr. Fisher will be involved with the development, delivery, facilitation, and evaluation of programs that support learner orientation, transitions, wellness, and career development.
Mr. Fisher is the recipient of the 2020 International Career Practitioner of the Year Award from the National Career Development Association (NCDA), the largest Career Development association in the world. He has extensive experience in the fields of workforce integration and Career Development, including extensive experience in accreditation and licensure frameworks. He has actively participated in national research groups with a focus on immigration policy, including the successful integration of International Medical Graduates (IMGs) into the Canadian medical system.
He has completed a Master’s in Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology from Colorado Sate University and has been relied upon as an Expert Assessor for the Personnel Board of Jefferson County/Jefferson County Commission in Birmingham, Alabama. Mr. Fisher’s previous experience includes managing a pan-Northern Ontario project on workforce integration of foreign trained professionals, providing guidance and direction on workforce development for a large municipality, and building collaborations with a diverse group of stakeholders across Northern Ontario.
Ms. Jaimy Kiiskila
Postgraduate Medical Education, Wellness Coordinator
Jaimy Kiiskila has been a Registered Nurse for over 20 years. After discovering her passion for teaching and promoting wellness, Jaimy completed a Master of Nursing degree specializing in Nursing Education (NUED master’s degree) from the University of Victoria. Jaimy joined NOSM University’s Wellness Program and the PGME team in 2019 and looks forward to continuing to work with supporting residents and their wellness.
About the Resident Wellness Program
The Assistant Dean of Resident Affairs is responsible for oversight of the Postgraduate Medical Education Wellness Program. The ADRA and LAO represent the wellness interests of all residents to NOSM University and its programs, including providing education, consultation and supports to faculty and administrators.
Although the Postgraduate Wellness Program was only started in 2017, it represents an essential resource for residents and clinical fellows. Most importantly for you the postgraduate learner, the ADRA and LAO acts as a confidential resource to PGME learners who need support. If you have a wellness concern that may affect your training, such as discussion of accommodations or return to work processes or to access counselling supports etc., please feel free to contact Dr. Whitney or Scott Fisher as a resource and as a link to other support services.
The Wellness ADRA and LAO work as a team along with the assistance of, Ms. Jaimy Kiiskila, Wellness Coordinator. The Resident Wellness Program is also guided by the PGME Wellness Advisory Group which is composed of residents, faculty, staff, and administrators who meet regularly to steer the program and respond to residents’ needs.
Residency has the potential to be the most rewarding, formative, and enjoyable time of your life. If you are struggling or just scraping by, please do not hesitate to reach out!