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Resident Wellness

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 U 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 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 Well app features here, and download the app below:

Download NOSM Well app!


I Need Help - Crises Information Button

To link to the culture.nosm.ca  I need help section for NOSM U Resident supports.


About Us

Primary Care

Having access to primary care is an essential part of staying healthy, and many residents will find themselves outside of their home communities during their training. We strongly encourage every resident to locate and establish themselves with a family physician. At the start of each academic year, we refresh our list of Northern physicians who have agreed to take on residents as patients. The list can be found within MyCurriculum under Resources or by request to the Wellness Program personnel.

Accommodations

NOSM U is committed to ensuring that residents with disabilities have equal opportunities to succeed in residency while upholding the high academic standards of our programs. Disabilities can include physical limitations, medical conditions, learning disorders and mental health disorders. The new Postgraduate Medical Education policy can be found online under Policies and Forms. If you are a resident with a disability who is in need of accommodations, please contact the Wellness Senior Learner Affairs Officer (LAO) for assistance.

Direct Support

The Wellness Senior Learner Affairs Officer (LAO) and Assistant Dean Resident Affairs (ADRA) are available to you for coaching and brief advice pertaining to your wellness issues. The LAO can also help you locate and coordinate wellness resources. We encourage any resident experiencing academic or occupational distress to reach out given that wellness issues are often interconnected.

For professional counselling and therapy, NOSM U has invested in an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) through LifeWorks. All NOSM U 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. 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.

Resident Support Network

The Resident Support Network is a group of residents, faculty and administrators with special training and a responsibility to assist residents. Feel free to reach out to any member of the network if you have questions or need an ear.

Resident Members:

  • Pria Thavanathan – Psychiatry
  • Shannon Hughes – Pediatrics
  • Tanya Tremblay – Family Medicine
  • Mario Kangeswaren – Public Health and Preventive Medicine (including Family Medicine)
  • Pamela Ng – Pediatrics
  • Kylie Crocker – Family Medicine

Faculty & Staff Members:

  • Dr. Paul Miron – Program Director, Family Medicine
  • Dr. Jonathon DellaVedova – Faculty, Pediatrics
  • Dr. Kim Varty – Faculty, Family Medicine
  • Dr. Sean Sullivan – Faculty, Family Medicine
  • Dr. Chiebere Ogbuneke –  IMG Coordinator
  • Dr. Sean Thomas – Faculty, Family Medicine
  • Dr. Trista Lyon – Faculty, Emergency Medicine
  • Cathy Duchesne – Program Coordinator PGME
  • Kristy Cote – Manager PGME
  • Sonya Richard – Program Coordinator PGME
  • Nicole Hachez – SAC Kapuskasing
  • Scott Fisher – Senior Learner Affairs Officer (LAO), Residents and Dietetic Interns

Advocacy

Resident wellness rests upon a foundation of respect for PARO-OTH Collective Agreement protections, freedom from intimidation and harassment, safe and healthy working environments, and safe housing and transportation. Residents are encouraged to come forward if ever these conditions are not met. Recognizing that you may need clarification of these standards or assistance with advocacy, the Wellness LAO is available to provide support.

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.

Wellness Curriculum

The PGY1 Core Curriculum includes wellness topics like fatigue management, burnout, mindfulness and resiliency in order to help you develop the lifelong skills to stay well in medicine.

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.

Transportation Safety

The distributed nature of NOSM U Postgraduate programs means our residents spend quite a bit of time on the road, and our Northern weather can sometimes make our highways unsafe. If ever you judge the conditions to be unsafe for highway travel, we prefer that you stay off the road. If this causes you to show up late for the first day of your next rotation, or an academic session, so be it! Contact your program coordinator as soon as possible so alternative arrangements can be made, for example teleconferencing in. There is no penalty for keeping yourself safe. Please refer to the Postgraduate Medical Education Resident Safety Policy for additional information pertaining to transportation/travel safety and more .

Residents also work long hours. If you are too tired to drive yourself home after an overnight shift or an extended shift, do not get behind the wheel. Call a taxi to come pick you up and keep your receipt. NOSM U will reimburse you for the cost of a trip from the hospital to your residence in the same city, as well as the cost of the taxi ride to retrieve your car (after you’ve had a nap). Just fill out a NOSM U Expense Form with the details of your trip and email to Wellness office at pgewellness@nosm.ca.

Confidentiality

All resident communication with Wellness Program personnel, including personal health information, will be handled confidentially within the limitations of the law. Your program director, faculty supervisors and colleagues will not be informed of the content of these communications without your consent.

PGME Resident Wellness Confidentiality Policy

Leaves Policies

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.

Postgraduate Medical Education Leaves of Absence Policy

Resident Leaves Checklist

Other Wellness Resources Available

Canadian Medical Association Wellness Support Line

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

 

NOSM Connections

NOSM Health Sciences Library- Health and Wellness page

Culture NOSM

NOSM Francophone Medical Education

NOSM Indigenous Medical Education

 

Other Community Connections

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Kids Help Phone

LGBT Youthline

Settlement.Org: Welcome to Ontario

Contact Us: Wellness Program Support

Dr. Diane Whitney
Assistant Dean of Resident Affairs
residentwellness@nosm.ca

Mr. Scott Fisher
Senior Learner Affairs Officer (LAO), Residents and Dietetic Interns
pgewellness@nosm.ca

Ms. Jaimy Kiiskila
Resident Wellness Program Coordinator
807-766-7458 / jkiiskila@nosm.ca

Dr. Diane Whitney

The Resident Wellness Program would like to thank Dr. Louise Logan for her wellness support and expertise while in her role as the Resident Wellness Lead Clinician.  Her support for our learners and residency programs has been of great value.  As we move through some wellness program transitions, we are happy to announce some new members and titles that have been added to the Resident Wellness Program.

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 U 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 U.

 

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 U. 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 U 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!

 

 

QUICK LINKS

Policies and Forms

Policies and Forms

Resident Wellness

Resident Wellness

PGME Office

PGME Office

Residency Programs

Residency Programs