The Well Doc Alberta initiative, led by Dr. Jane Lemaire, is receiving $1.6 million over three years to enhance physician wellness—thanks to the affinity agreement between Scotiabank and the Canadian Medical Association.
A thought leader in the field of physician wellness, Dr. Lemaire and her team have developed more than a half-dozen training modules based on research they conducted over the past 15 years. Modules developed address issues such as nutrition, coping strategies, bio-feedback for stress and resilience.
Dr. Lemaire delivers about 25 presentations per year that include these modules, as well as workshops about the team’s wellness research and initiatives, such as peer support teams. The end goal is always the same: improving physician wellness at the individual and system level.
For the past few years we’ve been addressing the issue of physician wellness by putting our fingers in the dike, jumping around where people identify a need. Everyone wants to address physician wellness, so the demand has increased exponentially. - Dr. Jane Lemaire
“We now have the money to do this right and do it on a big scale. Collectively, we can get done in the next three years what it would probably have taken our current team another ten or twelve to do.”
In the past year, the Well Doc Alberta initiative has built a website and online platform for those interested in physician wellness, published a directory of experts and initiatives in Alberta, and organized the first Well Doc Alberta symposium, held March 12, 2019. The initiative is housed within the W21C Research and Innovation Centre, within the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine.
Dr. Lemaire says the next goal for Well Doc Alberta is to develop wellness resources that can better target specific issues for different physician groups.
“If you’re a surgeon, for example, you face different pressures than a family doctor,” explains Dr. Lemaire. “So, let’s develop a peer support team for surgeons, related to adverse events, and start to build a curriculum that’s systematic and addresses specific needs.”
Dr. Lemaire says the funding Well Doc Alberta has received will allow her team to collaborate to develop these resources — to reach more physicians and have more impact.
This is just incredible for us because with this money we can not only give information, we can change culture. - Dr. Jane Lemaire.
The CMA is prioritizing physician health and wellness given the urgent need to reverse the alarming rate of burnout in the profession.
“This support will not only drive key results in the province of Alberta but can also serve as a model for other provinces or territories,” says Dr. Caroline Gérin-Lajoie, vice-president of physician health and wellness at the CMA. “The scalability of the Well Doc Alberta initiative is of national importance, and we look forward to working closely with Dr. Lemaire and her team.”
The Alberta Medical Association was instrumental in bringing the Well Doc Initiative forward.
“The AMA and CMA have committed to working together on initiatives that advance our shared priorities and Well Doc Alberta is a great example of this,” explains Dr. Alison Clarke, AMA president.
“We recognize the importance of advancing physician wellness through an expanded Well Doc Alberta program and, by working collaboratively with the AMA Physician and Family Support Program, we will provide Alberta physicians with an incredibly strong support system that allows them to feel respected and valued.”
About Affinity contributions
Scotiabank, MD Financial Management (MD) and the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) together are firmly committed to supporting the medical profession and advancing health in Canada. As proof of this commitment, and in collaboration with the CMA and MD, Scotiabank will invest $115 million over the next 10 years to support physicians and the communities they serve across Canada.