Dr. Dax Bourcier
Medical school is a pressure-filled time for many students. Demanding workloads, mounting debt and the need to “match” with a residency program contribute to burnout and other mental health challenges that can persist throughout a physician’s career.
Dr. Dax Bourcier — who recently graduated from Université de Sherbrooke — is hoping to break that cycle.
Since 2019, he has co-chaired a task force created by the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) to build a national wellness framework for medical schools.
“One of the things that stands out about Dax is his incredible vision and ability to keep the task force focused on the big picture even while working on small details,” says Lucas King, CFMS director of student affairs.
Released in April 2021, the framework aims to transform medical education, build wellness curricula and promote mental well-being among students. The first of its kind in Canada, it includes topics ranging from healthy coping strategies to nutrition.
Throughout the project — carried out virtually because of the pandemic — Dr. Bourcier created a supportive team environment where members could discuss their personal difficulties and challenges.
Empowering students to shape their careers
Dr. Bourcier also chairs the CFMS Health Human Resources Task Force. When many visiting electives were cancelled for 2020 because of COVID-19, Dr. Bourcier’s team developed an innovative online platform that helps students make informed decisions about their specialty. The tool integrates over 500,000 unique data points and allows students to select from 62 medical specialties, on the basis of factors such as personal interests, location and physician need.
“This platform will continue to grow and have a tremendous impact by empowering medical students to make educated specialty decisions that will satisfy their interests and meet Canadians’ health care needs,” says King.
Dr. Bourcier, who is starting a pediatrics residency at Dalhousie University, says since childhood he has been guided by the personal mantra “Leave things better than you found them.” It is part of what motivated him to take on leadership roles to address challenges that medical students face, particularly related to wellness and physician resource planning.
“I am fortunate to have been guided by incredible mentors to a position where I had the opportunity to make a significant difference in these areas,” he says.
Dr. Dax Bourcier is receiving the CMA Award for Young Leaders (Student) in recognition of his exemplary creativity, initiative and commitment to making a difference at the local, provincial/territorial or national level.