As the head of the physician wellness team at the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), Dr. Caroline Gérin-Lajoie is well aware of the need for an overview of what’s happening across Canada on the issue.
I often get calls from colleagues across the country asking me ‘How do we get started? We believe in this, our leadership supports this, but we don’t know where to start’ – Dr. Caroline Gérin-Lajoie, CMA vice-president of physician health and wellness
Providing an answer to this question is just one the reasons Dr. Gérin-Lajoie and the CMA are embarking on the first project of its kind in Canada, supported through the Affinity agreement between Scotiabank and the CMA: a comprehensive, national analysis on the state of physician wellness supports and structures across the country.
“Many different groups have been doing amazing work in developing physician health and wellness initiatives, and what we’ve noticed is that they often work in silos, even if they’re doing similar things,” explains Dr. Gérin-Lajoie. “We want to create collaborations, to scale up our ability to make a real difference for physicians.”
At the CMA Regional Members Forums held earlier this year, physician wellness was a top issue for members, with many sharing stories about their own burnout, and a reluctance to reach out for support. Similarly, results from the CMA’s National Physician Health Survey released in October 2018 show that 30% of physicians and residents are reporting high levels of burnout.
Dr. Gérin-Lajoie says in the past few years, the medical profession has recognized that burnout and other wellness issues must be addressed. Awareness is at an all-time high, and this means a lot of work is being done, in a lot of different places. But there is no central connector between programs, research and outreach.
I see this as an opportunity to create relationships and alliances with all these people (working on physician wellness), and to bring them together to optimize the impact.
Once the review is complete, Dr. Gérin-Lajoie intends to use what her team has learned to build a physician wellness “hub” – a virtual space where all the resources, research and innovations on physician wellness can be pulled together in one place, to be shared across Canada and internationally.
“This review is really the first step in the CMA’s long-term plan for physician wellness. It’s the stepping stone for all our future work and we’re so pleased Affinity chose to support it,” she adds.
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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.