New Program and New Funding to Address Physician Mental Health and Well-being - Canadian Physician Health Institute awards first round of Special Project Funds

OTTAWA, June 10, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Physician Health Institute, a new national program created by the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Foundation to promote physician mental health and wellness, has awarded its first round of Special Project Funds. The Special Project Funds are designed to support the promotion of physician health and wellness at the national level. The winning proposals support physician health initiatives and at least one of the Institute's goals:

  • Support increased equitability of access to resources for the emotional, psychosocial and mental well-being of physicians;
  • Raise awareness and improve understanding of the importance of physicians' emotional, psychosocial and mental well-being;
  • Reduce the stigma associated with physician mental health issues;
  • Develop and support primary prevention activities related to mental health, for physicians.

"The health of Canada's physician workforce is crucial to a sustainable health care system. We can't afford to lose a single physician to ill health," said Dr. Anna Reid, president of the Canadian Medical Association. "This is why the CMA considers physician health a priority for the organization, acknowledging that a healthy and vibrant profession will lead to better, more accessible care for our patients."

The winning projects represent the variety of approaches that can be taken to address physician mental health and well-being.

  • A team from McMaster University will evaluate the effect of peer support groups on resilience in anesthesia residents.
  • Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan will examine how mindfulness in medical practice drop-in classes can help medical students build resilience and cope with the stress that can lead to burnout.
  • A phone-line crisis program offered by the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association will expand to include health promotion and illness prevention services provided by local physicians specially trained to work with other physicians.
  • A small group practice-based continuing education program for physicians and case managers working within physician health programs will be created and piloted by the Quebec Physicians' Health Program.

"Support for the Canadian Physician Health Institute is thanks to the generosity of our many donors," says Lee Gould, CEO of the Canadian Medical Foundation. "At the Foundation we are proud to be a partner in the creation of the Institute whose role is to bring together the many organizations that support physicians to help them connect, share information and build knowledge. These projects are an exciting beginning to this work."

The Special Projects Fund was developed with support from one of its founding partners, the Canadian Medical Foundation. The Foundation, the CMA and the provincial / territorial medical associations are the Institute's governing bodies.

"It's important that, as physicians, we support each other in addressing mental health and well-being," says Dr. Derek Puddester, Director of Physician Health at the Canadian Medical Association and leader of the Canadian Physician Health Institute team. "Research tells us that many physicians struggle in silence with depression and burnout. The project funding announced today is a key step toward keeping physicians healthy and resilient."

Today's announcement is a milestone for the Institute as it moves from the planning and development phase to full operation. It has also launched a powerful promotional video ( that underlines the need to do away with the stigma associated with asking for help.

The Canadian Physician Health Institute is a national program focused on promoting physician mental health and wellness. Governed by the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Medical Foundation and the provincial / territorial medical associations, the Institute works collaboratively with a wide range of national health organizations to promote physician health and wellness at the national level, by working with and through partners, helping them to connect, share information and build knowledge.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing more than 77,000 of Canada's physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 51 national medical organizations. CMA's mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care.

The Canadian Medical Foundation (CMF) was founded in 1987 by the Canadian Medical Association and is the only national foundation in Canada focused solely on supporting physicians; we understand that, in order to improve health care for all Canadians, it is vital to support the physicians who deliver it. The CMF raises, invests and distributes funds via programs that are designed to improve health care for all Canadians.

SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association

For further information:

and/or interview requests:
Lucie Boileau, Senior Advisor, Communications and Public Outreach
Tel.: 800-663-7336 / 613-731-8610 ext. 1266
Cell.: 613-447-0866


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