Sound Mind: conversations about physician wellness and medical culture
About the podcast Sound Mind: conversations about physician wellness and medical culture
When physicians are healthy and fulfilled, they're better equipped to care for others. Yet many doctors, residents and medical students report burnout, depression and other concerns at some point in their career — and countless others stay silent out of fear of stigma. Sound Mind is a podcast that sheds light on physician wellness and medical culture, produced by the Canadian Medical Association and hosted by psychiatrist and wellness expert Dr. Caroline Gérin-Lajoie. This interview-based program is for physicians, medical learners, administrators, and anyone interested in the wellness challenges medical professionals face and the ways they’re being addressed.
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- Season 2
Death threats and safety protocols: the troubling new reality for many physicians
Physician advocates never imagined being the targets of intimidation and death threats for supporting public health measures during the pandemic. But it’s happening. Three doctors -- Nili Kaplan-Myrth, Naheed Dosani and Jennifer Kwan -- open up about the impact these violent threats have had on their wellness and the steps they’ve taken to protect themselves, their families, their staff and patients. “In my office, we added cameras indoors and outdoors. And we keep our door locked, which is sad because if we look through the door and don't recognize the patient or person standing on the porch, we don't open the door. And sometimes that is a patient. It's just not somebody we were expecting to arrive at that time.” -- Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth In this episode, host Dr. Caroline Gérin-Lajoie holds a candid conversation with the three physicians about what it’s like to live in fear of an attack, how peer support is helping them cope and what social media platforms and governments can do to help protect those who choose to speak out. Want to learn more about physician wellness? Visit the CMA Physician Wellness Hub for curated, clinically-based tools, resources, and research on all the topics covered in this podcast. Pour voir la description et la transcription de l’épisode en français, cliquez ici.
The personal cost of leading Canada’s public health response to COVID-19
For most physicians, the fight against COVID-19 took place away from public scrutiny. But for public health physicians, their words, their work, and sometimes their raw emotions, have taken centre stage. Two of Canada’s chief medical officers of health – Dr. Saqib Shahab from Saskatchewan and Dr. Catherine Elliott from the Yukon – share the toll the pandemic has taken on them and their colleagues. “It was only a few months in where I thought, no human can really keep this pace: new evidence coming in every day...the pace of meetings and press conferences, and evidence-based decisions, and the weight of these types of decisions.” – Dr. Catherine Elliott In this episode, host Dr. Caroline Gérin-Lajoie speaks with Dr. Elliott about what causes moral distress among public health physicians and recent survey results from the Public Health Physicians of Canada showing high rates of burnout among its members. On Dec. 8, join Dr. Gérin-Lajoie and other physicians to discuss this topic in a CMA Wellness Connection peer support session. Register by clicking here: Want to learn more about physician wellness? Visit the CMA Physician Wellness Hub for curated, clinically-based tools, resources, and research on all the topics covered in this podcast.
Threats, harassment and trolls: Is being a “public” medical voice worth it?
Dr. Amy Tan shares how she endured months of online harassment during the pandemic for defending racialized communities. “There was a racist, misogynistic, violent threat made to me by phone, which is different than keyboard warriors on Twitter, tweeting or emailing terrible things. It's different when somebody seeks out your workplace and asks to speak to you.” -- Dr. Amy Tan Dr. Amy Tan is an academic family and hospice palliative care physician on Vancouver Island. During the pandemic, many physicians, like Dr. Tan, have found themselves in the spotlight of both traditional and social media as spokespeople and policy or medical experts. Yet, they’ve also been on the receiving end of online threats, abuse and harassment. Dr. Najma Ahmed knows what they’re going through. She is a trauma surgeon based in Toronto and co-founder of Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns. In 2019, she faced intense harassment by pro-gun activists after launching a public campaign for tougher gun control laws. In this episode, Dr. Ahmed talks to Dr. Caroline Gérin-Lajoie about the backlash outspoken advocates often face, how it can affect their mental health, whether “speaking out” is really worth it and what medical schools and health institutions can do to support physicians who advocate publicly for their patients. On Nov. 10, join Dr. Gérin-Lajoie and other physicians to discuss this topic in a CMA Wellness Connection peer support session. Register by clicking here: https://community.cma.ca/en/wellness-connection/p/peer-support-events Physician Wellness Hub Canadian Medical Association Canadian Doctors for Prevention From Guns
- Season 1
Racism in medicine and the impact on physician wellness
"We've often been stalled by the fact that medicine is painted as this altruistic, noble, honourable profession, forgetting that medicine is built on such heinous acts of racial violence that we don't often acknowledge." – Dr. Joseph Mpalirwa Dr. Joseph Mpalirwa is a family physician at Toronto's Casey House and recently co-authored a study on Black physicians' experiences of racism and discrimination in Ontario. In this episode, he joins Dr. Kenneth Fung, an award-winning psychiatrist and clinical director of the Asian Initiative in Mental Health at Toronto Western Hospital, in conversation with Dr. Caroline Gérin-Lajoie about how systemic racism affects both the mental well-being of physicians and the overall health of patients. Speaking from both personal experience and as leaders in the field, Dr. Fung and Dr. Mpalirwa describe the “highly demoralizing” impact of racism and how it increases the risk of burnout among physicians. Want to learn more about physician wellness? Visit the CMA Physician Wellness Hub for curated, clinically based tools, resources, and research on all the topics covered in this podcast.
Building the peer support physicians need
“In medicine we’ve been held to really unreasonable expectations of what it means to be a physician. Even the idea of ‘health care heroes’ during the pandemic, which came from wanting to honour providers, has actually had the reverse consequence – making health care providers feel they need to be superheroes.”– Dr. Jo Shapiro Dr. Jo Shapiro, surgeon, Harvard professor and founder of the US-based Center for Professionalism and Peer Support, is internationally recognized for her work in physician peer support. The program she helped create at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital pioneered the “reach in” approach, where trained peer supporters seek out medical professionals immediately after a serious medical error or other crisis events. In this episode, she talks with Dr. Caroline Gérin-Lajoie about the “reach in” approach, the “must-haves” for successful peer support programs and how she sees the COVID-19 pandemic affecting her colleagues and physician health programs in the long term. Want to learn more about physician wellness? Visit the CMA Physician Wellness Hubfor curated, clinically-based tools, resources, and research on all the topics covered in this podcast.
Battling physician burnout
"We aren’t actually part of normal society, not anymore. Medicine does something to us. It teaches us another language, one only other doctors can understand. Eventually it scripts our emotions, neutralizing them whenever they threaten to overwhelm our senses.” – Dr. Jillian Horton Dr. Jillian Horton is an internist and award-winning medical educator, and a writer and expert on physician health. Yet like more than one-quarter of physicians, she has struggled with severe burnout. Her new book, We Are All Perfectly Fine, chronicles her personal journey to overcome it. In this episode, Dr. Jillian Horton talks candidly with Dr. Caroline Gérin-Lajoie about her book and the themes it addresses: the flawed system that shapes medical professionals, the rarely acknowledged stresses and trauma that lead many physicians to burnout, her own quest to rediscover the joy and meaning in medicine. Want to learn more about physician wellness? Visit the CMA Physician Wellness Hub for curated, clinically-based tools, resources, and research on all the topics covered in this podcast.
Confronting the “hidden curriculum” in medical school
“To me, the hidden curriculum is the little things — the off-side comments, the facial expressions. It’s trying to breed a certain type of physician, in a culture that says physicians should be infallible.” – Alexandra Morra, 4th year medical student From the cafeteria to the clinic, medical students pick up many unspoken messages about physician attitudes and behaviour. Today, this “hidden curriculum” is increasingly under scrutiny for the signals it sends about the pressures of medicine and seeking help. In this episode, fourth year medical student Alexandra Morra talks about her experience with the “hidden curriculum”, and Dr. Caroline Gérin-Lajoie speaks with Dr. Geneviève Moineau, CEO of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, about how medical schools are confronting the issue. Want to learn more about physician wellness? Visit the CMA Physician Wellness Hub for curated, clinically-based tools, resources, and research on all the topics covered in this podcast.
The special stress of residency
“If we have a system where asking for help is not a normal part of medical training, it creates this perception that if you’re struggling and need help, it’s a weakness.” – Dr. Stephanie Klein Statistics reveal that burnout, depression and suicidal ideation are at a peak during residency, compared to any other time in a physician's career. Why is residency such a difficult time and how can we ensure people get the support they need? In this episode, Dr. Caroline Gérin-Lajoie speaks with Dr. Stephanie Klein about losing her twin brother to suicide, just as he was beginning his residency, and the wellness program she created specifically for residents, in response. Want to learn more about physician wellness? Visit the CMA Physician Wellness Hub for curated, clinically-based tools, resources, and research on all the topics covered in this podcast. This episode is available in English only.