Building Physician Resilience – Caring for ourselves as we care for others

Event Details


The Canadian Medical Association in collaboration with the Centre of Lifestyle Studies at Acadia University, Exercise is Medicine Canada and Living This Moment invites you to join us in beautiful Whistler, British Columbia for a seminar and workshops on exercise, nutrition and mindfulness as tools for Physician resilience.

Burnout affects 30-45% of all Canadian physicians and is associated with significant morbidity and repercussions in our personal and professional lives.

Interventions for burnout can be classified into two major categories: physician directed interventions targeting individual skills and organization directed interventions targeting the working environment. The workshop focuses on individual strategies to improve our capacity, as physicians, to navigate the inherent stressors in Medicine.

The concept of resilience involves finding balance amidst the challenges in our lives. Resilience is what allows us to meet adversity and to have the capacity to return to a state of wellness.  Research in this area suggests that while some people seem to come by resilience naturally, these behaviours can also be learned.  Since the 1970’s, psychological research has not only identified distinguishing features of those who will grow after failure versus people that will collapse, but also how to build skills to grow and thrive in the face of stressful challenges.

Why you should attend

This workshop will identify key factors relating to physician burnout and identify strategies to adapt to and overcome these challenges. Focussing on physical activity, sleep, nutrition, mindfulness, self-compassion, and optimism this workshop will offer practical ‘how-to’ techniques to nurture these personal skills, and how to counsel our patients towards these same personal skills.



Friday November 8th


7:00 pm -9:30 pmDefining burnout and resilience in YOUR practice and YOUR life

This session will define burnout and why we are burnt out in such high proportions. Moral injury, mindfulness and the importance of resilience. Participants will understand the advantages of assessments and ‘pulse checks’ and will complete a mini-‘GRIT’ assessment


Saturday November 9th


8:00 am – 11:00 amMindfulness in medicine: exercising the mind


Learn what is mindfulness and the evidence for its use in physician health and resilience. Participants will practice on-site and receive take home information and access to webinars on the topic


3:30 pm – 6:00 pmThe ‘big three’ link to resilience: sleep, physical activity, and nutrition

The session will focus on physical activity, diet, sleep and how these affect our resilience and general wellness. Participants will receive up-to-date information on the big three from leading research­ers in the field.


Sunday November 10th
8:00 am – 11:00 amCaring for Others as we Care for Ourselves: Putting Lifestyle Wellness into Practice.


Designed as an interactive session, discussion will center on how we bring these changes into our lives, practically and concretely. Participants will address challenges to lifestyle counseling in clinical care and will be given case scenarios to practice lifestyle ‘prescription’.


11:00 amClosing remarks



Dr. Ron Wilson
Dr. Wilson lives and runs a family medicine clinic on Denman Island. His interest in “movement as medicine” started at home encouraging and participating in an active lifestyle for himself and his family.

He spent his first 10 years of practice in Rural BC based in Bella Coola. From there he went to Montreal for 2 years in one of McGill’s Family Practice teaching units. Upon return to Vancouver, he spent a year in a geriatric practice before joining the UBC Family Practice Oak St. site, where he trained FP residents, and maintained his own practice.

His practice included obstetrics as well as Emergency work. In addition, he did some work in the Downtown Eastside helping pregnant women with substance use at the Sheway Clinic.


For 12 years he was Chair of the Athletics and Recreation committee and a member of the Council on Health Promotion at the Doctors of BC. During that time, he started the Walk With Your Doc and Be Active Every Day programs. He is a strong advocate for Physician Health and has been working to have Physician health as part of the Strategic Plan of the Doctors of BC.


Dr. Mark Sherman
Mindfulness in Medicine
Mark is a family physician in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, and is the founder and current Executive Director of the BC Association for Living Mindfully (BCALM).  Mark attended McGill University for his medical training and then UBC for his postgraduate Family Medicine residency. Mark has formal postgraduate training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Clinical Hypnosis,  Medical Acupuncture and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.

Mark’s passion and principle clinical interests lie in psychophysiology and in the use and potential of mindfulness and meditation helping people navigate the negative effects of stress in their lives. Grounded in his personal practice and his formal clinical trainings, Mark has been offering and facilitating courses, workshops and presentations in Mindfulness Based Stress Management (MBSM) for over 12 years to patients, physicians, students and educators throughout BC. Mark founded Living This Moment in 2015 as an opportunity to work with physicians and other health care providers in learning mindfulness and meditation skills towards their own health, as well as evidence based tools for their clinical practice. Mark now travels throughout BC and Canada to speak with physician groups and is a frequent speaker on mindfulness at conferences and professional development. Mark lives in Saanichton, BC with his wife and two young children who are his constant inspiration and teachers in mindfulness.

Dr. Jonathon Fowles
Exercise is Medicine
Dr. Jonathon Fowles’ work through the Centre of Lifestyle Studies (CoLS) has focused on implementation of physical activity guidelines into clinical practice. He has spearheaded initiatives with many national and regional health organizations to increase capacity for physical activity counseling by health care providers. Dr. Fowles worked with the Diabetes Care Program of Nova Scotia in 2008 to develop the “Physical Activity and Exercise Toolkit” and developed workshops to train diabetes care providers on PA counseling in clinical practice. The resource was subsequently adopted by Diabetes Canada in 2011 as a required educational component of quality diabetes care, and he and his colleague (Dr. Chris Shields) completed over 50 workshops and trained over 1250 diabetes educators nationally in 2012-2014 to improve PA counseling in diabetes care practice. The results of this initiative have been detailed in the literature (Dillman et al,.CJD 010, Shields et al. CJD 2013, Fowles et al., CJD 2014a,b; Gray et al., CJD 2017).


Dr. Fowles then applied this learning from the national dissemination with Diabetes Canada to develop workshops and was the lead faculty presenter for the workshop program “Physical Activity Counseling and Exercise Prescription in Clinical Care” with Exercise is Medicine Canada. This nationally accredited workshop program was delivered in every province to more than 500 physicians and 1200 allied health professionals from 2015-2017. The outcomes of this work on clinical practice were evaluated and published (O’Brien et al., APNM 2017; Fowles et al., APNM 2018; O’Brien et al., CJEP, 2018).


Dr. Fowles was also on the Steering Committee for Canada’s PA Guidelines in 2011, and was the scientific lead for the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology “Physical Activity Training for Health (PATH) manual” (2013). He is a Master Examiner for CSEP exercise professional certifications (1 of 8 nationally) and is one of eight fellows nationally for CSEP.


Dr. Fowles is an accomplished researcher and presenter. He has more than 50 scholarly publications and has delivered over 120 workshop and 130 invited presentations on the areas of exercise and lifestyle. For example, he was an highligted symposium speaker at the Primary Medicine Conference in Toronto Ontario to over 1200 physicians and other health professionals in each of 2015, 2016 with additional presentations to many national organizations including the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine, the Canadian Diabetes Association, Canadian Rheumatology Association, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, the Canadian Chiropractic Association and Dietitians of Canada to name a few.


Dr. Fowles has received numerous recognitions for his efforts as a Fellow of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (2018), the Lawson Foundation 60th Anniversary Award of Excellence (2017), the Diabetes Care Program of Nova Scotia Dedicated Leader Award (2016) and the CSEP Professional Standards Program Recognition Award (2015).  Dr. Fowles is currently the Chair of the National Advisory Council for Exercise is Medicine Canada, a multi-disciplinary initiative advocating for physical activity as key component for the prevention and treatment of chronic disease in the Canadian Health Care system.