Medical Women’s Dinner Offers Practical  Strategies for Balancing Personal, Professional Life


by Nancy Dale

Ontario Medical Review Public Affairs and Communications Department

November 2004

More than 130 women physicians and medical students from the Niagara and Hamilton region attended the recent OMA "Dinner for Medical Women," held at the Kittling Ridge Winery Inn & Suites in Grimsby.

   Hosted by the OMA Women's Issues Committee and the OMA Public Affairs and Communications De­partment, the evening featured a keynote presentation by Ottawa psy­chiatrist Mamta Gautam, an expert on issues related to physician health and well-being. Dr. Gautam's presentation, enti­tled "Keeping the Balance: Practical Issues and Strategies for the Woman Physician," covered a variety of top­ics, including recognizing the early signs of stress and burnout, under­standing the biological factors that lead to emotional illness, and the importance of achieving a healthy balance between one's professional and personal life.


Many guests found Dr. Gautam's candid approach to these subject matters helpful. Referencing the many personal trials and tribula­tions that she experiences raising her own three sons, Dr. Gautam illus­trated to audience members that they are not alone in their daily bat­tles to balance family time and full patient rosters. Some of the themes touched upon during the presentation in­cluded the importance of taking time out to rejuvenate one's body, mind and soul, and the idea that taking on a new task, making dinner for the family, and squeezing in a few new patients at the end of the day - every day - will eventually take its toll. Following the presentation, one audience member echoed the gen­eral sentiment expressed by many of the guests when she said, "Dr. Gau­tam's discussion tonight made me realize that it is not considered a selfish act when I take some time out for myself because, in reality, I won't be of any use to anyone else - to my family or my patients ­unless I am in healthy form first!" Dr. Gautam reminded audience members that dealing with stress, and recognizing personal limits, will go a long way to achieving a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Many women also found the evening useful for networking with fellow medical women from sur­rounding communities who face similar challenges. Additional events hosted by the Women's Issues Committee are cur­rently being planned.


To obtain fur­ther information, contact Nancy Dale, OMA Public Affairs and Com­munications Department, at (416) 599-2580 or 1-800-268-7215, ext. 3304, or via e-mail (nancy_dale@