Wellness Efforts Exist but National Strategy Needed
by David Hodges
The Medical Post
January 11, 2005
Needs of student doctors being acknowledged; variety of initiatives at local level.
similar fashion to recent initiatives spearheaded by Canadian
physicians-such as the Canadian Physician Health Network, founded in
response to student concerns about wellness and mental health issues, the
Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS)--a volunteer national
organization representing more than 6,000 medical students at 13 member
The event, which took place in early May, emphasized the importance of physical and mental well-being while managing the stresses of medical student life. As part of Wellness Week, the CFMS also launched the inaugural Medical Student Awareness Day, designed to inform the medical community as well as the community at large about the health and well-being needs of student doctors.
are being made," said Ryan Chowdhury, a
fourth-year medical student at the
Part of the problem, Chowdhury said, is that wellness programs are run independently across the country and lack standards. Most of what is available is what students themselves or medical faculties have created on their own. "So it can vary quite a bit, depending on what school you go to."
Mamta Gautam, an
general, Dr. Gautam spoke highly of the various initiatives promoted by
the CFMS, a sentiment shared by Dr. Derek Puddester, director of the faculty wellness
program at the
this year's October issue of the Medical
Journal of Australia, Dr.
Puddester wrote about increased recognition
and awareness of the health and well-being of
addition, the CFMS focuses on the role of partners and family members
during an annual "significant others" night, he said. Another
program, at the
Allan Peterkin, a
Lack of funding
the benefits of recent initiatives facilitated in the last five to 10
years, but said student health and wellbeing awareness is still
hampered by funding--or rather, a lack of it. For example, the CFMS provides $6,000 per year for wellness programs at
"There's a difference being made by these programs, so as long as we realize that and continue to fund these programs, I think we can do a lot to make sure problems that existed in the past don't exist in the future."