Promoting Wellness Across the Continuum of Medical Education

As many of our residents and trainees were at the frontline during the first wave of the pandemic, ensuring their wellness needs were met became a top priority. The Postgraduate Wellness Office (PWO) supported the development and implementation of accommodations for postgraduate trainees at increased risk for serious health consequences from COVID-19. The office is working to ensure that postgraduate trainees are supported in line with the Guidelines for Trainees at Risk during COVID-19. These guidelines were established by an expert panel led by Dr. Matthew Muller.

The office also developed a workshop for postgraduate trainees: Residency during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Coping with Uncertainty and Change which has become the most frequently subscribed workshop by residency training programs during the pandemic. Additionally, the office created several videos to support wellness including an overview of PWO services for trainees and coping during the pandemic. The office has reached out to postgraduate trainees in quarantine, and redeployed trainees, to offer support, connection to services and information and continues to provide consultation to programs in collaboration with the PGMEAC Wellness subcommittee to support the wellness needs arising during the pandemic.

For the CPD community, two webinars series’ addressed the pressing issues that were raised in the early part of the year, delivering essential education for the University of Toronto health care community. Conceived by the COVID Clinical Faculty Wellness Working Group, the first series included 8 webinars with speakers from across the country covering topics of Mental Health & Resilience, Self-Care, Racism & Discrimination, Compassion Fatigue, Exercise & Nutrition, Sleep Health, Parenting, and Intimate Partner Violence. Learner interest and engagement for this series was strong. The average live audience was over 425 and an average of 160 viewed the recording. Many sessions ran overtime when trying to answer the large number of audience questions. The positive evaluation feedback along with numerous topic suggestions for future sessions show an appetite for future iterations of the wellness series.

The second series, Dialogues in Diversity, focused on Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and featured conversations among leading academics, EDI practitioners and social justice advocates whose work reflects the realities of COVID-19 and the challenges now being faced. Organized by the Centre for Innovation & Excellence in Child & Family-Centred Care at the Hospital for Sick Children, the series provided interactive and engaging space to support the critical analysis necessary to successfully address the social, economic and cultural inequities, now exacerbated by COVID-19. The series was presented via seven bi-weekly webinars in July and August and featured a wide range of topics such as neurodiversity, allyship and accommodation for remote work. Speakers included well known leaders in the EDI community including Dr. Pamela D. Palmater, Dr. Denise O’Neil Green and Dr. Roberta K. Timothy.


In total, over 2,500 attendees participated in this webinar series, and the initiative received very positive feedback. The success of the series has prompted organizers to continue delivering this important content and they are currently working on a similar series, planned for the spring of 2021.