CMA Joule learning series speakers

Dr. Jillian Horton


Dr. Jillian Horton is a general internist and is leading the development of new physician wellness courses for CMA Joule. She's completed chief wellness officer training at Stanford University and mindfulness training at the University of Rochester. She writes and podcasts regularly for CMAJ and Medscape and hosts a medical speakers series at the National Arts Centre. Her book on physician burnout, "We Are All Perfectly Fine", will be released by HarperCollins Canada in February 2021.

Dr. Mark Dermer


Dr. Mark Dermer is a telemedicine primary care physician and health care consultant. He worked for more than 25 years as a community family physician and was the founder and lead physician of an 11-doctor practice in Ottawa recognized as a Canadian leader in innovative, high-quality care. 

Dr. Dermer has also worked as a clinical advisor and physician educator for a subsidiary of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), served as a senior medical advisor to Canada Health Infoway and was medical director and chief privacy officer at Dialogue Technologies. He's the author of the recently launched Virtual Care Playbook, developed for CMA Joule and the CMA.

Dr. Robert Thirsk


Dr. Robert Thirsk has degrees in mechanical engineering, medicine and business administration, and has flown on two space missions as a member of the Canadian Space Agency's astronaut corps: in 1996 on the space shuttle Columbia as part of the Life and Microgravity Spacelab mission, and in a six-month expedition in 2009 aboard the International Space Station. Bob currently serves as chair of the Advisory Council on Deep Space Healthcare, a task force that is developing a potential leadership role for Canadian healthcare innovators in the exploration of deep space.

Jason Brooks


Jason Brooks is a performance psychologist who has done extensive coaching and consulting with physicians and other high-performance professions. Through this work, he has gained valuable insight on how to help physicians sustain themselves – mentally and physically – during times of crisis. He incorporates lessons from research on mindfulness, stress management, leadership development and reflective practice.

Maryam Hamidi


Maryam Hamidi has expertise in nutrition and behavioral medicine. As a member of Stanford Medicine WellMD & WellPhD Center team, she leads initiatives that promote personal well-being, self-care and a culture of wellness.  She is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition and completed her masters and doctoral studies in clinical nutrition, nutritional epidemiology and medical science at University of Toronto.

Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire (retd)


Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire (retd) is founder of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative. He's an advocate for human rights, author, government and UN advisor, and former Canadian Senator. Throughout his distinguished military career, General Dallaire served most notably as Force Commander of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. He continues to work to bring attention to the protection of children in conflict, the prevention of mass atrocities, and the struggle that he and many other military veterans face with post-traumatic stress disorder.


Dr. Ronald Epstein


Dr. Ronald Epstein is a leading authority on communication and mindful practice in medicine and on patient/family-centered care. He's the author of Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity, the first book for the general public about mindfulness in medical practice. Dr. Epstein is a professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, co-director of its Mindful Practice Programs, and director of its Center for Communication and Disparities Research.

Dr. Jared Bullard


Dr. Jared Bullard is a paediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Manitoba who works primarily out of the Children's Hospital in Winnipeg. Dr. Bullard is also an Associate Medical Director at the Cadham Provincial Lab in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Ted Bober


Ted held clinical and leadership roles in health care before joining the Ontario Medical Association's Physician Health Program in 2004. He currently serves as the Director of Clinical Services. Ted offers mindfulness practice to cultivate clarity about meaningful goals, to perform wisely and skillfully, and do so with kindness even in challenging high-risk situations.

Dr. Anita Chakravarti


Dr. Anita Chakravarti is a professor at the University of Saskatchewan and a retired anesthesiologist with a clinical interest in health care wellness initiatives. She served on the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada's Expert Working Group on Physician Health and has published on resident wellness. Dr. Chakravarti is currently Wellness Lead at the Continuing Medical Education at College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan and CEO of [M]Power Mindful Professional Practice.

Michael West


Professor Michael West is a Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund (London) and Professor of Organizational Psychology at Lancaster University Management School. For more than 30 years, his research has focused on organizational culture and effectiveness, particularly in health services. He provides policy advice to many UK and international health service organizations and works directly with a number of National Health Service (NHS) trusts and health boards to develop compassionate leadership.

Dr. Stephanie Smith


Dr. Smith is a Family Medicine resident and recent graduate of the Cumming School of Medicine (University of Calgary). Before medical school, she worked for 12 years as a critical care nursing officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, completing two deployments in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and a DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team) mission (or use deployment) to the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan. She has a Master’s degree in Disaster and Emergency Management, and served as President of Canadian Federation of Medical Students, where she led the introduction of the STRIVE (Simulated Training for Resilience in Various Environments) program.

Dr. Richard Szuster


Dr. Richard Szuster is a psychiatrist in private practice in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was born and raised in Alberta and graduated from the University of Alberta medical school. He initially trained in primary care medicine, practising in remote locations in northern Alberta, before undertaking residency training in psychiatry at the University of Hawaii. He is board certified in general psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and is also certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. In recent years, he has developed an interest in physician wellness and has been certified as a Mindful Practice Facilitator by the University of Rochester. He has developed and implemented a mindfulness-based curriculum for residents in training at the University of Hawaii, and has studied the impacts of the program on resident wellness.

Dr. Michael Kaufmann


Dr. Michael Kaufmann spent more than two decades as the founding director of the Physician Health Program at the Ontario Medical Association and is currently the Emeritus Medical Director of the Physician Health Program (PHP).  Trained as a family physician, he specializes in addiction medicine and is a diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine and a Fellow of the American and International Societies of Addiction Medicine.