‘In Dialogue’ Episode 8: Dr. Jon Novick, OMA PHP Program

In episode eight of “In Dialogue,” CPSO Medical Advisor Dr. Vivian Sapirman speaks to Dr. Jon Novick, a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, addiction medicine specialist and Medical Director for the Ontario Medical Association’s Physician Health Program (PHP), about the vital role the confidential program plays in physician health, physician burnout and the importance of understanding it as a system issue vs. an individual one, and the stigma around seeking care.

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Dr. Novick runs a private practice in Oakville and is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto with a focused interest in medical psychotherapy. He also served as the inaugural Career Exploration Faculty Lead and the first Director of the Career Advising System with the MD Program at U of T. In addition to assisting physicians struggling with mental health and addiction problems, he enjoys helping learners with career development and established physicians find the best work-life balance.

The PHP provides a range of services to physicians, residents and medical students across Ontario, as well as supportive services to family members. The services align with the belief that physician health matters and that education, early intervention and treatment are important in helping to sustain a healthy medical workforce. Services to members include timely connection to treatment and resources, such as treatment of substance use or mental health conditions, counselling, coaching, and more.

The Physician Support, Advocacy and Accountability Programs (PSAAP), formerly known as the monitoring program, provides evaluative services for physicians and trainees where mental health, substance use or behavioural issues are a concern. The program allows the PHP to gather information, with consent, about how the individual is managing their health and wellbeing prospectively, to provide advocacy and support in the workplace, including any necessary accommodations, and to provide progress notes to agreed upon parties. It supports them as they work, and helps identify early signs of a potential relapse or recurrence of health or behavioural issues. Participation is voluntary, but may be requested by the workplace, training program or regulatory body.

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