In 1994, Dean John Seely struck a Task Force on Professional Stress which was co-chaired by Noni MacDonald, MD, FRCPC and Simon Davidson, MD, FRCPC. The findings of the task force were disturbing, and highlighted a higher than expected rate of burnout, depression, and suicidality among medical faculty.
In response, the University of Ottawa founded Canada’s first Faculty Wellness Program (FWP). Under the directorship of Mamta Gautam, MD, FRCPC from 2000 - 2002, the program provided educational seminars, developed a web page, and helped hundreds of faculty members access health services. In late 2002, Derek Puddester, MD, FRCPC became the Director of the Program. He is assisted in his work by Rita Uson, Administrative Assistant who replaced Marie Laplante (2002-2003), and an Advisory Committee composed of representatives from most Departments and Divisions.
Until late 2002, the mandate of the FWP focused on faculty members. However, the mandate was broadened to include students, residents, and support staff. This mandate was altered again in late 2003, and the primary responsibility for medical students was transferred to the new Office of Student Affairs.