Thrive MD Physician Wellness



What is the Thrive MD Physician Wellness Program?

The Thrive MD Physician Wellness Program is a "hub" of offerings within the Thrive Learning Centre. The Thrive MD Physician Wellness Hub offers webinars and courses specifically developed by physicians for physician wellbeing. Program content includes the accredited Thrive MD Foundation Program and the Thrive MD Enrichment Courses, a variety of accredited webinars across all THRIVE health domains. The program is based on the THRIVE © Approach to Wellbeing,  a unique integration of key findings from research on wellbeing, brain neuroplasticity, resilience, preventative medicine, and behaviour change.

“The Fountain of Health is the first nationally scaled wellness and resilience program of its kind, developed by physicians to offer a scientific, evidence-based approach to improving health and wellness. We are proud to support and enhance this unique program, especially at this time where wellness of health workers is critical.“ - Dr. Katharine Smart, President, Canadian Medical Association

"Thrive MD has helped me jumpstart a number of great initiatives, one small step at a time. I have learned that we are what we repeatedly do. My Health Habit goal of walking to work a couple or times a week became almost daily -- and now it is two trips a day because I no longer drive so I walk home for lunch and back again. Encouraged by my progress, I started walking for fitness and I added in 6 km four or more times a week! Feeling better overall, then I stopped night time snacks. I lost 10 pounds in a month. Then I added in Interests and Relationships: I started playing guitar regularly with two friends. My joy has returned and I thank you." -Dr. John Chaisson, Family Physician, Nova Scotia 
Learn more and watch the videos on the Thrive MD Physicians Wellness Programs.

The Thrive MD Foundation and Enrichment Program
Tap into the Science of Wellbeing…in just 2 hours!

The Thrive MD Foundation Program is delivered by experts in the field. Program content was co-created with input from doctors across Canada at different career stages. Meet our team of  contributors.

The program is offered in two 1-hour accredited interactive webinars, 1 month apart:


Part 1: Jumpstart selfcare learning objectives!

Apply the THRIVE © Approach to Wellbeing, an effective 3-step approach to jumpstart a new health behaviour. The Wellness App can be used to track the goal, and receive support and encouragement.

Part 2: Assess impact learning objectives!

Assess the impact of the THRIVE © Approach on your wellbeing one month later.
Learn about more wellbeing resources and the Thrive MD Physician Wellness Hub.




Thrive MD Enrichment Courses

The Thrive MD Enrichment Courses are accredited webinars offered by experts in their fields across all THRIVE health domains.

See current Thrive MD Enrichment Courses below

(Note: All course times are listed in Atlantic Timezone)





Self-Compassion for Physicians


Radical Self-Compassion for Women Physicians


To be Scheduled

To be Scheduled


Physician Nutrition

Downward Docs: Yoga for Physicians (not accredited)

To be Scheduled

To be Scheduled


Optimal Aging 2-part Series

To be Scheduled


“5-Minute CBT” 5-week Course

Less Screen, More Green Course  

To be Scheduled

To be Scheduled


Use the Wellness App

(not accredited)

Self-directed! Visit (link is external)


Intro to Mindfulness              

4 - Week Mindfulness Course

“A to Zzzs” of Better Sleep 

To be Scheduled

To be Scheduled

To be Scheduled

Click below for all Thrive MD Foundation Program & Enrichment Courses:  


Click on the THRIVE Action areas below to to explore course details:

Thoughts: Positive Thinking Courses 

Self-Compassion Course for Physicians (1-hour online course)

Physicians tend to be perfectionistic and self-critical. Do you have a habit of thinking in harsh or negative ways? The self-compassion course can help.

Course objectives:

Instructors: Dr. Keri-Leigh Cassidy and Mr. James Torbert

Register your interest here

Radical Self-Compassion Course for Women in Medicine (2-hour online course)
Women physicians: Learn about radical self-acceptance and self-compassion to realize your fuller potential.

Course objectives:

Instructor: Dr. Keri-Leigh Cassidy

Register your interest here

Healthy Habits - Physical Activity and Healthy Eating

Health Habits Courses:
As a physician, you take great care of others’ health. Are you ready to make your own physical health a greater priority?

Downward Docs: Online Yoga Classes for Physicians (6-week online course)

This 6-week yoga course specifically for busy physicians will be offered on Thursdays from 12:00-12:30 pm for a nominal fee. Note this course is not accredited.  

Instructor: Jolene d’Entremont 

Learn more and Register here

Physician Nutrition Course:
Improve Your Relationship with Food to Nourish Yourself
(1-hour online course)

Course objectives:

Instructor: Dr. Michael Vallis  

Learn more and Register here

Relationships - Social Acitivty

Relationships Courses:

Thrive MD: Optimal Aging Course for Physicians 50 years+ ( 2-Part series)

Do you ever have negative thoughts about aging? Learn about healthy aging and why your outlook matters. Join your peers in a path towards optimal aging.

Course objectives:

Instructors: Dr. Margaret Casey & Dr. Amy Gough

Learn more and Register here

Interests - Brain Challenge

Interests Course:
As physicians, we tend to spend time on familiar interests and our areas of expertise. Are you ready to learn something completely new?

“5-minute CBT”: (5-Week Online Course for Clinicians)

In this 18-hour CME-accredited course, you will learn to apply the THRIVE © Approach to Wellbeing and jumpstart your own self -care and wellbeing, as well as your patients. Deepen your understanding of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) - based tools to apply to yourself and your practice.  

Course objectives: 

Instructors: Dr. Michael Vallis & Dr. Keri-Leigh Cassidy

(link is external)Learn more and Register here


Less Screen, More Green: Wellness Strategies for This Digital Age
(1-hour Online Course)

This CME-accredited course will describe the Mindful Tech Plan and how to implement wellness strategies in this digital age.

Course objectives:

Instructor: Dr. Kerry Crofton

(link is external)Learn more and Register here





Valued SMART Goal-Setting
As physicians, we tend to set overly-ambitious goals we fall short on, that can leave us feeling defeated. Learn how to set meaningful goals that you can actually meet. SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Meaningful, Action-orientated, Realistic and Time-limited.

Available to all clinicians, The Wellness App  supports you to set and meet valued SMART goals and to receive support along the way. Useful for your own wellbeing, and for patients in your practice too.

Note: Physicians who register to use The Wellness App, please register yourself “I am a Physician using the App for myself.”



Using The Wellness App is a self-guided experience. If you would like to earn CME credit for using the Wellness App, and have some support to set and meet your goals for yourself or in your practice, then please register for our “5 minute CBT” Online Course listed under Thrive MD Courses “Interests” category, or (link is external)Learn more and Register here


Emotions Courses:
A to Zzzs of Better Sleep (1- hour webinar)

Would you like to get a better sleep and lower your stress level? Now is a good time to take better care of your emotional wellbeing.

Course objectives:

Instructor: Dr. David Gardner

Learn more and Register here

Introduction to Mindfulness for Physicians (1-hour Online Course)

Join this one hour introductory session on mindfulness physicians. This course should be taken prior to enrolling in the 4 - week mindfulness course.

Course objectives:

Instructor: Dr. Nicole Herschenhous

Learn more and Register here

4 - Week Mindfulness for Physicians (4- week Online Course) 

A 4 - week course to deepen your practice of mindfulness.

Note:  4-week course participants must first take the “Introduction to Mindfulness” course above.

Course objectives:

Week 1:  Mindfulness of the Body and Feeling Tones

Week 2:  Mindfulness of Speaking/Listening and Mindfulness of Emotions

Week 3:  Compassion

Week 4: Review, Choiceless Awareness, Wrap Up

Thrive MD Course Instructors

Dr. Margaret Casey graduated from the Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine in 1968.  In 1972, she began to work at  the North End Clinic as it was then known, which had been established in Halifax the preceding year. 


VIEW MOREDr. Keri-Leigh Cassidy is a Professor of Geriatric Psychiatry at Dalhousie University, and the founder of the Fountain of Health™ Initiative for Optimal Aging. Dr. Cassidy is a faculty member of the Atlantic Contemplative Centre and a mindfulness instructor. 

Dr. John Chiasson is a family physician practicing in Antigonish with a passion for music and a special interest is physician wellness. Dr. Chiasson has been director of Doctors Nova Scotia’s Professional Support Program for the past five years. Dr. Chiasson is an instructor of the Thrive MD Foundation Program.

Kerry Crofton is a health educator, concerned parent and member of the (link is external)IEFA . She is Co-founder and Executive Director of the International Advisory Board of Doctors for Safer Schools.


Dr. David Gardner is a Professor with the Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. He completed training in pharmacy, community health, and epidemiology at U of T, UBC, and Dalhousie University.


Dr. Elisabeth Gold is an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Continuing Professional Development at Dalhousie and a full-time medical psychotherapist in her own practice in Halifax. She also works part-time at the Halifax Sexual Health Centre. 


Dr. Amy  Gough is a resident in the geriatric psychiatry subspecialty program at Dalhousie University 2021-2023. Prior to this, she completed a Bachelor of Arts & Science at McGill University and obtained her MD from Dalhousie in 2017. 

Jolene has been a Yoga Teacher, Studio Owner, Breathwork Facilitator and Coach for 20 years.  She has been offering yoga to healthcare providers for a number of years. Jolene d’Entremont's yoga practice will help you ease stress, build muscle, or focus on the present.

Dr. Nicole Herschenhous 
is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Dalhousie, a perinatal psychiatrist at the IWK, and the psychotherapy coordinator for the Dalhousie Psychiatry Residency Program. 


Dr. Ali Manning is an Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University and Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the Isaac Walter Killam Hospital in Halifax.  Dr. Manning has a passion for education, and is involved in teaching and curriculum design within both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. 

Jim Torbert is the director of the Atlantic Contemplative Centre (ACC), has been teaching and facilitating applied mindfulness for over 40 years. He has facilitated mindfulness sessions for businesses, healthcare providers, public programs, and educational institutions.

Dr. Michael Vallis is a registered health psychologist based in Halifax. He is a health behaviour change consultant and associate professor in family medicine at Dalhousie University. He spends most of his time training health-care providers in behaviour change for chronic disease management. 

Dr. Zenovia Ursuliak is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Psychiatry at Dalhousie University. As a psychiatrist she integrates pharmaceutical approaches with nutritional and lifestyle counselling, psychotherapy, and herbal medicines.

Learn more about the Fountain of Health and

Thrive MD Physician Wellness Program


Founder Dr. Keri-Leigh Cassidy
Introduces the Thrive Learning Centre


Dr. John Chaisson describes the science of the
THRIVE © Approach to Wellbeing


Dr. Ali Manning shares her
Thrive story

Thrive MD Stories

What Are Physicians Saying? 

Physicians across Canada are using the Thrive MD approach to thrive, even in these stressful times. Hear their stories below.
Video testimonials:




Dr. Chris Frank posted his Thrive MD goal on social media! Using Thrive MD goal-tracking he accomplished something he had wanted to do for 50 years, just before his 57th birthday!



Dr. Linda Gobessi used the Thrive MD approach to stay connected with her friends during the pandemic while spending time in nature. Hear Dr. Gobessi’s inspiring message! 



“Thrive MD was a really powerful experience to set goals with someone else. It can also be enlightening. When you drill down and realize the barriers to coming up with a concrete move, it’s a humbling experience, and it helps to have support around that.”
 – Thrive MD Physician Participant

“The program integrates the evidence about brain health and wellbeing, and offers tools to support healthy behavioural change. The opportunity for impact is significant…  Our brains can change in response to our activities throughout our whole lives… (This means) it is never too late or too early to learn how to shift lifestyle habits.”
- Family Physician

“The Thrive MD program helped shift my habits and my outlook, and it didn’t take much time to do… In just a few weeks my thinking changed from “I’m too busy for self-care,” to “I actually can fit this in, and want to keep going.” It shifted my outlook, and now I find myself wanting to add a few more microgoals that are doable for me, and help me to keep better balance.”
 – Early Career Physician



We would love to hear from you!

If you have a Thrive MD story to share, email us or share a short video to tell us about or share your THRIVE activity at (link sends e-mail)

Are you a member of a professional organization?

Our National Speakers’ Bureau members are expert clinicians, academics and leaders in the field from across Canada. To request a talk from our Speakers’ Bureau at your upcoming conference or meeting, visit our Organizations Page


Additional Physician Wellness Resources:


Why is the Thrive MD Program needed?  

Physicians today are struggling. Even before the pandemic, burnout among physicians was prevalent. In 2019, 75% of healthcare providers reported high levels of stress and 50% reported depression, anxiety and insomnia. In 2021 in Ontario, almost three-quarters (72.9 %) of physicians reported some level of burnout.  

A 2016 meta-analysis in the (link is external)Lancet shows physicians can benefit from both systemic and individual interventions to reduce burnout and sustain benefit. The Thrive MD Physician Wellness Program supports change at both individual and systems levels: at the individual level by supporting physicians to create their own individualized self-care plans, and at the systems/ cultural level by normalizing physician self-care in medicine. For example, as far as we are aware, the Thrive MD Physician Wellness Program is the first integrated, accredited evidence-based self-care program of its kind for Canadian physicians developed by physician experts and available at no cost to physicians.  

Preventative self-care strategies by physicians can also stand to benefit our patients as well. According to (link is external)research by a member of our team Dr. Erica Frank, Canada's Research Chair in Preventative Medicine, physicians who practice preventative health practices themselves are more likely to recommend preventative health practices to their patients, and their patients are more likely to adhere to healthy behaviours.

For more information on the Thrive MD Physician Wellness Program, please email our Project Manager at or follow us on (link is external)Twitter@NS(link is external)THRIVE(link is external)MD. If you are interested in bringing the Thrive MD Physician Wellness Program to your Department or colleagues where you are, please reach out to us at



THRIVE includes six high impact actions known to promote wellbeing.


Links to THRIVE Actions





Thrive MD Co-Creation & Support Team


Dr. Amy Gough
Dr. Nicole Hershenhous
Dr. Alexandra Manning
Dr. Zenovia Ursuliak
Dr. Michael Vallis

Other Universities:

Dr. Chris Frank (Queen's University)
Dr. Erica Frank (University of British Columbia)
Dr. Linda Gobessi (University of Ottawa)
Dr. Cindy Grief (University of Toronto)
Dr. Anne Hennessey (University of Ottawa)


Dr. John Chaisson  (Lead, Physician Support Program)
Ms. Jennifer Boyter (Policy Advisor)


Ms. Jean Robinson Dexter (Thrive MD Project Manager)
Ms. Daria Parsons (IT Project Manager)



Our Partner Organizations





Our Funders

The Thrive MD Physician Wellness Program is an initiative of the Fountain of Health Association, in collaboration with Doctors Nova Scotia and the Department of Psychiatry.


The Thrive MD Physician Wellness Project is funded as part of a 10-year, $115 million commitment by Scotiabank, MD Financial Management and the
Canadian Medical Association
 to support the medical profession and advance health in Canada.


We would also like to acknowledge generous funding of the Brain Health and Wellness project by the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation.


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