October 2023 Invited Speaker Rounds

Acknowledging a Holistic Framework for Health Professions Education (HPE) Learner Wellbeing: Intersections of Moral Philosophy and Population Health

Aliya Kassam, PhD

Research Lead, Office of Postgraduate Medical Education
Associate Professor, Community Health Sciences
Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Time: 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Hybrid: Life Sciences Centre 1312 & Zoom*

Zoom Details: For connection details, please email ches.communications@ubc.ca.


The reality that learner wellbeing in health professions education (HPE) can decline during training is prominent in the literature. Most wellbeing interventions, however, focus on individual level strategies and often address intellectual and occupational wellbeing, specifically related to skills for learning and working. This presentation will describe a series of studies and present data from environmental scans, scoping reviews, needs assessment surveys, focus groups and individual interviews to understand the construct of wellbeing in HPE learners. This presentation will also explore how the construct of wellbeing fits within a holistic framework based on theory, principles of moral philosophy and population health. Exploring the individual, programmatic, and systematic impacts on HPE learner wellbeing may assist in the culture change of HPE institutions and healthcare services alike. Consideration of upstream, midstream, and downstream effects in HPE learner wellbeing and population health more broadly can also inform curriculum development, competency assessment, equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives as well as continuous quality improvement.


Aliya Kassam, PhD is trained as an epidemiologist, ethicist as well as a health services and medical education researcher. She completed her doctorate under the supervision of British psychiatrist Sir Graham Thornicroft a world-renown mental illness stigma and discrimination expert and subsequently completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Dr. Kassam is also the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) lead for the O’Brien Institute for Public Health (OIPH). She is interested in wellbeing, advocacy and social justice and their intersections with health professions education (HPE) and healthcare. Her research program spans the areas of 1) residency physician training and competency assessment 2) HPE learner wellbeing and career development and 3) patient safety and engagement. Her program of research has implications for teaching and learning ethical principles as well as the role of stigma, power and culture in both healthcare and higher education systems.

Dr. Kassam is an internationally recognized researcher in measuring stigma and discrimination towards mental illness and is the founder of the learner wellness lab WISHES.

Accredited by UBC CPD

The Division of Continuing Professional Development, University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine (UBC CPD) is fully accredited by the Continuing Medical Education Accreditation Committee (CACME) to provide CPD credits for physicians. This one-credit-per-hour Group Learning program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by UBC CPD for up to 15 Mainpro+® credits. Each physician should claim only those credits accrued through participation in the activity. CFPC Session ID: 200716-001.

RCPSC ACCREDITATION: The CHES Cutting Edge Speaker Series is a self-approved group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.