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Physician Wellness Through an Ethical Lens During Magnified Stress

With Guests
Dr. Eric Wasylenko & Dr. Cheryl Mack.

Hosted by Dr. Jane Lemaire.

Released on November 27, 2020
Episode Length: 52 mins and 33 secs

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In this episode of the Well Doc Alberta Physician Wellness Podcast, Dr. Jane Lemaire is joined by two experts in medical ethics, Dr. Cheryl Mack and Dr. Eric Wasylenko, to discuss how ethics and morality affect physician wellness, especially in times of increased stress. Drs. Mack and Wasylenko introduce the language and principles of ethics and morality. They also address moral dilemmas in medicine and identify strategies and supports to prevent moral stress from causing injury or burnout. Special consideration is given to how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the role of ethics in healthcare and physician wellness.

Learning Objectives

After hearing this podcast, listeners will be able to:

  1. List system-level supports for physicians experiencing moral distress

  2. Define moral universalism, nihilism, and relativism

  3. Describe common moral dilemmas experienced by physicians

  4. Explain why solidarity and trust are important for getting through the pandemic as a society


Eric Wasylenko, MD, MHSc (Bioethics), CCFP (PC)


Dr. Eric Wasylenko is a palliative care physician and clinical ethicist. He is involved with ethics deliberation, consultation and teaching, provincially and nationally, on a range of end of life, public health and health system topics.  He advises a number of health and government agencies, amongst other participatory and leadership roles with many organizations.  He has been fortunate to help lead the creation of multiple programs, facilities and wide-reaching policies that serve patients and clinicians.  Eric holds Clinical Associate Professor faculty appointments at the University of Calgary and University of Alberta.

Eric Wasylenko pic.jpg

Cheryl Mack, MD, MA, FRCPC


Dr. Cheryl Mack is an anesthesiologist and the Medical Lead for Complex and Essential Pediatric Medical Process. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Palliative Care and Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of Alberta, as well as an Adjunct Assistant Professor with the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre. She currently works with the ASSIST Program where she supports pediatric palliative care and complex symptom management. She is the Chair of the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society Ethics Committee as well as the Chair of Clinical Ethics for the Stollery Children’s Hospital, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, Walter C. Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre, and Edmonton Kaye Clinic.

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