Meet our Core Team
Dr. Jane Lemaire, MD - Physician Lead
Dr. Jane Lemaire is a Clinical Professor, Division of General Internal Medicine, and Vice Chair, Physician Wellness and Vitality, Department of Medicine at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. She and her research colleagues have passionately advocated for recognition of physician wellness as a quality indicator of healthcare systems, and a shared responsibility for physician wellness that lies with individual physicians, the medical profession, and healthcare systems. Dr. Lemaire received the 2016 Canadian Medical Association Misericordia Award for her contributions to physician wellness.
Dr. Lemaire is also the Director of Wellness at the Office of Professionalism, Equity, and Diversity, as well as the Wellness Lead at the W21C Research and Innovation Centre, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. The W21C Wellness team has studied determinants of physician wellbeing, explored workplace nutrition on physician wellness, and studied the influence of coping strategies and personalities on physician wellness. Recent research explores how contextual factors within the complex healthcare work environment are linked to physician wellness, and patients’ views on physician wellness and how it links to patient care.
Alicia Polachek, MA - Program Manager
Alicia Polachek is the Program Manager for Well Doc Alberta, responsible for co-leading the initiative alongside Dr. Jane Lemaire. Alicia holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Sociology and is currently enrolled as a student in the Master of Business Administration program, all at the University of Calgary. Her specific research interests focus on the intersection between gender, work, and health, with expertise in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods research. Over the past 8 years, Alicia has worked with Dr. Lemaire on numerous studies in the area of physician wellness including topics such as physician resilience, the transition to independent medical practice, the role of the MTU preceptor/attending physician, anticipatory stress regarding trainees’ future job prospects, and patients’ perception of physician wellness. Her work has contributed to the publication of a number of papers in the area, including a recent paper on patients’ perceptions of physician wellness which received the 2018 Physician Well-Being Article Award from The WellMD Center at Stanford Medicine for the most impactful article of the year in the field of physician wellness. Alicia has also helped co-develop several workshops about physician wellness based on their team’s research, considering both individual- and system-level factors.
Dr. Jennifer J. Williams, MD - Physician Associate
Dr. Jennifer Williams is a clinical gastroenterologist and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. She is also the Site Lead for Gastroenterology at the Rockyview Hospital, a founding member and inaugural Chair of the Specialty Care Alliance within the Alberta Medical Association (AMA), and serves on the AMA Board of Directors.
Dr. Williams interests focus on respect, diversity, inclusion, equity, wellness, and leadership. In line with this, she has held leadership roles as a founding member of the Wellness Committee with the Division of Gastroenterology, University of Calgary, previous delegate to the AMA Representative Forum for the Section of Gastroenterology, and an integral team member in the ongoing development of the AMA’s Healthy Work Environments Initiative, which focuses on psycho-social wellness & safety, diversity, inclusion and equity, and leadership. Dr. Williams recently completed the Stanford WellMD Chief Wellness Officer Course and is currently enrolled in the Leadership Development Course at the University of Calgary.
Dr. Erica Dance, MD - Physician Associate
Dr. Erica Dance is an Emergency Physician and Clinical Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta. She currently works in the Emergency Departments of the Royal Alexandra Hospital and the Northeast Community Health Center in Edmonton.
In addition to practicing clinical medicine, Dr. Dance has an interest in physician health, student advocacy, and dispute resolution. Through her work, Dr. Dance’s goal is to increase awareness, knowledge, and support for physician health, and specifically for the unique issues faced by trainees in medicine. She is the Assistant Dean in the Office of Advocacy & Wellbeing of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta where she assists resident physicians with issues affecting their academic, work, or personal lives. Dr. Dance is a member of the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada’s Physician Wellness Task Force whose mandate is to create recommendations for a national physician wellness strategy which will influence residency education and promote a healthier training environment. Dr. Dance also has an adjudication role with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta as a member of the Hearing Tribunal and Complaint Review Committees.
Alissa Kazakoff, BSc - Program Assistant
Alissa is a recent graduate from the University of Calgary, completing a BSc in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise and Health Physiology. Alissa started working in health research six years ago on a variety of clinical studies in the Emergency Department of the Alberta Children’s Hospital before joining W21C in 2017. During her time at W21C, Alissa has been involved in clinical and policy research, most recently assisting in the inception of Well Doc Alberta and its first symposium. Given Alissa’s background in kinesiology and interest in health and wellness, she is very excited to continue her work with the Well Doc Alberta team over the next year!
Garielle Brown, MA - Evaluation and Measures Specialist
Garielle holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and an MA in Biological Anthropology from the University of Calgary. Her research interests include physician wellness, global health, maternal & child health, refugee health, and medical education both in the Canadian context and globally. Garielle supports Well Doc Alberta as our Evaluation and Measures Specialist. To this end she will be building and implementing an evaluation framework aimed at evaluating the creation and growth of the Well Doc Alberta program itself, its growing catalogue of educational materials, and physician wellness across the province.
Julia MacGregor, BC (Applied) – Public Relations – Communications Specialist
Julia holds a Bachelor of Communications (Applied) – Public Relations from Mount Royal University and a Knowledge Translation Professional Certificate from the University of Toronto. Julia has worked professionally in health care and health research communications since 2011. Previously she supported the communications and events activities of the Calgary West Central Primary Care Network’s physician membership of 300. Currently she is the communications advisor for the W21C Research and Innovation Centre, where she also supports Well Doc Alberta’s communication and outreach activities. Julia’s expertise lies in strategic planning, relationship building, external outreach, event planning, digital media development and writing for web, print, and social media.
Nishan Sharma, EdD - Education Consultant
Nishan is the Education Lead at the W21C Research and Innovation Centre, and a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary. After over a decade’s experience teaching undergraduate science, nursing, and medical students, he earned his doctorate in education in 2009, where his work focused on curricular change in medical schools. His current research interests focus on teaching and learning in undergraduate medicine. A qualitative and mixed methods researcher, he also coordinates educational activities and is involved in daily operations at W21C. Nishan has been working with the World Health Organization on the latest iteration of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) since 2017.