BY JAMIU BUSARI (@JOBUSAR)
Jerry Mathew Maniate (@ManiateJ)
Associate Professor, University of Ottawa
Division of General Internal Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital
Clinical Investigator, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Researcher, uOttawa Music, and Health Research Institute
Founding Director, Equity in Health Systems Lab
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Jerry M. Maniate, MD, M.Ed, FRCPC, FACP, CCPE, is a dynamic health system leader and educator. His diverse leadership roles have informed his vision of creating a health professions education system that supports systems of health care delivery. He currently holds the position of Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa and has been a physician in the Division of General Internal Medicine at The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) / University of Ottawa since 2017. Dr. Maniate is also currently the Canadian Association for Medical Education (CAME) organization’s Liaison Officer (after serving several terms on the Executive Committee) and the co-chair of the Canadian Medical Education Journal Management Board. Additionally, he is the Founding Director of the Equity in Health Systems Lab (www.eqhslab.com). He recently stepped down as the past Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion, and Education at TOH.
Becoming a successful Clinician Educator
Born in Winnipeg, Jerry completed medical school and residency at the University of Manitoba. His journey to becoming a CE (Clinician Educator) began during the formative years of his undergraduate and residency training and continued through his executive roles with the Canadian Association of Internes and Residents (now Resident Doctors of Canada). He credits his role models as an influence in his CE journey, sharing, “My mentors encouraged me to pursue education as a career path and so I headed to the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)/University of Toronto to complete my Master of Education.” Dr. Maniate had the distinction of being the first Joint Fellow between the Wilson Centre and Centre for Faculty Development. At the end of his studies, he started a joint clinical and academic appointment at St. Joseph’s Health Centre (Toronto, Canada).
His work in medical education, leadership, and anti-racism & social justice have not gone unnoticed. Dr. Maniate has been recognized as a member of the Society for Academic Continuing Medical Education (SACME), is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, and also a Canadian Certified Physician Executive (CCPE) from the Canadian Society of Physician Leaders (CSPL). Moreover, he is a recipient of a Honorary Life Membership by the Resident Doctors of Canada (RDoC) (2007) and Young Leaders Award (Resident) from the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) (2008) for his advocacy and leadership work. He was nominated in (2021) by the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) as a Culture Changer and continues to advocate for medical learners.
How does he do it? Advice for a fruitful career – and work/life balance
When asked to describe how he distributes his time, Dr. Maniate responded was that there was considerable variability on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis. Presently, he spends about 30 weeks (or about 7 months) per year working clinically on inpatient wards and consultation services at The Ottawa Hospital. While he does not have formal protected time for academic (including teaching and research) and leadership activities, he spreads these throughout the year including during clinical weeks, albeit at a lower intensity. “This has allowed me to ensure that I prioritize my family and my faith in my life which are critical to my purpose” he says. Practically speaking, this means that he is able to be present for such things as soccer games, skating lessons, important school activities, bedtime routines, family occasions, and his faith community. Put in percentages, he estimates about 58% of his academic time is spent in clinical work, 20% is dedicated to his research activities while another 22% goes to admin and leadership tasks. Bottom line, he says, “Each day is a unique set of experiences, encounters, and opportunities to make a difference.”
Dr. Maniate shares that having a diverse portfolio of activities has resulted in opportunities and connections he has experienced through his academic and personal journey. As an individual who began his clinical and academic career in a community setting at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, maintaining his scholarly activities and educational leadership involvement was critical to staying connected with scholarly colleagues. The support from colleagues and mentors at the Wilson Centre, the Centre for Faculty Development, and the University of Toronto were instrumental for his academic work at St. Joe’s, Through the collaborations with local colleagues, context relevant community-based medical education and research/scholarship opportunities were fostered and promoted.
More recently, the necessity to transition from a formal leadership role was a challenge as it was unexpected. However, this transition was eased by the “amazing support” of his wife, family, faith community, clinical division colleagues, and a few close friends in academia. He credits this rich network of mentors and supporters as the key to his ability to take time, examine, and reflect on his extremely diverse career – thereby refocusing his efforts in teaching, research and leadership into a space that has considerable meaning for him. The result was the conceptualization and launching of the Equity in Health Systems Lab within a one month period.
The lab is a transdisciplinary community of international collaborators seeking to make an impact on the identifying, understanding, and addressing the inequities we experience in the health system as patients, providers, and populations. In taking this step forward, Dr. Maniate has been able to harness past experiences and networks to identify, explore, and address new challenges, such as creating authentic and supporting clinical environments for patients and staff/physicians/learners, in novel ways.
Reassess and Divest
Like many in academia, Jerry tends to become engaged with exciting opportunities and activities that are interesting and align with his career goals. His greatest challenge is that many things interest him as a ‘generalist’ CE, and when enthusiastic individuals approach him with excellent ideas to address significant concerns, he finds it difficult to say “no”, or “not at this time”. Over time, there is an overall net gain that occurs, which then begins impinging on family/personal priorities.
From time to time, Dr. Maniate has had opportunities to pause, reflect and reevaluate his activities. Doing so allows him to be intentional in ensuring that his activities align with his values and goals. This exercise gives him ‘formal’ permission to step back or even away from certain activities that no longer align and thus open opportunities for others to step forward and support their own academic trajectory. Doing this on a regular basis, he says, “allows me to stay focused on my purpose and goals.”
Early in his academic career, Jerry was introduced to key frameworks and concepts that he has actively integrated into each challenge that has been posed. For example, using Kern’s Framework for Curriculum Development in Medical Education has allowed him to take work projects or consultations with colleagues and transform them into scholarly projects. This ‘double dipping’ approach has allowed him to take a set of disparate projects and use them as evidence of his work in curriculum development.
Three tips for junior CEs: take time….to pause & reflect, to listen and to be grateful
- Take time to pause and reflect. As busy clinicians and faculty, there is a tendency to just keep going. It is important to recognize that there are many learning experiences that we often do not learn from because of how busy we are. Pausing and reflecting serves: 1) to support us as we strive for better care and experience for our patients and learners, 2) to guide us as we seek to find harmony, joy, and gratitude in each day, 3) to help us align our activities with our defined values and goals, and 4) to help our learners as we role model desirable behaviours and strategies.
- Take time to listen. There is a tendency for those in academia and medicine to be promoted for proposing solutions and self-promoting. Instead, we should take time to authentically listen to our patients, to our learners, and to our colleagues. Listening with a humble heart allows us to unlearn and relearn, explore our biases, and seek opportunities to advocate, partner and co-create with others.
- Take time to be grateful. Instead of striving for self-adulation and self-promotion, demonstrate gratitude for your families/loved ones, your friends, your colleagues, your learners, and your patients. Consciously adopting and expressing gratitude can transform one’s perspective on life. It can help us find joy in everything we do, and in every encounter we have. As a physician and as an educator, there is much to be thankful for, even in the challenging times that we may experience.
“It is not your business to succeed, but to do right; when you have done so, the rest lies with God.” – C.S. Lewis
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