The Ontario Psychiatric Association is the provincial voice of Ontario's Psychiatrists. The OPA serves to:
- Facilitate the exchange of scientific information
- Promote the optimal level of professional development and practice
- Advocate for the mentally ill and their families
- Represent members to governments, universities, and other medical associations
- Promote the prevention of mental disorders in the province of Ontario
Introducing Dr. Javeed Sukhera – OPA 2019 President
The Ontario Psychiatric Association is delighted to welcome Dr. Javeed Sukhera to the position of President for 2019.
Dr. Javeed Sukhera, is Interim Chair and Assistant Professor, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada where he is also the Senior Designate Physician Lead for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at London Health Sciences Centre. Clinically, he provides consultation to the Child and Adolescent Mental Healthcare Program, the Paediatric Chronic Pain Program and the Transcultural Mental Health Program.
He completed his honours bachelor of science degree at Trinity College at the University of Toronto and medical degree at the Medical School for International Health (MSIH), an innovative collaboration between Columbia University and Ben-Gurion University in Israel that provides a four-year MD program with an emphasis on global health. He completed his residency in psychiatry and fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Rochester. He completed his PhD in Health Professions Education from Maastricht University.
He has participated on several provincial and national committees and councils including the Association of Professors of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Canada, Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Education Committee, Ontario Network of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services Steering Committee, Ontario Provincial Council on Maternal and Child Health, and is currently the President of the Ontario Psychiatric Association. He is also a member of the London Police Services Board. His research interests include mental illness stigma reduction, implicit bias in health professional education and facilitating authentic youth and community engagement with the health sector.
OPA 2019 Presidential Theme
Stigma in the Mirror: Breaking Stigma without Breaking Ourselves
This theme reflects the role of psychiatrists as health advocates, while recognizing the need for self-care, self-compassion, and stigma reduction towards self and others.
As psychiatrists, we bear witness to a broken system. Our system is prejudicially underfunded and hyper fragmented. As psychiatrists, we are persistently undervalued and stigmatized.
I often say that psychiatrists face a double-edged sword of stigma. Within the house of medicine, we are at the bottom of the hierarchy. Within the mental health community, we are often stigmatized as out of touch and privileged.
It does not have to be this way.
Ask yourself, why did you choose psychiatry?
I chose psychiatry because I thrived on connection. Psychiatry was the first rotation I felt truly human. Psychiatry was the only place I felt I was given the time, and afforded the opportunity to be my authentic self.
By the time I started practice, I was working in a busy inpatient service. I slowly began to feel like I was a hamster on a spinning wheel, running on a cycle of admission and discharge. Something was just not right.
In the context of our dysfunctional system I was tireless in my advocacy. The only way I knew how to reconcile the moral strain of psychiatric practice was to run faster, and work harder.
All I knew was how to keep disconnecting myself from what made me human. Before long I no longer felt human.
I know I am not alone.
And I am here today to let you know, that you are not alone.
My presidential theme: Stigma in the Mirror: Breaking Stigma without Breaking Ourselves reflects an important message.
In these deeply challenging times, our profession is under great strain. In this context, we remain steadfast in our advocacy. We are the fighters; the stigma-busters. When the system gets tough, we fight tougher. We work harder.
But we are at risk of losing ourselves.
We can be the change we seek; but change starts by looking in the mirror.
We can aspire to be the most compassionate version of ourselves while accepting our imperfections and vulnerabilities.
We can break the cycle of stigma without breaking ourselves.
I look forward to visiting you this year and sharing my message of advocacy, self-care, recovery, and compassion.
Javeed Sukhera, MD, PhD, FRCPC
Interim Chair, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Western University Department of Psychiatry
Senior Designate Physician Lead, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, London Health Sciences Centre