A mentor committed to equity and balance for women and equity seeking groups
Dr. Pier Bryden is the 2020 recipient of the Mentor of the Year award for Region 3
Pier Bryden, MD, FRCPC, is a widely respected professional and mentor celebrated not only for her many accomplishments as a psychiatrist, scholar and ethicist, but also for her measured guidance to women and trainees from equity seeking groups.
Dr. Bryden has been a psychiatrist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto since 2001. She is also an associate professor in the University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine. Her mentorship style prioritizes advising her trainees to find appropriate work-life balance and to carefully consider their options before jumping into every new opportunity.
Jesse Kancir, MD, MPhil, MSc, MPH, CCFP, said Dr. Bryden is a phenomenal didactic educator who is committed to competence and professionalism, and whose mentorship has impacted his career in countless ways.
“She has actively taught me a model of physicianship rooted in compassion, contribution, and balance,” said Dr. Kancir. “As chief resident of my program at the University of British Columbia (UBC), I consistently use the tools and approaches she has taught me in shaping our program and guiding junior residents through their struggles and decisions.”
Alpna Munshi, MD, FRCPC, had high expectations for working with Dr. Bryden based on the latter’s reputation as a champion of diversity and equity issues – a focus of Dr. Munshi’s work. Dr. Munshi is the director of International Medical Graduates (IMG) training in the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry. During the political crisis in 2018 that affected Saudi Arabian visa trainees, Dr. Bryden’s mentorship made a key difference in Dr. Munshi’s work.
“Dr. Bryden’s excellent advice, feedback and guidance – which was out of the scope of most educators’ expertise – helped me feel I was taking the right steps in my role as director of IMG training as I supported these trainees during an extremely stressful time,” she explained.
Dr. Bryden has also been guiding Dr. Munshi to achieve the ever-elusive work-life balance that so many physicians seek. “Dr. Bryden is able to both appreciate the multiple demands I have in my life as a physician, academic, mother and wife, while at the same time encouraging me to pursue education research in a way that does not feel imposing.”
In speaking about her journey of discovery on issues of race, Dr. Bryden describes a situation where a racialized learner educated her about the appropriateness of expressing anger when confronted with examples of structural racism.
“I had told her that anger may not be the most effective approach,” said Dr. Bryden. “She was generous in explaining how my response reinforced academic cultural norms. I hope since then that I have done a better job of remembering as the senior in our relationship, that mentorship is primarily for the mentee and not about me and my discomfort. I’m there to validate their experience, and help them decide how to use it for their advocacy and activism.”