Psychiatrist and role model, at home and elsewhere
Louis Thériault, MD, FRCPC, is this year’s recipient of the Mentor of the Year award for Region 5
Dr. Louis Thériault, head of the Department of Psychiatry of the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre, in Moncton, N.B., and clinical professor at the Université de Sherbrooke, Faculty of Medicine, is an ambassador par excellence for his specialty in New Brunswick, where he has been practising for more than 25 years.
For this outstanding medical educator and popularizer of science, mentoring is part of his identity. Inspired by the passion for teaching displayed by his own teachers, Dr. Thériault has always made it a point to help his colleagues to progress. “Even during my own training, I had the opportunity to give presentations and I saw that people were interested in what I had to say,” he explains.
Whether as a psychiatrist, professor, teacher, researcher or administrator, Dr. Thériault has been recognized wherever he goes for his humane qualities. Patient, meticulous, open-minded and willing to listen, he also knows how to use comedy to motivate the students he supervises.
“We produced a film to teach them about personality disorders. I played the role of a pretentious and somewhat haughty parish priest who displayed all the characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder. A student who had seen the film felt a little intimidated during supervision, not knowing whether I was dogmatically religious or excessively pretentious. She was quite reassured to find out that her supervisor was neither of those things. I also felt relieved when she confirmed that I was neither of those things!”
Dr. Thériault’s colleagues have nothing but praise for him. According to Étienne Marquis, MD, FRCPC, “Dr. Thériault was instrumental in establishing the atmosphere of camaraderie that reins in the Division of Psychiatry and that makes it one of the most dynamic in the province, on both the Anglophone and Francophone side.” Marc Vautour, MD, FRCPC, who has known Dr. Thériault for 17 years, also points out that Dr. Thériault — who is always keen to help others and promote a collegial atmosphere — has often come to the aid of colleagues in difficulty by offering them additional training and assistance with the supervision of cases so that all the members of his team have confidence in their competencies. This was not something he was required to do, but did on his own initiative.
A native Acadian, Dr. Thériault returned home in 1993 after studying in Quebec and Switzerland. His first goal was to forge ties with other universities in order to attract residents, with the goal of expanding the team of psychiatrists at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre, which had only three members at the time. The team now numbers 13.