Prince George distributed site rural

Distributed Resident Profile: Christin Fabriel-Leclerc

Prince George-based Psychiatry Resident aims to deliver expanded psychiatry services to Northern British Columbia; A profile of Dr. Christin Fabriel-Leclerc

Dr. Christin Fabriel-Leclerc is a fourth year resident in the UBC Psychiatry program and has been training in the Prince George distributed site.

Prior to entering her residency psychiatry, Christin was already living with her family in Prince George and working as a family physician. A large part of her practice involved shared-care psychiatry; a reflection of the demand for psychiatric services in Prince George. Christin found it to be a fascinating part of her work and was inspired to pursue further training. Fortunately, she was able to secure a position in the UBC Psychiatry program, which offered a distributed position right in her hometown!

Her experience training in Prince George has been one of evolving opportunities. The distributed program was originally designed for the first two years of training to be held in Prince George and then the final 3 years back in the Lower Mainland. Thanks to the support of the faculty in Prince George, there was significant growth in the learning opportunities in the psychiatry program. Christin is now the second UBC psychiatry resident to continue her full training in Northern BC.

Over the course of her residency, Christin has developed a great appreciation for training in a rural site. She values her close working relationships with her supervisors, in both clinical and administrative settings. When asked about working in Prince George, Christin replies, “It feels like everyone around me is invested in developing residents into future colleagues.”

She has also learned more about the unique needs and challenges that the smaller community faces. She notes that there is more turnover of psychiatrists and more limited psychiatric resources for inpatient and outpatient care.

Christin sees these challenges as opportunities to start new initiatives for psychiatry in Prince George. Newer treatment modalities, such as rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation), are mainly offered in the Lower Mainland and Christin is interested in helping bring these services to the north. Having done some electives in the Lower Mainland, she has also been finding her supervising psychiatrists to be very supportive of more comprehensive care for rural settings.

Amidst her training schedule, there is a lot in Prince George to keep Christin busy. With her husband and daughter, family time is always important. Prince George has a vibrant community life and her family is very involved. They participated in traditional French Canadian step dance and singing at the 100 day pre-2015 Canada Winter Games celebration.

Christin mentions that “it’s a well-kept secret” that Prince George has such a close-knit and active medical community. Every year, Prince George hosts the Northern Doctors Day. Physicians from nearby communities gather in Prince George and meet face to face. It is a great opportunity to bring everyone together in the medical community and sharing their experiences in working in rural BC.

Christin and her family live on a working hay farm. Though proving to be a great lifestyle,  it’s not all fun and games; they cut and bale over 1500 bales of hay for horses and cattle each summer. (More like hay farm Bootcamp!) On their farm, they also have three dogs, three cats and four Icelandic sheep. Looking after animals is very relaxing break from the business of residency-  to the surprise of many, sheep are great listeners and can be excellent therapists!

Christin sees her future psychiatry practice based in her home of Prince George. She thinks it’s particularly important to have a broad scope of practice in rural settings, to address the variety of needs from the community. She does have specific interests in neuropsychiatry, rTMS and ECT. From her time training across the province, she is also hoping to incorporate group therapy and group medical visits as methods of delivering more accessible psychiatric services to the Northern British Columbia population.

Christin thanks her many supervisors for guiding her through her residency training. She is particularly inspired by those who display a compassion and dedication toward their patients. She hopes to emulate their enthusiasm in teaching and passion for innovation in her own practice.

She truly feels residents are well-treated and appreciated in rural settings. They are made part of the community and taken in- in a personal way. Moreover, Christin knows that both the medical and public community are vested in their success. From speaking with other resident doctors, she finds that residents that “visit Prince George for rotations usually end up loving it here and wish they could stay longer!”

This article is courtesy of Dr. Bryan Chow, UBC Psychiatry Resident, Resident Doctors of BC Communications Committee Member.

author: Melissa Nilan