Resident Spotlight: Dr. Jennifer Grbevski, PGY1, Psychiatry

Dr. Jennifer Grbevski, PGY1, Psychiatry has always been fascinated with the mind and body. It was in medical school when she made the connection that medicine is art, like an attractive painting, a well-cooked meal or a beautifully sequenced yoga class.

What drew you to the residency program at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?

I had good experiences with my preceptors when taking my electives at Schulich Medicine and I live in Windsor, so it was ideal to be able to do my psychiatry residency in my hometown.

Why did you choose to pursue medicine?

I spent a lot of time expressing myself artistically through dance, art, baking and instructing yoga classes. When exploring career options, I became fascinated with the mind and body. It wasn’t until I was in medical school when I made the connection that medicine is art, like an attractive painting, a well-cooked meal or a beautifully sequenced yoga class. When I experience art, I feel everything with all my senses, taking in the beauty I see, smell, hear and touch. When I practise medicine, I experience the sophistication of the human organism. The way we balance from physiology to pathology. For me, the art of medicine is not the treatment of illness. The art of medicine is the perfect orchestra of healing and saving.

Describe your experience as a resident at Schulich Medicine?

My experience as a resident so far has been excellent. I am currently in my third month of PGY1. The transition from medical school to residency has been smooth due the supportive and educational environment here in Windsor. All the physicians I have had the pleasure to rotate with so far have been great teachers and role models.

What is the most important lesson you have learned through patient care?

Being immersed in the patient care environment, I quickly learned to understand how to meet the patient where they are at and the importance of unconditional positive regard.

What activities/initiatives are you involved with that help bring balance in your life?

I enjoy teaching yoga. I have dedicated time to teaching yoga to inpatients in a specialized mental health care centre. I am apart of a group called Stigma Enigma that is dedicated to decreasing the stigma associated with mental health issues and suicide awareness. Stigma Enigma also raises money for Maryvale Adolescent and Family Services. I also recently joined the Mental Health Seminar Series through the Greater Essex County District School Board. The Mental Health Seminar Series involves educational talks on mental health issues provided for citizens of Windsor Essex County. I am also co-leading suicide awareness and changing practices around suicide prevention. I am an advocate and endorsing the care pathways to reducing the risk of suicide in daily practice.

What/Who inspires you?

My mother, Sonja Grbevski, inspires me the most. Her empowering nature and confidence have always been something I emulate. It’s the resilience my mother possesses that inspires me to be the best physician I can be.

What’s the most interesting thing about you, that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?

I’m an identical twin.

What was your greatest challenge?

Leaving my home country at the age of 18 to study medicine on another continent. I quickly had to mature and learn to embrace all new experiences life throws at you.

What project would you consider your most significant career accomplishment to date?

I’ve had the opportunity to present at two international conferences in the field of psychiatry, which led to my role as the representative for Canada in the Young Psychiatrist Network. In addition, I am an advocate for mental health awareness and prevention for youth and young adults at the local level.

What are the titles of the last three books you have read?

The last three books I have read are; How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; and lastly, Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes.

If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be and why?

If I could have dinner with anyone from history it would be Stephen Hawking. Despite having physical challenges, he did not let a disability stop him from becoming one of the greatest minds our planet has seen.