Feature: A place to thrive
By: Eliana Chow
Every day, Pam Bere helps learners at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry thrive.
“Our medicine and dentistry learners face unique challenges each day. They have to perform under significant amounts of pressure, and it can be overwhelming,” said Pam Bere, Manager, Learner Experience Office.
A long-time staff member at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, she has been counselling medicine and dentistry learners for the past 14 years.
She helps learners develop practical tools to succeed in high-stakes clinical environments.
Through the years, the Office itself has shifted and grown to provide greater supports for students. Once nested within the Admissions and Student Affairs Office, it became a separate entity in 2012. This provided more opportunities to bridge a gap in available learner aid and freed staff to focus solely on providing professional and academic care to learners.
Within the past few years, the Learner Experience team has collaborated with other support offices across Western to offer care that is more inclusive to broader groups of students
There’s always more work to be done, however.
It’s why strengthening learner wellness has been identified as a goal in Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s new five-year Strategic Plan.
The plan states that the School’s ability to innovate and to influence health care locally and globally relies on enabling the people at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry to thrive.
That’s exactly what the Learner Experience Office focuses on. Their mission is to support future generations of physicians and dentists in their personal wellbeing, academic success and professional development.
And Bere considers is an honour to be part of the team supporting students.
A daughter of two beloved Schulich Medicine & Dentistry professors – Jo Ann, MD’68, and Jim Silcox, Bere spent her childhood exploring Western’s campus and visiting classrooms and offices.
She earned MEd in counselling psychology, launching her professional journey as a career and psychological counselor at Western’s Student Development Resource Centre. In 2007, when a counselling job opened up at the School, she jumped at the opportunity to return to her childhood stomping grounds.
A Schulich Award of Excellence recipient, Bere is known across the School for her empathetic personality and innovative spirit. It’s her focus on learners that has made her a household name with students.
“When I care for learners and with learners, I’m not simply reaching an individual. I also have the remarkable privilege of helping to impact all the lives these learners will change for many decades to come,” she said. “And I’m particularly honoured when people trust me with their stories.”