Are Canadian medicine librarians directly supporting medical student health and wellness? A nation-wide survey




Introduction: Students in Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME/UME) programs face a variety of stressors that can impact well-being. To address this, the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) mandates that medical schools offer support and programming that promotes student well-being. Academic librarians are accustomed to providing outreach that meets their faculties’ needs. Therefore, the goal of this study was to explore if Canadian undergraduate medical education librarians are supporting medical student wellness at their medical schools, and how they are doing so. 


Methods: A bilingual, electronic survey containing multiple choice and open-ended questions was distributed across two Canadian health sciences library listservs during the summer of 2020. Librarians supporting UGME/UME programs now or within the last three years were invited to participate.


Results: 22 Responses were received, and 17 complete datasets were included in the final results. The majority of respondents have encountered a medical student in distress (n=10) and have adjusted their teaching style or materials to help reduce stress in medical students (n=9). Other initiatives such as resource purchasing, wellness-themed displays, planning wellness-themed events and spaces, and partnerships on campus in support of medical student wellness were less common.  


Discussion: The data in this study provides evidence that Canadian undergraduate medical education librarians are mindful of medical student well-being, and are taking steps to provide relevant support to this learner group. Librarians could adopt similar initiatives at their libraries to show support for learner wellness, and enhance their programs’ accreditation efforts in this area.

Author Biographies

Jackie Phinney, Dalhousie University

Instruction/Liaison Librarian: Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick

Lucy Kiester, McGill University

UGME Liaison Librarian




How to Cite

Phinney, J., & Kiester, L. . (2021). Are Canadian medicine librarians directly supporting medical student health and wellness? A nation-wide survey. Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association / Journal De l’Association Des bibliothèques De La Santé Du Canada, 42(3).



Research Articles