The Award for Medical Excellence is presented to a physician who inspires others with exceptional care for patients, extensive knowledge of medicine, valued teaching, superior abilities and accessibility to colleagues throughout the hospital.
When Dr. Viviane Zicherman joined the JGH as a staff psychiatrist in 1977, her field was in transition, with new medications and treatments making it an exciting time to enter the practice. “It was a wonderful experience to start my career here,” she says. “The philosophy of team-centred work in a multidisciplinary setting was, and still is, extremely enjoyable.”
In 1989, Dr. Zicherman was appointed to her present position as Director of the Consultation Liaison Service, which consists of a small team of professionals working on a case-by-case basis in various departments, not just in Psychiatry. “It’s really moving to work with patients in so many medical situations,” she says. “Their courage and dignity are truly inspiring in what are often difficult times due to medical problems. And there are so many needs we can help fill, so much we can do as professionals.”
Dr. Zicherman has also trained residents throughout her JGH career, having served as Director of Education and Residency in Psychiatry from 1999 to 2006. Among the many changes she has witnessed since the late 1970s, the most notable is the increase in the number of women working in medicine. “Today you walk the halls and see women everywhere in all sorts of professional capacities. It makes me really proud and happy.”
The Award for Medical Excellence has thrilled her, Dr. Zicherman says, but even more exciting is recognition for the Department of Psychiatry. “Our department is often in the background, especially since we’re somewhat scattered throughout the hospital. All of my colleagues practice with a compassion that I try to emulate, so it’s great that we’ve been honoured.”