Who we are

Who we are

Led by family physician Dr. John Chiasson, the Professional Support Program (PSP) team has physician counsellors across Nova Scotia ready to respond to the urgent needs of physicians, veterinarians, medical and veterinarian students, residents, and their family members.

The physician counsellors include Drs. Maria Alexiadis (Halifax), John Chiasson (Antigonish); Michelle Dow (Meteghan Centre), Kara MacNeill (Amherst), David Saunders (Dartmouth/New Minas), Timothy Matheson (Bedford/Windsor), and Moira MacLean (Halifax/Dartmouth). Team members are linked with treatment providers throughout the province.

Team member profiles:

Dr. John Chiasson, PSP Director (Eastern Zone, Antigonish):

A family physician interested in community and leadership initiatives, Dr. Chiasson has been practising medicine for more than 35 years. He is a Past-President of Doctors Nova Scotia (DNS) and is past chair of DNS’s Physician Navigator Program. Experiencing stress and fear of failure while in medical school inspired Dr. Chiasson to find balance using time management skills and coping strategies. “I want to encourage my colleagues to experience choice and to take control of their own solutions. Success is more durable when we make decisions that reflect our own beliefs, ethics and skillsets.”

Dr. Michelle Dow, physician counsellor (Western Zone, Meteghan Centre):

Practising family medicine for 30 years in a mix of rural and urban settings, Dr. Dow works in a rural collaborative care practice in Meteghan Centre, along with five other physicians and a nurse practitioner. She is also a preceptor for a resident in a longitudinal family medicine residency program and is a Past-President of DNS. “Mental health issues in our profession cannot be ignored, but often doctors and their families do not know where to go for advice or help. I hope that I can help my colleagues and their families in times of crisis.”

Dr. Maria Alexiadis, physician counsellor (Central Zone, Halifax):

Dr. Alexiadis graduated from Dalhousie Medical School in 1988. She is a family physician and a general practitioner in psychiatry in the Early Psychosis Program at the Abbey J. Lane Memorial Hospital. She supports her patients through various life challenges and all aspects of health, including mental illness and psychological issues. She is a Past-President of DNS. 

Dr. Kara MacNeill, physician counsellor (Northern Zone, Amherst):

Dr. MacNeill attended Dalhousie for medical school and residency, and has been practising as a psychiatrist for 10 years. Since 2011, she has worked at Cumberland Mental Health and Addictions in Amherst. “My interest in this position stems from the frustration of watching my colleagues experience burnout and compassion fatigue, and seeing physicians struggling but still not getting help because of the stigma around mental illness.”

Dr. David Saunders, physician counsellor (Central Zone, Dartmouth/New Minas):

With his practice focusing on addiction medicine, Dr. Saunders specializes in opioid assisted treatment, general addiction consultation, and inpatient consultation at the Halifax Infirmary and the IWK (pre-and antenatal). He is also an abstinence-based rehabilitation medical consultant at Crosbie House in New Minas. “I became interested in physician health when I transitioned from family medicine to addiction medicine. I hope to focus on addiction, career fatigue and burnout.”

Dr. Timothy Matheson, physician counsellor (Central Zone, Bedford/Windsor):

Dr. Matheson splits his time between his office in Bedford and his practice in Windsor, where he also works as a hospitalist. Before becoming a family physician in 2008, he worked for the federal government and also completed a master’s degree in counselling, and graduate research in organizational burnout. “My past training and experience have given me an understanding of the determinants of emotional well-being and how to approach personal and interpersonal problem solving in a strategic way.”

Dr. Moira MacLean, physician counsellor (Central Zone, Halifax/Dartmouth):

Dr. MacLean combines her love for general practice with psychiatry. After graduating Dalhousie Medical School in 1996, she spent over two years as a psychiatry resident at the University of Toronto before transferring into family medicine. A member of the Medical Psychotherapy Association of Canada, she is excited to pursue further training in mental health/psychotherapy and plans to focus more of her practice in this field. “Physicians, medical students and other allied health professionals share common stressors and challenges in our personal and professional lives. I believe we need to help each other.”