Providing care in the clinical areas of chronic pain, mental health and substance use, either alone or as co-morbidities, can be challenging. The BC Adaptive Mentorship Network for Pain, Mental Health and Substance Use (BCAMN) was launched in March 2022 to build primary care capacity to support British Columbians living with chronic pain, mental health and substance use conditions.
BCAMN is intended for community-based primary care providers and allied health care professionals. It connects health care provider Mentees with professional Mentors on the topics of chronic pain, mental health and substance use through safe, non-judgmental group-based mentoring and learning opportunities, and on-demand one-to-one mentoring conversations. Mentors and Mentees come from a wide variety of primary care disciplines (including medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, social work and more) and from all regions of British Columbia.
To meet growing demand, the BCAMN is increasing the number of Mentors from eight to twelve. The Mentors work in pairs facilitating a small group of Mentees. Most groups meet monthly but may adapt their meeting schedule to meet the preference of the group members. One-to-one mentoring is available outside of the small groups. Mentees can engage in the National Adaptive Mentoring Forum – an online community of practice for Mentors and Mentees across Canada. There will also be opportunities to engage in province-wide and national workshops.
Compensation and funding
There is no cost to Mentees who join BCAMN. Mentors are compensated for their time.
BCAMN is supported by a funding agreement from Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program provided to the Centre for Effective Practice, the Atlantic Mentorship Network – Pain & Addiction, and Pain BC.
Frequently asked questions
Adaptive mentorship is a safe, non-judgmental experience providing opportunities for clinical conversations tailored to Mentees’ evolving needs. Adaptive mentorship is not a consultative service; rather, it provides an opportunity for Mentees to build knowledge and skills in a supportive networking environment.
Three fundamental tenets of adaptive mentorship:
- Ensure the form of mentorship is adaptive and fits the needs of the participants
- Ensure there is bidirectional value/learning for both Mentor and Mentee
- Create safe and compassionate spaces that cultivate trust and enhance resiliency amongst participants
Adaptive mentorship encourages capacity building through:
- Examining and addressing systemic and clinical barriers to timely access and supports for people experiencing chronic pain, mental health and substance use conditions1
- Building and enhancing connections between specialized services and community/primary care1
- Encouraging longitudinal support that is well aligned with complex care needs1
Adaptive mentorship can include different:
- Environments: in-person, email, phone, video conferencing
- Forms of mentoring: one-to-one, group, peer
- Purposes/durations: discussing single cases vs. longitudinal spanning years
An evaluation of the Collaborative Mental Health Network and Medical Mentoring for Addictions and Pain Network, and Ontario adaptive mentorship network on which BCAMN’s model is based, showed:
High satisfaction among Mentees:
- 90% reported improvement in their knowledge1
- 83% reported improvement in their competence around clinical skills1
- 82% reported improvement in their confidence in managing care for people with complex health conditions1
- 70% reported a positive impact on patients’ quality of life2
Beneficial system impact:
- 60% reported seeing more patients with complex health conditions who live with chronic pain, mental health or substance use1
- 40% reported a decrease in seeking consultations1
- 60% reported being able to assist colleagues with patients who have complex conditions1
Mentors plan engagement with Mentees by:
- Collaborating with BCAMN Co-Directors and Coordinator in developing and delivering creative evidence-based initiatives that enhance the learning experiences of Mentees
- Assisting in the development of small group meeting design, format and content aimed to facilitate growth and learning for Mentees
- Working with the Coordinator and Co-Directors to schedule and deliver small group sessions
Mentors engage with Mentees by:
- Providing advice and support within the scope of clinical expertise
- Covering key competencies while helping Mentees navigate clinical situations
- Providing one-to-one mentorship to Mentees
- Responding to Mentees’ communications within 48-72 hours
- Hosting in-person and/or virtual small group sessions with support from BCAMN Coordinator
- Contributing to discussions via the National Adaptive Mentoring Forum
- Supporting the development of compassionate, non-judgmental learning communities
Mentees engage in BCAMN by:
- Attending and actively participating in group mentoring sessions
- Attending and following up on any one-to-one mentoring sessions they have scheduled with a Mentor
- Responding to Mentors’ communications within 48-72 hours
- Interacting collaboratively with BCAMN community, including Mentors, Medical Co-Directors and the Coordinator, to ensure a rich and meaningful Mentee experience
- Complying with the guidelines set out within BCAMN for one-to-one communications and group interactions
- Participating in network communication and activities, including the National Adaptive Mentoring Forum, as needed
Mentees support BCAMN by:
- Providing input and feedback to BCAMN leadership and support team
- Providing insight and input on strategies to gain momentum and support for BCAMN
- Promoting the merits of mentoring, along with informing and influencing the larger system, in a climate of continuous quality improvement
Most small groups meet online once per month at a time agreed to by the Mentees and Mentors within each group. Both Mentors and Mentees are expected to participate in an annual half-day BCAMN summit, and to contribute to discussions via the online National Adaptive Mentoring Forum.
Mentors are expected to dedicate 30-50 hours per year to the network, including in a 10 hour mentor training session when they first join the BCAMN, semi-annual Mentor training seminars, organizing and hosting a minimum of four small group sessions per year, and responding to Mentee requests for 1:1 mentoring. To acknowledge their contributions to the BCAMN, Mentors receive an honorarium based on 40 hours per year at an hourly rate equivalent to the BC physicians’ sessional rate.
Continuous quality improvement is important for the BCAMN, both in setting direction for the future of the network, and to show our funders the types of impacts the network makes on its members. Mentees and Mentors are expected to complete a brief survey upon entering the BCAMN and semi-annual surveys for the duration of their participation in the network.
Sean Ebert, BSc, MD, CCFP (FPA), FCFP, FRRMS
Sean has been a rural physician for over 25 years. His current clinical work is focused on helping patients with chronic pain, and he is a passionate student of quality improvement and system change. Sean is privileged to work with Pain BC as a medical co-director for the BC Adaptive Mentorship Network for Pain, Mental Health & Substance Use.
Brenda Poulton, RN, MN, NP (retired)
Brenda has an extensive background in healthcare from frontline nurse to educator to Nurse Practitioner and most recently as the Clinical Lead for Pain in Fraser Health. Brenda has passionately pursued bringing change and improvement for those living in pain, supporting practitioners providing pain care and system change in the last two decades. Brenda is honoured to be involved in the development of BCAMN and to support the practitioners within the mentorship network.
Barb Eddy is a nurse practitioner and practises primary care in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver since 2007 and on the North Shore since 2020. Prior, she was a clinical nurse specialist with the Vancouver Home Hospice team, a nurse educator and home care nurse. Most recently Barb championed the start of the Vancouver Community pain service to offer non-pharmacological pain interventions to those living with homelessness, poverty, substance use disorders and mental health conditions. Barb has been offering myoActivation since 2017 to her primary care and pain service patients. She is currently completing a research study to better understand the impact of myoActivation. Barb is an adjunct assistant professor with the UBC School of nursing and an associate with the Division of Palliative Care, UBC Department of Medicine.
Areas of specialty:
Natasha is a Psychotherapist, Somatic Trauma Therapist, and Mindfulness Teacher (MBSR), with a special interest in exploring the connection between chronic pain/ disease and underlying trauma. She has 18 years' experience in private practice, and now works from Solis Integrative Health Centre specializing in chronic pain and trauma. In addition to her psychotherapy practice Natasha facilitates Chronic Pain Support Groups, co-designed/facilitates an Integrative Health Program providing education and self-management tools for chronic pain patients and facilitates Pain BC’s Making Sense of Pain program, including redesigning the program for an online format and mentoring MSOP facilitators. Natasha sits on the Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice Chronic Pain Project Steering Committee.
Areas of specialty:
Dr. Mead is an addiction medicine physician with expertise in concurrent psychiatric disorders, pain management and women’s health. She is a Fellow of the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine, a diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine and Clinical Assistant Professor, UBC. She holds the positions of Senior Medical Director, Mental Health and Substance Use, BC Women’s Hospital and Medical Director, Corrections Health Services. She consults on the Addiction Medicine Consult Service at St Paul’s Hospital, and for New Dawn Recovery House. Dr. Mead is an established teacher, mentor and educator. She is past Director of the BCCSU Addiction Medicine Fellowship training program, speaks widely at conferences and continues as an Education Committee member of the International Society of Addiction Medicine.
Areas of specialty:
Neil is a physical therapist, yoga therapist and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia, and faculty in four accredited yoga therapy programs. He is also a consultant to the BC medical association, and to Lifemark’s 300+ clinics in Canada. He is lead contributor in Pain BC’s Pain Foundations CE course and in the gentle movement@home video series, and lead contributor for the self-care for chronic pain and self care for low back pain health journeys in PC Health’s mobile app. Neil is currently working the Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence on an environmental scan (Canada, UK, USA) and systematic review of yoga for veterans with chronic pain.
Areas of specialty:
Dr. Devan Reddy is a family physician in Prince George British Columbia. As the Medical Lead for Chronic Non-cancer pain for the Northern Health Authority he is passionate about advocating for and improving Pain Care Service delivery to patients. In his private practice he provides consultations for Chronic pain and provides interventions such as trigger point injections and ultrasound guided joint injections. When not doing clinical work he can be found doing his most favourite activity of being a dad and together with his family exploring the beauty and richness of British Columbia.
Areas of specialty:
Dr. Launette Rieb is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She holds a Certificate of Added Competency in Addiction Medicine from the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and is a Diplomat of the American Board of Addiction Medicine. She was the co-creator and initial Physician Director of BC’s first Addiction Medicine Fellowship and contributed to the formation of BC’s first Pain Medicine Fellowship. She works and does research on pain and addiction, serving clinical populations through ActumHealth and St. Paul's Hospital. Dr. Rieb is the recipient of a UBC Post Graduate Teaching Award and the BC College of Family Physicians Exceptional Teacher Honour.
Areas of specialty:
Susan Reid Schellinck
Susan Reid Schellinck is an OT who works exclusively with people with chronic pain. She received her BSc from UVic, and OT degree from UBC. She is a local, provincial, national, and international speaker on functional aspects of chronic pain. She is clinical faculty for Pain BC and Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, and is guest lecturer for UBC MScOT students. She was a subject matter expert for Pain BC’s Pain Foundations online course, and is on the Pain BC Project ECHO team hub. Susan is a board member for Canadian Neuromodulation Society, and PacificSport Vancouver Island. She tours Canada teaching other OTs about assessment and treatment of chronic pain.
Areas of specialty:
Dr. Vishal Varshney is an anesthesiologist and pain medicine physician at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, BC. He completed medical school from the University of Calgary, and his anesthesiology residency at the University of British Columbia. He completed the RCPSC Pain Medicine residency at the University of Calgary. He has a special interest in neuromodulation and neuropathic pain, having authored several publications, book chapters and guidelines in this field, and is on the board of directors of the Canadian Neuromodulation Society.
Areas of specialty:
Dr. Louw is a co-founder and treating physician at the Bill Nelems Pain and Research Centre, a large comprehensive pain clinic in Kelowna, BC. Dr. Louw is triple-certified in GP Anaesthesia, ER medicine and Pain Medicine with multiple research interests in these fields. He serves as Clinical Associate Professor, UBC Dept. of Family and is a Past President of the Canadian Association of Orthopaedic Medicine. He also serves as the Chief Medical Officer of EntheoTech, a bioscience company. Dr. Louw is passionate about improving both physical and mental health, exploring new paradigms, always with deep compassion and putting the patient at the centre.
Kat is a Vancouver-based occupational therapist, owner and Clinical Director of Are You Better Yet Therapy Services, and person living with chronic pain. She has a functional yet holistic treatment approach, and her practice focuses on high functioning healthcare workers struggling with complex pain, burnout, concussion and fatigue. Kat founded the CAOT Chronic Pain Practice Network in 2016 and is the CAOT-BC Advisory Committee representative for Mental Health & Chronic Pain. She has extensive experience in rheumatology, perinatal health and working with adults under 40 with chronic pain. Kat treats clients across Canada, has consulted for many self-management programs including the St. Paul’s Complex Pain Centre, and is involved with mentoring OTs on a global level. It brings her joy to offer knowledge translation and clinical support for practitioners on their journey of learning about pain, especially within a women’s health context.
Areas of specialty:
Dr. McIlmoyle has been a practicing chiropractor for 20+ years and holds a special interest and post-graduate education in pain management. He has presented internationally and currently provides instruction to chiropractors, physiotherapists and registered massage therapists through private continuing education courses and Pain BC. He also sits on the board of directors and is the Chair of the Research committee with the Canadian Chiropractic Research Foundation. Dr. McIlmoyle believes an understanding of the pain experience and its complexity is a vital component missing in every single health care curriculum and that it is critical to update all health care providers' understanding of mechanisms of the pain experience and recovery. He believes we must move away from thinking of the body as a machine or computer and more like an ecosystem, and that concepts such as embodied cognition, altered sense of self and the biopsychosocial framework or enactive approach should be woven into our understanding of people’s pain experience.
Dr. Hruschak earned her Bachelor and Master of Social Work from UBC-O and also completed a post-graduate certification in pain management from the University of Alberta. She has extensive clinical experience across the continuum of care, primarily in mental health and substance use services, with a specialization in chronic pain and opioid misuse. She has assumed leadership roles within Mental Health and Substance Use Services, including a Clinical Director role at a private residential addiction treatment centre while also teaching as an adjunct professor at UBC-O. She completed her Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, in addition to a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Hruschak is currently a Senior Project Manager with BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services and has a private practice tailored to individuals with chronic pain, mental health, and addictions.
Areas of specialty:
How to become a Mentor or Mentee
BCAMN does an annual group intake of Mentees in the spring of each year. We also accept applications throughout the year in to build a waitlist, since spaces become available from time to time. If you are a practicing health care professional and would like to apply to become a Mentee, please complete this application.
We are recruiting new Mentors to join BCAMN in January 2024. If you wish to apply, please send your résumé to Project Manager Gregg Moor at email@example.com, and complete the optional Mentor Applicant Survey to help us get to know you better. Application deadline: October 31, 2023.
If you have questions about BCAMN, please email Education Coordinator Charlotte Shamlou at firstname.lastname@example.org.