Dr. Duncan Shields

Dr. Duncan ShieldsDr. Duncan Shields is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, and a clinician specializing in the treatment of post trauma and operational stress injuries, and the support and maintenance of resilience under operational load.

Duncan co-developed a national group-based program for helping military and police veterans in their transition to civilian life and, in 2015, he co-founded The Menís Initiative (TMI), an endeavour to enhance the integrity and well-being of men for the benefit of families, communities and the world. As part of this work he is currently developing and evaluating a First Responder Resiliency Program to support personnel coping with operational stress injuries, and to create a more inclusive and supportive work culture. He has published and presented his work internationally and is the recipient of a number of awards and recognitions for his research and service. Prior to his clinical work, Duncan was proud to serve as an infantry reservist with the Governor Generals Foot Guards where he gained a life-long appreciation for the contributions of our men and women in uniformed services.


Session: BC First Responder Resiliency Program

Description: What is resilience? Is it a characteristic of the individual or, like high performance, is it a capacity that also emerges through, and is strengthened by, cohesive teams and supportive organizational cultures?

The Fire Fighters Resiliency Program was designed through a collaboration between the BC Professional Fire Fighters Association and the Men’s Initiative at the UBC Faculty of Medicine. It is a peer-helping-peer model that assists first responders maintain or regain resilience while taking better care of each other. In this presentation, evaluation outcomes from participants in the pilot program will be presented with ideas about supporting resilience under operational load.

Operational stress is an inevitable and cumulative part of first responder work. Some post trauma impacts are an evolutionary inevitability, but capacity for resilient adaptation and post trauma growth can be enhanced by leveraging the strengths in first responder training and culture. The program outcomes suggest that given the right tools and conditions, first responders can be a tremendous resource to each other, helping them access their own strength, courage and grit during times of deepest struggle.

Watch a video of the presentation or view the presentation slides.