BC Cancer psychiatrists are medical doctors specializing in mental health.
Depression, anxiety, problems with sleep, changes in personality, fear of treatment or illness, changes in thoughts and perception, and optimizing psychiatric medications through cancer treatment are all things our psychiatrists help people with regularly.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors specializing in mental health. To become a psychiatrist in BC, one must complete three or four years of an undergraduate university degree, four years of medical school, and then five years of residency training in Psychiatry. Once practicing, all psychiatrists in BC are responsible to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC and must complete Continuing Medical Education activities annually.
Do BC Cancer psychiatrists only prescribe medications?
No. Our psychiatrists tailor help to the needs of each individual. Sometimes that will involve only psychotherapy or talk therapy. Sometimes that will primarily involve medication suggestions and management. Often, talk therapy and medications are used in combination.
Please speak with a doctor (e.g. oncologist, family doctor), nurse practitioner, or BC Cancer counselor about a referral to the BC Cancer Psychiatry Service. Referral forms can be obtained by your doctor or nurse practitioner by calling your nearest BC Cancer centre and asking for Psychiatry and Patient and Family Counseling.
Dr. Janice Jura
Dr. Margaret Wong completed her residency training at the University of British Columbia where she was also recognized for excellence through the 2014 Undergraduate Teaching Award. Prior to her medical training, Dr. Wong also completed a Master’s degree in Neuroscience at UBC. In addition, she brings much-needed language skills in Cantonese and Mandarin to our Psychiatry service.
Dr. Ryan Knebel completed medical school and his psychiatric residency at University of Alberta, Dr. Knebel moved to Kelowna in June 2019, to work as Emergency Psychiatrist and Consult-Liaison Psychiatrist for Kelowna General Hospital. Beginning in October 2019, he became the Psychiatrist for BC Cancer – Kelowna. Dr. Knebel has a special interest in education and the integration of technology and informatics, and completing a master's in Health Science Education.
Dr. Steve Simpson completed a PhD in Biochemistry in Cardiff, Wales before undertaking post-doctoral studies in Physiology at the University of Manitoba and working in biotechnology in Virginia. In 1986, he moved to Canada to study Medicine at the University of Calgary. He graduated in 1989 and completed a year of Internal Medicine at U of C. In 1990 he began his residency training in psychiatry and completed his fellowship in the summer of 1994. He is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Oncology at the University of Calgary. Dr. Simpson has clinical appointments in the Division of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Calgary Health Region, and the Psychosocial Resources Department at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary. He is also Consultant Psychiatrist for BC Cancer - Surrey. He is a recent recipient of the Canadian Association for Psychosocial Oncology Award for Clinical Excellence. His research interests are in Psycho-oncology and he is currently working on projects related to fatigue in cancer and cancer-related cognitive impairment.
Dr. Jennifer Laidlaw completed her MD at the University of British Columbia (UBC) before completing her residency in Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. During residency she was avidly involved in medical education including presenting at international conferences and publishing on the topics of delirium screening as well as social media and professionalism. She has spent the beginning of her career as the Head of Consultation Liaison (CL) Psychiatry at Surrey Memorial Hospital where she focused on building a thriving and highly collaborative CL service that provides psychiatric care to patients on the medical and surgical wards including the oncology and palliative care units. She received a Facilities Engagement grant to develop guidelines for management of vulnerable patients in hospital. Dr. Laidlaw continues to teach medical students and residents and is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor at UBC Department of Psychiatry.
Dr. Alan Bates finished a PhD focused on neuroimaging at the University of Nottingham before completing his MD and Psychiatry residency at the University of British Columbia. He then completed a fellowship in Psychosomatic Medicine (Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry) and Psycho-oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre. Dr. Bates has published peer-reviewed articles on topics ranging from brain imaging to palliative care and has a special interest in physical fitness and teamwork as interventions for improving mental health. He received the 2018 Canadian Psychiatric Association Early Career Achievement in Psychiatry Award and his volunteer work has been recognized through a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and participation in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay. He is the Provincial Practice Leader for Psychiatry at BC Cancer, Clinical Associate Professor at UBC, and President of the British Columbia Psychiatric Association.
Dr. Stephen Fitzpatrick is a graduate of Dalhousie University Medical School. He worked as a Family Physician prior to starting residency training at UBC which he completed in 1995. He has been a staff psychiatrist at both VGH and SPH working in Emergency, Outpatient and Consultation Liaison psychiatry with an interest in HIV, transplant and acute care psychiatry. Dr. Fitzpatrick has held numerous administrative positions at both SPH and UBC department of Psychiatry. He enjoys teaching and is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UBC.
Dr. Carole Richford started her career in Nursing before switching to Medicine and obtaining her MD and then Psychiatry training from the University of British Columbia in 2001. She has worked in many areas of Psychiatry and has a keen interest in Psycho-oncology, Addiction Psychiatry, Cardiac Psychiatry and General Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry. She is currently on staff at Providence Health Care, Vancouver General Hospital and BC Cancer - Vancouver. She previously held the role of Division Head of Consultation-Liaison at St. Paul’s Hospital and was active in research. Dr. Richford is active in teaching all levels of medical professionals and is a Clinical Associate Professor with the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine. She is also a Diplomate with the American Board of Addiction Medicine and the President-Elect of the BC Psychiatric Association.
Dr. Pulkit Singh completed her medical degree at the University of New South Wales prior to finishing her Psychiatry residency at the University of British Columbia. During residency, she received the Psychotherapy Award and an Undergraduate Teaching Award to recognize her achievements in these areas. She has published articles on topics including Indigenous health and collaborative care. She has a special interest in mindfulness meditation and cognitive behaviour therapy. In addition to her work in Psycho-Oncology, she specializes in Reproductive mental health. She is fluent in Punjabi.
Dr. Jasmina Kobiljski completed medical school and Psychiatry residency training at the University of British Columbia. Before she entered medicine, Dr. Kobiljski completed a Biochemistry degree at UBC. Dr. Kobiljski has a special interest in mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy and psycho-oncology. She has additional training in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. Dr. Kobiljski is fluent in Serbian.