The Office of Advocacy & Wellbeing (OAW) in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry looks after issues pertaining to the health and well-being of learners. The office also advocates on their behalf.

Learner health and well-being include both physical and mental health. We provide counselling on academic and personal matters. We also provide advice and help accommodate the needs of learners with special circumstances. Our aim is to ensure that undergraduate learners are well supported and able to perform to the best of their abilities.

As advocates for learners, we ensure their best interests are represented in all faculty and university considerations. This includes advocating for students and residents both, and making sure they are represented on all major policy committees.

When should I contact Advocacy & Wellbeing?

The easy answer is any time you are having ANY kind of problem that you feel is interfering with your studies.

Learners can encounter a wide range of problems. These might include:

  • academic appeals and support
  • conflict resolution
  • disability and accommodation
  • physical illness
  • personal or family crises
  • mental health
  • harassment and intimidation
  • trouble with a partner
  • substance abuse
  • legal trouble
  • financial difficulties (awards/bursaries and emergency funding)
  • career advice
  • other issues

It is our job to help you deal with these types of problems. If we cannot help you, we will refer you to someone who can.

When deciding if you want to contact someone in our office, remember that there is no problem too small or insignificant. If it is bothering you, we are here to listen. If left unattended, many issues can grow into bigger and more disruptive problems. It is very common for us to hear, "I didn't think it was a big deal," or, "I thought I could deal with it," or, "I was embarrassed to come to you" when someone is in serious academic trouble. Come to us before problems get out of hand.

It is important to note that our office is at 'arm's-length' from the academic offices. We do not share information with those making academic decisions on grades, promotions, etc., without your permission and unless it advantages you.

Anyone facing academic difficulties should contact the our office for additional advice and support. Undergraduate learners can also contact their course or rotation co-ordinator for assistance.

Who should I contact?

Dr Cheryl Goldstein and Dr Melanie Lewis are available to meet with undergraduate students and can be reached at oawadmin@ualberta.ca or 780-492-3150 to schedule an appointment.