January to June 2023

Dr. Oveis Adl Golchin

Family Physician

Dr. Oveis Adl Golchin has worked in The Pas for over a decade, practicing rural medicine and working in the…

Dr. Oveis Adl Golchin has worked in The Pas for over a decade, practicing rural medicine and working in the hospital. 

Medicine has been a lifelong passion for him. I always wanted to be a physician and I have never had any regrets,” he says. 

His dedication to his patients is often noted and appreciated. This is no surprise when the most rewarding part of being a doctor for him is helping his patients. The best part of my job is when I make people pleased.”

Born in Iran, Dr. Ald Golchin obtained his medical degree in Tehran in 1994 and later relocated to Manitoba. In addition to his work in general practice and in the hospital, he has held a few leadership positions with the Northern Regional Health Authority. This includes serving as a Hospitalist Lead and as the Medical Director for Primary Care. 

His experience in administration has offered important insights into how health care improvement happens, and how difficult it can be to achieve. The most challenging part of my work is when I need to convince health care decision makers about any changes in our health care model,” he explains. 

Committed to the community he serves, Dr. Adl Golchin is very concerned about the culture of alcohol and substance use among young people and the impact it has on their health and the health care system. 

Taking stock of his career so far, he describes his best achievement” as helping to establish a hospitalist model in NRHA to help strengthen medical coverage. My proudest personal achievement, however, is my son who is going to be a family doctor in 3 months.”

He is a big fan of sporting activities, particularly aquatic sports, hiking, biking, and racket sports. When Dr. Adl Golchin gets to Winnipeg, his favourite indulgence is carpaccio. He heads to Wasabi for salmon carpaccio and to Hy’s for beef.

Dr. Stacey Kitz

Emergency Medicine Physician

Dr. Stacey Kitz grew up in Brandon, a few short blocks from where she now lives. She graduated from UM

Dr. Stacey Kitz grew up in Brandon, a few short blocks from where she now lives. She graduated from UM medicine, completed her family medicine residency at Queen’s University, and the enhanced skills +1 program in Emergency Medicine. She remembers the exact moment she set her goal of becoming a physician. At 12 years old while on a walk in Carman, MB, where her grandparents lived, she suddenly said I think I want to be a doctor when I grow up.” 

Dr. Kitz loves the collaborative team environment at the Brandon Regional Health Centre ER and says that even on days where the medicine is challenging, we are short staffed, or over capacity, it is the teamwork and camaraderie in our department that pulls us together and pulls us through.” She gets to work with patients of all ages and enjoys the challenge of quickly establishing rapport and trust with patients because of the episodic nature of the specialty. Interactions like a high five from a once nervous pediatric patient can make all the difference in the hectic ER

Her work in the ER is not without its hurdles. Caring for patients outside of a large urban centre can be challenging and Dr. Kitz says the region would benefit from some permanent specialty physicians and an improvement in transportation of patients. Patients from even smaller centres often have to be sent to the ER by car due to lack of EMS availability and transportation is always a discussion and consideration between sending and receiving facilities. To compound the problem, repatriating patients or getting very ill patients to tertiary care can be a lengthy process. Often the only safe place for many patients, the ER has capacity issues and is further stressed by staff shortages. Patients and family members are often in a heightened emotional state, leading to the mistreatment of staff by patients and families. Contending with verbal and sometimes physical abuse makes providing good care all the more challenging. 

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Kitz and a former ER nurse developed and ran the Respiratory Clinic in Brandon, leading to the opening of other clinics in the region. As the ER COVID lead for Prairie Mountain Health, Dr. Kitz worked with ER doctors and nurses to care for patients with COVID and other infectious respiratory complaints early in the pandemic when there were few options other than the ER for in-person care. In 2013 Dr. Kitz began work with UM to develop and run the first community stream +1 Emergency Medicine program. She was the site lead from 2015 – 2021, working with 2 residents every year, many of whom have stayed in Brandon to work.

Dr. Kitz recognizes the urgent need to improve physician health and well being, and has played a significant role in the Physician Health and Wellness Community of Practice for the Prairie Mountain region. She truly values the work that has been done and the tight knit group that formed. The work is close to her heart and she says it’s been really special to work with a like minded group to further wellness initiatives in the region.” She believes the most pressing concern for health care is human resources. Her ER department is short on all health care professionals, the Brandon hospitalist group is short and mental health is severely understaffed for the region. If resources could be put into primary care, mental health, and long term care, Dr. Kitz believes the pressures on the acute care system would likely decrease.

Dr. Kitz enjoys cooking and enjoying a good meal with friends. She enjoys it even more when friends do the cooking. She loves trying new flavours and recipes. Her proudest personal achievement is her family. Dr. Kitz is happily married, despite having once received an earnest marriage proposal from a 5 year old patient. She, her husband and their children — 8 year old twin daughters and a 10 year old son — love traveling and making new memories. Her son is passionate about football (soccer) and Dr. Kitz hopes to one day get him to a game in a big European stadium, one that holds more than the population of Brandon”. As Danny Roja from Ted Lasso says football is life.”

Dr. Jennifer Hensel


With an ambition and commitment to academic and clinical psychiatry that colleagues call remarkable, Dr. Jennifer Hensel has been instrumental…

With an ambition and commitment to academic and clinical psychiatry that colleagues call remarkable, Dr. Jennifer Hensel has been instrumental in creating new ways mental health supports are being delivered to Manitobans. She grew up in a small town in central Ontario and completed medical school and a residency in Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, while also studying for her Masters of Science in Health Services Research. She worked for three years in independent practice before being recruited, along with her partner, by the Departments of Psychiatry and Surgery at Health Sciences Centre.

Dr. Hensel has a passion for improving quality, access and primary care partnerships in mental health and is an innovator in clinical service and health system design. Always supportive of medical learning, she has provided group and individual educational experiences for medical learners, graduate students, and physician assistants.

Since coming to Winnipeg in 2017, Dr. Hensel has worked in the Mental Health Program, at HSC and Crisis Response Services, with a focus on crisis and post-crisis mental health services. She still finds time for research and administrative work, including new program development and evaluation. In the few short years she has been in Manitoba, Dr. Hensel has focused on expanding virtual health programs to increase access to psychiatric care. While working as the mental health lead for Women’s College Hospital Institute in Toronto, she was an early adopter of virtual care and saw its benefits. 

As a response to COVID-19 and the resulting public health restrictions, she transformed the Crisis Response Services to a virtual program, a first in Canada. Within weeks, Dr. Hensel had implemented virtual options for patient assessment and treatment that spanned almost all facets of clinical service, even virtual hospital wards. Oftentimes the health care system can be slow to adopt new and innovative approaches, but the onset of the pandemic accelerated Dr. Hensel’s hard work to become a reality overnight. She is proudest of her work building this impactful programing with limited resources. While virtual care has tremendous potential, Dr. Hensel has been conscious about the appropriate and safe use of virtual care as a complement to in-person visits.

Dr. Hensel loves the variety of patients and tasks her specialty provides. Working with unique individuals and having the privilege of hearing their personal stories and helping to reduce their suffering is immeasurably rewarding for her. Always a problem-solver, she also loves to work in program design and research, finding creative solutions and striving for quality improvement. 

Front of mind when talking about the challenges physicians face, is the moral distress that physicians and medical learners experience in the face of scarce resources and a broken system. Dr. Hensel finds it hard to feel helpless, especially when we know things could be a lot better.” She sees a need for the health system to better integrate technology to enhance medicine but believes that front-lines are neither equipped nor supported for these changes. Doing it well takes a lot of effort, and the benefits,” she says can take some time to be felt. We need better system-wide approaches to technology integration in healthcare so that everyone can do it well.” 

Dr. Hensel enjoys keeping active, making a recent comeback to distance running and completing the Manitoba half marathon. She is endlessly entertained by the hilarity that comes out of her toddler’s mouth, uses music for relaxation and motivation, and loves to cook new recipes, seldom making the same thing twice.

Dr. Lauren MacKenzie

Infectious Disease/​Internal Medicine Physician

Described by colleagues as a strong advocate for her patients” and an outstanding clinician”, Dr. Lauren MacKenzie wears many hats…

Described by colleagues as a strong advocate for her patients” and an outstanding clinician”, Dr. Lauren MacKenzie wears many hats in her work in Infectious Diseases. Taking a philosophy course on bioethics during her undergraduate degree changed the course of her academic and professional path. She had originally intended to be a basic sciences researcher but was fascinated with the professor’s stories about the human side of medicine, and the art and nuance of medical practice.” Dr. MacKenzie says working in Infectious Diseases requires learning so much about people and their lives; it’s clinically relevant to know about the jobs they’ve had, where they’ve lived, where they’ve travelled, what their hobbies are, and what pets they have.” She feels privileged to get to know people and their stories, during what is often a very stressful and uncertain time. 

Dr. MacKenzie grew up in Edmonton, completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Alberta, studied medicine at the University of Calgary and completed her Internal Medicine and Adult Infectious Diseases Residency training at UM. After pursuing further training with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS as a Canadian HIV Trials Network Postdoctoral Scholar and completing a Masters of Public Health at UBC, she returned to Winnipeg in 2017 to join the Section of Infectious Diseases. She now splits her clinical time between the inpatient Adult Infectious Diseases service at HSC and St. Boniface, and the outpatient HIV clinic at HSC. She is the Associate Director of the Manitoba HIV Program and works in research with a focus on improving the testing and treatment of sexually transmitted and bloodborne infections in Manitoba. In addition to holding several administrative positions, Dr. MacKenzie is completing a PhD in Community Health Sciences at UM.

Dr. MacKenzie is proud of both the clinical and advocacy work she and her colleagues do at the Manitoba HIV Program. She feels fortunate to work with a multidisciplinary team that goes above and beyond when providing person-centred care for the people in the HIV program. The program recently partnered with researchers at UM to collect and analyze data for the 2018 – 2021 HIV Program report. The report is now being used to advocate for important HIV Program initiatives that will strengthen and improve HIV care in the province.

Working in Infectious Diseases provides remarkable insight on the impact that social determinants of health have on individuals and their communities. Dr. MacKenzie says there are many different infections that could be minimized or altogether prevented if only there were stable housing; mental health supports; or more robust harm reduction services.” There has been an alarming increase in the number of new HIV diagnoses in Manitoba in recent years and Dr. MacKenzie is concerned we will continue to see those numbers rise if we do not address the social determinants of health in our province.

In her free time, Dr. MacKenzie takes her dog Fletcher, a golden doodle, out for long walks. She loves visiting family out west and enjoys traveling to sample local vegetarian cuisine and regional wines. She is excited about her upcoming trip to Copenhagen for a conference later this spring. It will be her first international travel since the onset of the pandemic.

Dr. David Willems

Family Physician

A leader in HIV and addictions treatment in Winnipeg’s downtown, Dr. David Willems has focused his care on underserved communities…

A leader in HIV and addictions treatment in Winnipeg’s downtown, Dr. David Willems has focused his care on underserved communities working at both Nine Circles & Klinic Community Health Centres for over 20 years. After graduating from the University of Winnipeg and spending time flying into northern Manitoba to set up survey camps in the winter, he moved on to receive his medical degree and did his Family Medicine residency training at UM.

What drew him to the profession was solving the many puzzles of medicine and exploring diagnostics and treatment options. What ultimately motivates and inspires him are patients’ stories of resilience, resistance, and solidarity in the face of relentlessly unjust circumstances and systems. Dr. Willems loves being part of two dynamic and incredible interdisciplinary health care teams, who work to prioritize the health care of individuals and communities experiencing the greatest barriers to accessing care. As as part of the Manitoba HIV Provincial Program at Nine Circles, Dr. Willems treats and cares for Manitobans living with HIV infections.

His greatest concern for his patients is inadequate or inaccurate knowledge that can limit their ability to make fully informed choices about treatment or care options. Dr. Willems says he feels most proud that he is continually learning to better walk alongside my patients, learning to collaborate with others, learning to really hear their unique wisdom and expertise.”

He is deeply concerned about the increasing privatization of health care and the stark under-funding of the social safety net, gutting public services and public capacities to care, resulting in greater extremes between the wealthy few and many others who lack access to even the basic resources needed for survival and dignity.” For example, both clinics continuously distribute basics like food, water, socks, and hygiene products that patients cannot otherwise access.

In his spare time and in the warmer months, Dr. Willem loves being on the water in a canoe and has a 20-year tradition of taking a two-week canoe trip every fall. Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario has become one of his favourite destinations. He makes a mean baked mac & aged cheese with pine nuts, a bread crumb crust, and lots of fresh basil, parsley, and thyme.