Pamela Brett-MacLean, Ph.D.

Pronouns: she, her, elle

Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, & Director
Art & Humanities in Health & Medicine (AHHM)
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
1-001 Katz Group Centre, University of Alberta,
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E1

Phone: 780-492-0980

Dr. Pamela Brett-MacLean joined the University of Alberta after completing her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies (Arts & Health) at the University of British Columbia. In 2006, together with Dr. Verna Yiu, current Interim Provost at the University of Alberta, she co-founded the Arts & Humanities in Health & Medicine (AHHM) program in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. As AHHM director she has introduced many innovative arts and humanities-based teaching and research initiatives informed by relational, arts-based, and reflective approaches, including a longitudinal medical/ health humanities community of learning. 

Recognized for both her early and ongoing contributions which have promoted the growth of the medical/ health humanities in Canada, in collaboration with Dr. Allan Peterkin (University of Toronto) she co-founded the Canadian medical humanities annual meeting “Creating Space”, serving as conference co-chair in 2011 (Toronto) and 2012 (Banff), and as an organizing committee member of subsequent meetings (most recently 2022). In 2018, together with Dr. Peterkin, and Barbara Sibbald (past CMAJ Humanities Editor), she established the Canadian Association for Health Humanities. 

She has authored over 80 journal publications and book chapters, and has also co-edited several books: Keeping Reflection Fresh: A practical guide for clinical educators (2016), Art-Medicine Collaborative Practice (2019), and Social Construction in Action (2020). She has also presented widely on her work, both nationally and internationally. In 2020, she was invited to contribute to a plenary panel on “Weaving Humanism into the Fabric of Medical Education” at the Canadian Conference for Medical Education’s annual meeting. In 2021, she was named academic co-lead of the World University Network’s (WUN) Health Humanities Initiative.

As an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry she contributes to numerous departmental, faculty, and university committees—she recently accepted an appointment with the University of Alberta Press’ Editorial Board (2022-24). She has also been involved in many interdisciplinary collaborative projects across the University of Alberta. She also supervises graduate students. In 2019, her student Brad Necyk was awarded the Governor General’s Gold medal for the arts-based dissertation he completed for his PhD in Psychiatry, “Telling Stories Otherwise”. Since 2020 she has participated in the inaugural cohort of University of Alberta faculty involved in the Alberta Institute, Wenzhou Medical University—China’s first cooperative education institution specializing in medicine.

In 2019, Pamela received an “Award of Achievement” from the Canadian Association for Health Humanities for contributions to developing the field of health humanities in Canada. In 2020, she was a co-recipient of the Taos Institute’s “Outstanding Contribution Award”. She currently serves as a member of the Taos Institute Associate Council.

Dissertation: Art(ists) in the Making: Exploring Narratives of Coming to Art in Later Life (1.61 MB)