Our history

The Department of Clinical Health Psychology’s residency program has provided exemplary training for over 45 years, with training in Child, Adult, Neuropsychology and Rural streams.

CHP faculty members have significantly expanded their teaching roles since the early days of the department. They are involved in undergraduate curriculum renewal, including recent development of a pain course, and provide teaching for undergraduate medical students, postgraduate residents in other clinical departments, and inter-professional education activities with students from other health professions. The department also provides elective rotations in health behavior change for 4th year medical students, and required rotations for Genetics residents.

Members of the Department of Clinical Health Psychology hold major grants and conduct research across the health spectrum, in collaboration with colleagues in many other departments in the Max Rady College of Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, as well as nationally  and internationally.

The annual Robert Martin Memorial Lecture, to honor the first head of the department, is an invited presentation by a leader in health care on some aspect of Psychology’s role in health and healthcare.

In the beginning ...

1969—Dr. Robert Martin was recruited to lead the Section of Behavioural Science in the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, with a mandate to establish a Clinical Psychology Internship program.

First class of psychology interns admitted.

—Creation of Health Sciences Centre through an amalgamation of Winnipeg General, Children’s, Rehabilitation, and Respiratory hospitals.  Resident and intern positions at all teaching hospitals were amalgamated, including psychology interns, within Manitoba Affiliated Teaching Hospitals.  Psychology interns / residents were also included in the Professional Association of Residents and Interns of Manitoba (PARIM). 

The psychology internship was extended to the St Boniface Hospital site with the creation of a rotation in family therapy.

The Clinical Psychology Internship was the first internship in Canada to be accredited; it received American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation, under the leadership of Dr. Eric Ellis.  

The training program has been continuously accredited since 1979, first by APA, then dual APA-CPA accreditation once CPA (Canadian Psychological Association) began accrediting Canadian residency programs in the

late 1980s.—Once APA stopped accrediting non-US sites, the Residency program in Clinical Health Psychology has maintained CPA accreditation.  In 2012, the Canadian Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association signed the First Street Accord, which recognizes the substantial equivalence of the accreditation standards and processes of CPA and APA in the education and training of psychologists in each country’s programs, without the need to confer reciprocal accreditation.  This recognition is important for psychologists seeking employment in either Canada or the United States after graduation from an accredited program in the other country.

The Department of Clinical Health Psychology was established within the Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba.  All psychologists who were previously members of the Section of Behavioural Science became members of the new department, and Dr. John Arnett was appointed first Head.  The mission of the new department, reflected in its name, was to expand psychology knowledge and services beyond the historical base in mental health into all areas of health and health care.

Manitoba Health funded the Department’s Rural & Northern community-based clinical psychology training program, which increased the residency program by 3 new rural residents per year, and established new GFT (Geographic Full time) faculty positions in rural and northern regions of Manitoba.  This program subsequently expanded to 10 GFT psychologist positions across the health regions of Manitoba.  As of 2016, the Rural Residency program had trained 43 clinical psychology residents, many of whom were subsequently recruited to available positions in rural practice. 

—The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority establishes the Clinical Health Psychology Program, with responsibility for coordination and delivery of psychological services across hospitals and healthcare facilities in the Winnipeg Health Region.  Dr. John Arnett was appointed the program’s first Medical Director. The regional program facilitated expansion of the psychology residency training into other hospital and community sites; the dedicated multi-site collaboration in resident training has been and continues to be a major strength of the training and the department.

—Dr. Bob McIlwraith was appointed Head of the Department of Clinical Health Psychology and Medical Director of the WRHA Clinical Health Psychology Program.  In subsequent years, the Department’s clinical and academic activities continued to expand with partnerships in new areas such as military operational stress injuries, children’s diabetes, transgender health, concussion, complex pain, bariatric surgery, procedural / anaesthesia trauma, and women’s health.