Pier Bryden

Pier Bryden

Department of Psychiatry

Faculty of Medicine


Pier Bryden has been a staff psychiatrist at Sick Kids since 2001 and joined the Faculty of Medicine in 2014, where she is currently an associate professor. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto with a BA (Hons) in history, the University of Oxford with an MPhil in Politics, and McMaster University where she completed her medical training. She completed a comprehensive internship in internal medicine at Queen’s University, and her psychiatry residency and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at the University of Toronto. During her residency training, she took graduate courses in bioethics at the Joint Centre for Bioethics. She has a sub-specialty certification in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Dr. Bryden is the Vice-Chair, Education for the Department of Psychiatry, and the Director of Program Integration for the MD Program at the University of Toronto. Between 2013 and 2017, she was the Pre-clerkship Director for the MD Program, where she co‐led the most extensive curriculum renewal the program had experienced since 1992. This launched as the Foundations Curriculum in August 2017, moving the MD Program away from a predominantly lecture-based curriculum in its first two years to a longitudinal integrated curriculum, focused on 72 interactive virtual patient cases, scaffolded by supplemental educational activities employing mixed teaching methods and resources. The curriculum uses a programmatic assessment model in which each student has an online educational portfolio and academic adviser.

Between 2009 and 2013, Dr. Bryden was the Faculty Lead for Ethics and Professionalism in the MD Program. In this role she extensively revised the ethics and professionalism curriculum; introduced a new course on professional identity formation and reflective practice which now extends through the four years of the program; created new educational activities in health history; collaborated with students and faculty to create a Companion Humanities curriculum; and was part of the educational leadership team that developed two new integrated clerkship courses: Transition to Clerkship and Transition to Residency. She created and recruited faculty for new selectives in clinical ethics for the latter course.

She is Chair of the Medical Council of Canada’s Public Health, Ethics, Legal, and Organizational Aspects of Medicine Examination Committee, and is a member of the Central Examination Committee. She also sits on the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons’ History and Heritage Committee. She was previously the Canadian representative to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Ethics committee. She chairs the University of Toronto Health History Partnership and has successfully fundraised for and organized three interdisciplinary health history symposia. Currently she is co‐leading an initiative to bring together the University’s historical STEM collections to collaborate on a central digital access portal and interdisciplinary exhibits.

Her academic publications include papers on medical education, medical professionalism, and ethical and legal aspects of child psychiatry. She is the co‐author, with Dr. David Goldbloom, of a popular book on psychiatry, How Can I Help: A Week in my Life as a Psychiatrist, published by Simon and Schuster, and a Canadian non‐fiction bestseller. She is currently co‐writing, with Dr. Peter Szatmari, a second book for Simon and Schuster on children’s mental health.