Shaping a Christ-Centred Professional Identity

Posted Aug 22, 2023

Shaping a Christ-Centred Professional Identity

Grace Health Centre

This article originally appeared in the December 2022 issue of FOCUS. You can learn more about Grace Health Centre at

More than 30 years ago, a group of Family Medicine physicians – Dr. Man Hon Chu, Dr. Danny Yeung, Dr. Tat-Kwan Wong, and Dr. Tat-Ying Wong – in Toronto, ON asked themselves the same question: How do I live Christ out in my everyday practice? And so, they wrestled together on how to practice medicine and shape their independently owned family medicine and psychotherapy clinic: Grace Health Centre. 

Their ethos: Place Christ first, family second and everything else will fall into place. 

The term “patient-centred care” is often batted around and can represent many differing perspectives. This team of physicians discovered that physical distress is often the outcome of neglected preventative care or a symptom of a far deeper emotional pain. This shaped their definition of “patient-centred care,” leading them to prioritize preventative care, patient education and mental health to stay ahead of the game before chronic issues develop. Holistic care is not about only resolving the patient’s presenting symptoms, but also delving into rooted issues for deeper integrated healing. 

Their values: Respect and care for whole person’s physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual needs, while being inclusive of all cultures, social status, forms of spirituality, and sexual orientations/identities.

What does this look like? Consider this scenario: 

June, a middle-aged woman, books a doctor’s appointment at Grace Health Centre, seeking attention for her neck pain. As part of her examination, her doctor asked if anything had changed in her life lately. Her doctor learned that Jane has been constipated, has trouble sleeping, and is unhappy with her unfaithful husband. June felt stressed at work and did not feel that there is much meaning to life anymore. Her doctor knows that while medications and other medical interventions can relieve her physical symptoms, June can also benefit from psychotherapy, including modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTI), Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT), Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) and others, to explore her emotional, existential, and relational issues. As the healthcare team has been proactively tracking June’s preventative health needs, she was also booked for a colorectal cancer screening test. Before arriving at the doctor’s office, June had thought that a prescription for a painkiller and muscle relaxant would be all she needed. As she headed home, she was extremely grateful that the clinic team took care of her in such a comprehensive and holistic way. 

This belief in caring for the whole person, who is God’s creation in all its complexity, is the reason why Grace Health Centre also integrated psychotherapy into their family medicine practice. Over the years, the vision of Christ-centred care has led like-minded healthcare professionals to join Grace Health Centre. Now, designated (or focused practice) family physician psychotherapists, a psychiatrist, social workers, registered psychotherapists and dedicated administrative staff serve alongside the original four founding family physicians. 

“One generation shall commend your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts.” (Psalm 145:4)

In Canada, students who want to get into medical school and other healthcare-related graduate programs require a multitude of healthcare related experiences. Usually, it takes more than one attempt to receive an offer of admission and the associated stress can be overwhelming. Mentorship, skills training, and genuine care can provide invaluable experiences and support. Offering these opportunities lies at the heart of Grace Health Centre. 

On any given day, aspiring future healthcare workers are volunteering, interning, or working at the clinic. They develop key healthcare-related skills and learn to appreciate the inner workings of family medicine and mental health care in Ontario. They support patient care (with careful physician supervision and training), drive clinic efficiency, and ease physician workflow. 

While the hours of mentoring or training spent by the physician or staff may represent reduced billings or added clinic cost, they are hours invested in the next generation. A generation of young, passionate individuals who experience genuine relational care, value the importance of family medicine, and receive meaningful guidance will one day carry similar values and passion into the service they provide.

The Ontario College of Family Physicians predicts that 1-in-5 Ontarians could be without a family doctor by 2025. (“1-in-5 Ontarians could be without a family doctor by 2025”: Family Medicine News. OCFP. (2022, September 13) from The negative outcomes to our communities will be alarming and worrisome. 

Canadians need and seek trusted family doctors who understand them and support their health and well-being. The family physician’s role is unique and deeply influential, promoting the early detection of cancer, providing education about healthy lifestyles, supporting holistic healing and more. Joining families on their journey in life, family physicians with Christ-centred identities go far by extending Christ’s love in action and offering meaningful, supportive guidance that drives lasting positive outcomes.

As you reflect on your Christ-centred professional identity, consider how you define patient-centred care and balance this care against your time, expenses, and revenues. Your ethos and values will dictate the type of clinic you form or join. Christ may be inviting you today to live out a more missional life within your own context – a life that leaves a meaningful legacy through changing the lives of patients, students, trainees, and colleagues.

Grace Health Centre physicians and team welcome interested healthcare professionals to share their thoughts, missions, and professional journeys for meaningful dialogues. Contact them at or read more at

Join Grace Health Centre as a FHO Family Physician and/or GP Psychotherapist in Toronto, ON

We are a compassionate, collaborative team who integrates physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual healthcare together to serve our patient community in the Downsview area (Keele/Hwy 401).

We are missional in our approach to offer holistic patient healing and impactful current & future healthcare professional mentorships.

Details about our job opportunities:

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