A certified psychiatrist since 2008, François Bourque has since then completed a two-year clinician-investigator fellowship in first episode of psychosis and cultural psychiatry at McGill University, as a Fonds de recherche en santé Québec scholar. In 2010, he was awarded a Master of Science degree for a thesis on the risk of psychosis among first- and second-generation immigrants.
Having tackled medical and musical studies at the same time, François Bourque has a doctoral degree in medicine and a master's in piano performance from the Laval University, as well as an undergraduate diploma in music from the Conservatoire de Musique de Québec. Still musically active, he hopes with his fellow musicians and physicians to build bridges between arts and and healthcare and help battle the stigma of mental illness.
Very engaged in the field of physician health and wellbeing, Doctor Bourque has long been involved in the Federation of Medical Residents of Quebec as Chair of the Resident Wellness Committee. He strives to to promote a healthier medical culture in order to improve the health of tomorrow's doctors. In 2007, the Canadian Association of Interns and Residents granted him the Derek Puddester Award for his exceptional contribution to the wellbeing of his peers. He is currently a consultant psychiatrist with the Quebec Physician Health Program.
During his psychiatry residency, Doctor Bourque was especially affected by issues related to immigrants, Aboriginals and youth suffering from psychosis, such as social exclusion and stigma. He is presently involved in providing mental health services for the Cree and Inuit communities in Northern Quebec. In recent years, he has committed himself to study the social determinants that contribute to the onset of mental health problems. His graduate studies showed that both first- and second-generation immigrants have an increased risk of developing psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. Indeed, the risk varies considerably based on ethnicity and host societies, suggesting that the social environment plays a determining role.
François Bourque's doctoral project seeks specifically to better understand the connections between society, ethnicity and psychosis. He carries his work in epidemiology and social psychiatry at the renowned Institute of Psychiatry (at the Maudsley Hospital) at King's College London in the United Kingdom. He is planning to take up a career as a clinician-researcher and aspires to shed light on the relationship between the social world and mental illness, in order to improve public health.