Share a doctor's look at the science of happiness

By Cecilia Nasmith

The January PACE presentation will feature Dr. Mukesh Bhargava exploring the science of happiness.

The Northumberland Hills Hospital chief of staff originated the series (the acronym stands for Personalized Assessment and Change Education) as a TED-talk style of forum in response to the questions he was most frequently fielding from his own patients in his practice as an internist specializing in cardiology, cholesterol disorders and stroke prevention.

The talks alternate locations between Cobourg and Port Hope. The Jan. 16 presentation will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the hospital (1000 DePalma Dr.).

Dr. Bhargava has been practicing locally since 2011. He earned his medical degree in India in 1990, completed his residency in New York, and practiced for 17 years in Maine.

His Northumberland practice was established in partnership with his wife Dr. Anuja Sharma. Prior to becoming chief of staff, he held a number of other administrative positions at the hospital, including chief of medicine and terms as president of the medical staff and chair of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee.

Over the years, he has studied the concept of happiness both formally and informally. His talk will touch on a number of points, including:

  • What happiness really means and why it matters to each of us

  • How to increase our own happiness and foster happiness in others

  • Why social connections, kindness and community are key to happiness

  • Which mental habits are most conducive to happiness and how mindfulness can help

It all adds up to a fascinating conversation starter on a complex and compelling topic (and its relationship to our successful pursuit of a meaningful life). Bring your questions, suggestions and experiences, and join in what promises to be a lively discussion.

Like all PACE presentations, this one consists of a 30-minute talk, a 20-minute questions-and-answer session with the presenter, and a 10-minute moderator summary.

The series is a collaboration among community health-care providers and local residents. The partners include NHH, the NHH Foundation, Community Health Centres of Northumberland (whose Port Hope site is the alternate location for the talks), the Northumberland Family Health Team and internal-medicine specialists IMCare. As well, there is the Loyalist College Interactive Media Development-Film and Television Production program, which supports audio and visual recording and distribution of the presentations.

PACE talks are free, but pre-registration is required in order to manage room capacity. You can reserve your spot by visiting, where you will also find a listing of upcoming speakers and highlights as well as video highlights from recent talks.

Looking ahead, reservations will be taken starting the week of Jan. 14 for the Feb. 20 talk, a presentation in Port Hope (99 Toronto Rd.) by Dr. Deepa Bhargava called Ancient Wisdom with Today's Food.