Physician Health

Physician wellness: A global collaboration

Troy Parks , News Writer

Researchers and physicians around the world are facing the same issue—keeping physicians healthy in a rapidly changing health care environment. Learn what one physician researcher from Mayo Medical School had to say about the need for a global collaboration to share approaches to physician, resident and medical student health and well-being.

“Meeting with researchers from around the globe helps us get outside of our little box and think more broadly, get new ideas and approaches that we wouldn’t have thought about otherwise,” said Lotte Dyrbye, MD, professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School, who will participate in a panel on medical education at the International Conference on Physician Health™. This year, the conference will be held in Boston, Sept. 18-20.

Mayo Medical School is a member of the first cohort of the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education (ACE) consortium which awarded $11 million in grants to 11 leading medical schools for major medical education innovations in 2013. This year a second cohort of 21 additional medical schools joined the consortium.

There is a definite link between medical education and physician well-being, Dr. Dyrbye said. She has studied burnout in medical education since 2004.

“Either you can be totally unprepared and go into this new health care delivery field and feel unempowered to make a difference,” she said, “and you can end up feeling demoralized, burnt out and unhappy … or you can take another approach.”

“You can equip yourself with the other skills that you need to really thrive in the evolving health care system by understanding quality improvement,” she said. For example, “by having a good concept of how you can improve your diabetes metrics.”

“If you have the skill set and you feel empowered, not only can you reach the new goals and expectations,” Dr. Dyrbye said, “but you’re also likely able to be more of a change agent to shape health care delivery in a way that will benefit patients.”

The response Mayo has taken with their grant is to better equip the next generation of physicians to practice within the new and evolving systems for two reasons, Dr. Dyrbye said:

  • So they don’t feel as overwhelmed and are better able to manage personally and also meet new goals of care.
  • So that they have the skills they need to shape and influence what health care delivery looks like in the future—to be willing to step up and be an advocate for change.

The 2016 International Conference on Physician Health is an opportunity to learn how researchers and physicians from around the world are working to improve physician health and well-being. Although the conference is a collaboration of the AMA, the Canadian Medical Association and the British Medical Association, researchers from around the world will be in attendance.

Other speakers include:

  • Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and founder of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society and its Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Clinic.
  • Christine Sinsky, MD, vice president of the AMA’s professional satisfaction and practice sustainability initiative and author of “From Triple to Quadruple Aim: Care of the Patient Requires Care of the Provider.”
  • Suzie Brown, MD, a congestive heart failure/cardiac transplant specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and singer-songwriter who writes songs to process her life and medical career.