My mind is on fire with all I have absorbed in the past 10 days.
Two back to back trips to Chicago.
Two doctor conferences.
One offering ways for physicians to leave medicine.
The other trying to keep doctors happy and healthy in practice.
The first conference was SEAK’s Conference on Non-Clinical Careers for physicians.
The second was the International Conference on Physician Health 2010.
For those of you feeling alone in your struggles to practice medicine, and are doubting anyone cares, I have encouraging words for you.
Hundreds of physicians and researchers traveled from all over the globe to address the challenges faced by doctors today: how to enhance work-life balance and maintain personal health and well-being.
I met amazing people who are dedicating their lives and careers to this most important cause. The conference is a bienneial collaboration of the American, Canadian and British Medical Associations. It drew participants from as far away as Norway, New Zealand, South America and Saudia Arabia.
During presentations of research, workshops and small group meetings, I heard much that was inspiring:
- Initiatives to reduce the barriers to physicians receiving help for depression and life-stressors.
- Efforts to increase awareness of physician suicide and address the root causes (300-400 physicians commit suicide each year).
- Proactive approaches to medical student wellness, aiming to ensure lifelong health, happiness and success:
The University of Vanderbilt School of Medicine is one of a number of US schools embracing this exciting trend.
Georgetown University Medical School offers a popular Mind-Body-Medicine course for students.
The University of Virginia School of Medicine just introduced a Mindfulness in Medicine course into the curriculum.
- Physician Wellness Programs are providing resources at the academic institutions:
The University of Vanderbilt Medical Center has an extensive program with a special courses on disruptive behavior and maintaining professional boundaries.
UVA Medical School offers faculty and physicians peer to peer counseling, yoga, mindfulness classes and seminars.
- Innovative strategies for enhancing success in the treatment of physicians with addictions and behavioral issues.
- The World’s first comprehensive, on-line physician health and wellness resource: ephysicianhealth.com.
I was very touched by the energy and commitment so evident at this conference.
I knew I was with a passionate group of people when, after a full agenda of activities, the dinner conversations were invariably filled with animated talk from the day’s events. Underneath the different accents and perspectives, there was a common sentiment: much needs to be done to improve the lives of doctors and we are 100% committed to the cause. We are here to make a lasting difference.
The next AMA/CMA/BMA International Conference on Physician Health will be in Canada in 2012.
While some physicians have access to excellent wellness resources, most do not. How can we better address this great need? What resources would you like to see made available?
- Peer to peer counseling and support?
- Stress management workshops?
- Yoga or meditation classes?
- Retreats for professional renewal?
- Confidential Crisis Line?
Feel free to post a comment.