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Tulane earns wellness recognition from American Medical Association

November 03, 2022 5:15 PM
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Bethany Barnoski and Carolyn Scofield bbarnosk@tulane.edu and scofield@tulane.edu

Tulane University School of Medicine earned a Bronze recognition for well-being from the American Medical Association. (Photo by Cheryl Gerber)

 

The Joy in Medicine™ Health System Recognition Program is designed to spark and guide interested, committed, or engaged organizations to improve physician satisfaction and reduce burnout. Tulane University School of Medicine is one of 28 organizations that earned bronze recognition in 2022, joining an impressive cohort of health systems across the country.

"This is a huge win for Tulane School of Medicine because this is a prestigious award exclusive to organizations that are proving changes for physician well-being," said Chrissy Guidry, DO, assistant professor of surgery and Director of Well-Being for Graduate Medical Education. “If institutions want to provide top of the line care to patients, we have to prioritize our physician wellness.”

The American Medical Association distinction is granted only to those organizations that demonstrate a proven commitment to preserve the well-being of clinical care team members by engaging in real efforts to combat work-related stress and burnout. One of many such initiatives established at Tulane is establishing “wellness champions” in every residency and fellowship program. Those champions talk regularly and share any issues that should be addressed, and Guidry then uses this information to connect residents and fellows with appropriate resources and solutions. Tulane recently also added the Well-Being Index app, which allows residents and fellows to track their well-being over time and compare it with their peers around the country.

Karen Weissbecker, LMSW, PhD, is director of Student Support and Wellness. “We know that medical students come in with lower rates of anxiety and depression than peers their same age, but that quickly changes, under the pressures of school,” said Weissbecker. “It is important help students develop the tools they can use to combat burnout, and to cultivate a culture that destigmatizes getting help when you need it.”

The wellness initiatives are expanding at Tulane, and now include the Faculty Recognition Awards to highlight faculty accomplishments in teaching research and clinical care as well as community outreach. Geraldine Menard, MD, associate professor of medicine, chief of the Section of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics and vice chair of Clinical Affairs, Deming Department of Medicine, says the next steps are to establish a system of evaluation and feedback for School of Medicine leadership and develop measurements to see how wellness is improving at Tulane.

Tulane’s bronze recognition level will be valid till 2024, and Menard sees this as just the beginning.

“This gives us a roadmap and goals to aim for as we continue to improve,” said Menard. “We want our caretakers to be in the best health and to be well supported and grounded so that they can take care of our community. We’re looking forward to getting silver in the future.”