Monday, October 4, 2010

Physician Wellness is an International Concern

Patricia Lindholm, MD,
2010-2011 MMA President

Originally Posted: October 4, 2010

This week I am attending the International Conference on Physician Health in Chicago.  It is jointly sponsored by the AMA, British Medical Association and Canadian Medical Association.  There are physicians here from other countries such as Spain, Australia and Saudi Arabia.  It is clear that we in Minnesota are not alone in our concern for the well-being of physicians.  
It is interesting to see research data that shows that a physician’s self care practices are directly related to the advice that they give patients about self care.  For example, a physician who has had colorectal cancer screening is more likely to advise it for their patients.  If we have adequate exercise and a healthy diet we are more comfortable advising our patients in these areas.
There is an entire “track” at this meeting studying the correlation of physician well being and quality of patient care.  People are also starting to ask how to make the lives of medical students, residents and practicing physicians better.  This is foreign territory for a profession that feels its members should care for others at the expense of ourselves.  There was also a very powerful talk by Dr. Michael F. Meyers on the subject of physician suicide and resilience.  The abstracts for most of the presentations are available on the AMA web site. 
I also notice that the British and the Canadians are way ahead of us in the study of the prevention and treatment of distress in physicians.  However, this month the AMA has released its new toolkit:  AMA Healthier Life Steps-A Physician’s Guide to Personal Health.  It is a good start, but there is much more that we must do for our colleagues.  I am looking forward to advancing this work in Minnesota together with the MMA. 

No comments:

Post a Comment