In the current health care environment, trainees, faculty, and staff are at increased risk for burnout and depression. Psychological, emotional, and physical well-being are critical in the development of the competent, caring, and resilient physician. Self-care is an important component of professionalism; it is also a skill that must be learned and nurtured in the context of other aspects of residency training.

The Division of Nutritional Science & Obesity Medicine, in partnership with Washington University School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, take on the responsibility of:

  • enhancing the meaning that each physician trainee finds in the experience of being a physician, including protecting time with patients, minimizing non-physician obligations, providing administrative support, promoting progressive autonomy and flexibility, and enhancing professional relationships;
  • attending to scheduling, work intensity, and work compression that impacts well-being;
  • evaluating workplace safety data and addressing the safety of trainee, staff and faculty members;
  • establishing policies and programs that encourage optimal trainee, staff and faculty member well-being; and providing the opportunity to attend medical, mental health, and dental care appointments, including those scheduled during their working hours;
  • monitoring trainee, staff and faculty member burnout, depression, and substance abuse and of educating trainee, staff and faculty members in identification of the symptoms of burnout, depression, and substance abuse, including means to assist those who experience these conditions and to also recognize those symptoms in themselves and how to seek appropriate care.
  • providing access to appropriate tools for self-screening and to confidential, affordable mental health assessment, counseling, and treatment, including access to urgent and emergent care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Trainees, staff and faculty members are encouraged to alert the program director or other designated personnel or programs when they are concerned that another trainee, staff or faculty member may be displaying signs of burnout, depression, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, or potential for violence.

ACGME Wellness Initiatives and Partnerships

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has created this page to share with programs, institutions, residents, and fellows resources that promote a culture of well-being and provide support for burnout, depression, or suicide.

The ACGME has partnered with the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) to launch a new Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience, co-chaired by ACGME CEO Thomas J. Nasca, MD, MACP, NAM President Victor J. Dzau, MD, and Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) President Darrell G. Kirch, MD.

The ACGME has also partnered with Mayo Clinic and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) in the initiative, “Healthcare Professional Burnout, Depression and Suicide Prevention” and have developed a toolkit, fact page, a compilation of resources for physicians, and a Prevention Programs source list.

Back to Bedside is an ACGME initiative designed to empower residents and fellows to develop transformative projects that combat burnout by fostering meaning in their learning environments; engaging on a deeper level with what is at the heart of medicine: their patients.

WU/BJH/SLCH Graduate Medical Education Consortium Initiatives

Department of Medicine Initiatives

The Department of Medicine has taken great strides in the area of Resident Wellness. They provide resources on topics such as personal finance, personal wellness, fatigue management, mental health and support, parenting and personal development.

Nutritional Science & Obesity Medicine Initiatives

The Division of Nutritional Science & Obesity Medicine hosts peer/social events at least quarterly to build personal relationships. These gatherings range from cookouts and potlucks to employee recognition events such as retirement, dedication, welcome and farewell parties. These events are meant to promote healthy lifestyle habits by providing healthy foods, social interactions, and trainee/mentor interactions in an informal environment.