In the face of the ongoing national clinician burnout crisis and the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience (Clinician Well-Being Collaborative) is announcing a two-year extension of its work.

“The NAM recognizes there has never been a more critical time to invest in clinician well-being,” said NAM President Victor J. Dzau, chair of the initiative. “We are exhilarated that many of our sponsors are continuing with us on this journey, with even more leaders joining our next phase. Together, we can move towards a national health care system that cares for our caregivers.”

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, many clinicians and health professional trainees already faced burnout, as well as stress, anxiety, depression, substance use disorders, and suicidality. Now the pandemic is presenting clinicians with greater workplace hardships and moral dilemmas that are very likely to exacerbate existing levels of burnout and related mental health problems.

“I consider this surge of physical and emotional harm our clinicians are now facing a parallel pandemic, which will have acute and long-lasting impacts on our health professionals and learners serving on the front lines as well as implications on patient care,” said co-chair of the initiative, Darrell G. Kirch, president emeritus of the Association of American Medical Colleges. “The Clinician Well-Being Collaborative will continue to bring together the various stakeholders needed to confront the significant challenges to well-being in health care.”

Resources on how to support the health and well-being of clinicians during public health emergencies, including the COVID-19 pandemic, are available online.

“We have the opportunity now to build a better health care system after COVID-19. If we create a system that values the well-being of staff and patients; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and compassion and mutual respect, the resources will be there even in tight times to achieve these goals. Values should drive institutional decision-making,” added initiative co-chair Thomas J. Nasca, president and chief executive officer of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. “If this pandemic refocuses us on our moral mission to provide care to others, it will have invigorated the profession as much as it has challenged it. We can support individual clinicians and learners by changing the health care system and its culture over time.”

View the NAM’s report, Taking Action Against Clinician Burnout: A Systems Approach to Professional Well-Being, for resources on taking a systems approach to support clinician well-being.

Strategic planning for the next phase of the Collaborative will culminate in early 2021. Dr. Dzau commented, “It’s time to develop a national strategy to address burnout, and the Clinician Well-Being Collaborative is uniquely qualified to coordinate the many actors who will need to come together on behalf of our nation’s clinicians and patients to achieve this. These next two years will be critical to addressing the pressing issues affecting clinician well-being, including leadership, COVID-19, and metrics. We look forward to shaping a coordinated strategy to progress across these priority areas, and making a sustainable impact.”

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Sponsors of the Collaborative currently include:

  • Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
  • Association of American Medical Colleges
  • American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
  • American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
  • American Board of Medical Specialties
  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Medical Association
  • American Psychiatric Association
  • American Society of Anesthesiologists
  • American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
  • Carilion Clinic
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
  • Council of Medical Specialty Societies
  • Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
  • Federation of State Medical Boards
  • Johns Hopkins Health System
  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Michigan Medicine
  • Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at University Health Network
  • United Health Group & Optum
  • University of Kansas Medical Center
  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Launched in 2017, the Clinician Well-Being Collaborative is a network of organizations committed to reversing trends in clinician burnout. Products and activities of the Clinician Well-Being Collaborative include:

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