The Neurology Wellness Program
The Neurology Wellness Program is a longitudinal wellbeing program for residents & fellows with robust participation by faculty. Since its inception in 2017, we have aimed to support wellbeing, build community, foster peer support and mentorship, and reduce burnout. Programming includes monthly lunch workshops to increase individual wellbeing and resiliency, as well as program-wide events to build community.
Monthly conferences focus on active discussions of various wellbeing related topics including self-compassion, appreciative inquiry, goal-setting, nutrition for cognition, optimizing sleep quality, gratitude practice, the mentor/mentee relationship, navigating difficult conversations, narrative medicine. At times by resident request we invite panels of attending physicians, fellows or residents to discuss topics of interest such as work/life integration, applying to fellowship, finding your first job.
Community wellness events in the past have included picnics, 5/10K run, bowling, holiday gift exchange, ceramic painting, and happy hours. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, community events are currently on hold. Instead, senior residents have organized the residents into “Wellness Pods” with ~ 2 residents/year. These pods meet for outdoor, socially-distanced activities in order to maintain community and support throughout the residency among the challenges of the pandemic.
The program has been effective in improving wellness and reducing burnout. These significant changes, reflecting improved interpersonal engagement and peer support, and decreased burnout, were presented through an oral presentation at the International Conference on Physician Health Fall 2018 and a poster session at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Conference Spring 2019. This is the first use of a longitudinal team-based wellness program in academic medicine that has shown significant improvements in trainee and faculty physician burnout.
The program was originally developed with guidance from the American Academy of Neurology Live Well Lead Well Leadership program and the Stanford WellMD Center by Tresa McGranahan MD/PhD and Rebecca-Miller-Kuhlmann MD. It is directed by resident and fellow leaders under mentorship by Rebecca Miller-Kuhlmann MD, which ensures ongoing alignment with trainee needs. Fellow Wellness Leads 2020-2021 are Elaine Su MD and Shefali Dujari MD. Resident Wellness Leads 2020-2021 are Laura Saucier MD, Sam Spiegel MD, Kiersten Fisher MD, and Jenny Chen MD with administrative support from Mitzine Wright.
- Provide tools for self-care and wellbeing promotion
- Promote wellbeing as a goal through training and beyond
- Build community and connectedness within neurology department, spanning training levels
- Monthly workshops: open to topics relevant to wellbeing
- Every 4th workshop dedicated to mentorship and spent in teams with attending mentors
- Off-site events every 1-2 months
A mentorship program at Stanford is helping to prevent burnout and promote wellness to neurology residents, fellows, and faculty. Early response from surveys of the participants indicate it may be working.