President's Column

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Caring for Ourselves, Caring for Each Other

By Darrell G. Kirch, MD, AAMC President and CEO

Like many of my colleagues, I have seen firsthand how burnout and depression can interrupt a career in medicine. As a psychiatrist, I have personally experienced the tragedy of suicide. Two years ago, following the 2014 deaths by suicide of two residents in New York City, I spoke about the importance of resilience at the AAMC annual meeting in Chicago.

At that time, many in our profession were waking up to the crisis of burnout, depression, and suicide among physicians and scientists, when a study by Tait Shanafelt, MD, and colleagues at the Mayo Clinic showed that an alarming 46 percent of physicians reported experiencing at least one symptom of burnout. Unfortunately, in the two years since I gave that speech, the trend toward depression and burnout has worsened significantly.

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Creating a Safety Net: Preventing Physician Suicide

By Christine Moutier, MD, Chief Medical Officer, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

With higher rates of suicide among physicians than in the general public, the academic medicine community must work together to create a culture of safety that encourages doctors and trainees to seek mental health treatment when facing depression, anxiety, or burnout.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Success Not to Be Repeated

By Ronald A. Klain, External Advisor to the Skoll Global Threats Fund

As the Zika epidemic ramps up without federal funding in place, it is critical that we understand the threat of emerging infectious diseases is here to stay— and we must be prepared for the next epidemic.

About a decade ago, Mitchell Lunn, MD, noticed he was receiving little instruction on providing care to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community while a student at Stanford University School of Medicine, even though these patients faced documented disparities in disease burden and access to care. So, he did something about it.

In 2007, Lunn and fellow students approached Stanford faculty about adding more LGBT care topics to the curriculum. In response, faculty asked them to research what other medical schools were doing. Lunn and his classmates began searching, but the literature was slim. So they designed their own study, surveying medical education deans in the United States and Canada.

The results, published in 2011 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found a median of five hours devoted to LGBT care in the medical school curriculum. More than one-third of survey respondents reported zero hours on LGBT care during students’ clinical education.

“I’m gay myself, and I don’t know a single LBGT person who hasn’t had to educate their doctor about their needs,” said Lunn, now an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine and cofounder of Stanford’s LGBT Medical Education Research Group.

Over the last few years, however, medical schools have started to make an earnest effort to incorporate LGBT patient care into their curricula and to help close LGBT health disparities.

“This is patient-centered care,” said Lunn, “but it requires a lot of practice and skill to make sure you’re opening up the doors for those sensitive conversations.”

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Academic Medicine in the News

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Teaching Medical Teamwork Right From the Start

Thursday, September 29, 2016

App Screens for Anemia Without Needle Sticks

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Incoming Medical Students Receive Crash Course in Health Disparities