Academic medicine has long prioritized hard work over employee well-being. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, there were high levels of burnout in health care workers. Prior research has identified the key drivers of burnout, including a toxic workplace culture, lack of autonomy and control over working conditions, lack of inclusivity, unsustainable workloads, and a working environment that does not support personal growth.
We acknowledge that many drivers of well-being and burnout and well-being are systemic, and even societal, and therefore not easily addressed by DOM efforts. While individual adaptability and resilience are important for addressing mental health and burnout, interventions to address these systemic problems as a whole are urgently needed.
As a department, we are committed to tackling these issues in partnership with each of you, recognizing that prioritizing and supporting well-being requires sustained and committed effort from all members of our community.
A dedicated working group composed of both staff and faculty has been established to lead the department’s efforts to support well-being.
What is workplace well-being?
The working definition that our well-being workgroup is using is "Workplace well-being is a state in which individuals feel connected, empowered, and engaged in the work they do. This includes valuing and recognizing each employee as well as promoting a climate of inclusion, collaboration, safety, flexibility, and meaningful collective goals."
The Department of Medicine recently developed a 5-year strategic plan, a crucial component of which is to assess and develop strong support for employee well-being.
The Department’s strategy to address well-being and burnout will include:
- Identify and address toxic workplace behaviors
- Improve diversity and inclusivity
- Promote a culture of appreciation and recognition
- Train current and aspiring leaders to support well-being
- Promote social connection
We will also identify gaps in resources to support well-being and mental health and address such gaps as we can within our scope and resources.
Meet the members of the Department of Medicine Wellness Workgroup:
- Sam Caldwell, agreements manager, Department of Medicine
- Laura Curtin, research coordinator (Cardiology)
- Mona Deprey, division administrator (Hematology and Oncology)
- Jason Harper, clinical associate professor (Gastroenterology)
- Cynthia Ko, professor (Gastroenterology) and associate chair for faculty affairs, Department of Medicine
- Jackie Monroe, AHR director, Department of Medicine
- Laura Quinnan-Hostein, associate medical director, UW Medical Center - Northwest
- Lara Rich, program manager, Department of Medicine
- Mara Roth, associate professor (Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition)
- Sonja Stella, division administrator (Hematology and Oncology)
- Heidi Williams, AHR specialist, Department of Medicine
- Rebekah Zaharia, AHR manager (General Internal Medicine)