Focused On Well-Being

Chopra's keynote address, new AAFP initiative both focus on ways to take better care of yourself, patients

Deepak Chopra, MD

Deepak Chopra, MD

Welcome to San Antonio and FMX 2017!

We gather here as the AAFP celebrates its 70th Anniversary of working with you to improve the health of patientas, families, and communities in the United States and beyond. Enjoy and become inspired with the many interactive, immediate, and customizable learning and networking opportunities at FMX.

FMX serves and the official kick-off for a new initiative you will learn about this week: Physician Health First. Through this well-being program, the AAFP is committing to help identify and address the root causes affecting professional and personal fulfillment.

The AAFP recognizes that physician burnout is a symptom of significant dysfunction in our health care system. While the Academy works to address fixing the system, it is now offering members access to a comprehensive and diverse set of resources to help reduce the risk of physician burnout, as recent data shows that family physicians have a higher rate of burnout than many other specialties.

Learn more about this new initiative during today's General Session from AAFP Senior Vice President for Education, Clif Knight, MD, CPE, FAAFP.

Renowned integrative medicine expert Deepak Chopra, MD, will continue the theme, delivering the session's keynote address, "Future of Well-being." Chopra will provide insight into a new approach to well-being based in the latest findings from both mainstream and alternative medicine.

Chopra — a clinical professor at the University of California, San Diego, Medical School, as well as a researcher, neurology and psychiatry, at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston — will talk about an expanding program on physician and health care provider burnout created by UCSD and the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi that helps in six areas: sleep, medication and stress management, movement, relationship and emotions, nutrition, and grounding.

"We're doing a lot of research in all these areas and have a lot of published results on how epigenetic modifications and epigenetic changes occur just with simple lifestyle measures, and you can build them into your daily routine," Chopra said in an interview leading up to FMX. "It's very important because for a physician … it's not only burnout, but everything that goes with it, including depression. Suicide is a big risk factor for health care providers."

Chopra will explain that since research shows lifestyle influences 95 percent of disease-related gene mutations, including the six mentioned earlier, the future requires a more whole-systems biology approach. He also said he plans to outline the "Future of Epigenetics Roadmap," where medicine will be personalized, preventable, predictable, participatory, and process-oriented.

"There will be no such thing as treatment for all, because even now we know you can do things like stool analysis and microbiology analysis, and they precisely target treatment for people," he said.

After this afternoon's General Session, take time to experience the new initiative at the Physician Health First Booth in the Hub. Find out about the related well-being education sessions being held here at FMX, a new AAFP web portal dedicated to physician well-being, and an upcoming 2018 conference featuring experts united under a common cause: The health and well-being of the primary care workforce.

"The physician culture is really one of noble self-sacrifice, and this is an important part of the heritage of being physicians," Knight told the Daily Experience staff. "Today, it's just not sustainable. This self-sacrifice results in physician burnout, and we know that burnout can impact the quality of care that patients receive, health outcomes, and the satisfaction of patients in the sense of their relationship with their family physicians or health care teams."

AAFP and Medscape Teaming Up

Medscape is working with the AAFP to support family physician well-being. With the Academy launching the Physician Health First initiative to help reduce the risk of physician burnout, Medscape finds itself in a unique position to elevate and intensify awareness of that campaign, as well as spotlight the critical role family physicians play in the health care system. Together, Medscape and the AAFP plan to develop robust content focusing on the emerging challenges of family physician well-being and beyond.