• Guest Editorial

    Give Residents Access to a Community of Anti-burnout Support

    November 21, 2022, 3:30 p.m. Bridget Lynch, M.D., M.P.H. — I first learned about burnout at a retreat during my third year of residency. I remember thinking, “That’s what I’ve been experiencing.” I also realized that I would be fooling myself to think that I am immune to the possible detrimental outcomes that can come from burnout.

    It was then that I made a commitment to understanding and addressing burnout and working to find ways to help myself and my physician colleagues to thrive. This desire to create options is what led me to serve as chair of the AAFP Resident Well-being and Burnout Prevention Project ECHO, which launched with a pilot this summer and will have a broader rollout in 2023.

    This Project ECHO® (Extension of Community Health Outcomes) is just one creative approach to help us explore together and teach each other about broad lessons and learnings that can limit the effects that burnout can have on our lives and our careers.

    What is Project ECHO®?

    Built using the University of New Mexico Project ECHO® model, the Resident Well-being and Burnout Prevention ECHO intends to create a safe space for resident physicians around the country to come together, build community, learn from evidence-based lectures and work together through our own hardest of cases: ourselves.

    As a tele-mentoring model, this Project ECHO® provides a space for residents to interact with AAFP faculty certified in Leading Physician Well-being. Ultimately, it helps grow a network of resident physician leaders who can return to their programs with knowledge and problem-solving skills they glean from colleagues nationwide.

    Start Protecting Yourself Now

    Burnout is a pervasive experience among resident physicians and practicing physicians. It has been part of the conversation for a relatively short time, but we know it starts early, even in medical school. No matter when you see or feel burnout, there are ways to take action to protect yourself and your colleagues, and in this Project ECHO® these approaches are explored together.

    The Project ECHO® model brings opportunities to our family medicine resident physicians and allows residents to access information and techniques to better understand and address resident physician well-being and burnout prevention. This Project ECHO® intends to equip our family medicine residents with better understanding of this phenomenon.

    Project ECHO®, which is supported by a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, provides participants with tools and skills to keep their own well-being central in their pursuit of joy and success throughout their careers as family physicians.

    We are grateful to the family medicine residents who have participated and provided feedback during the pilot and the residency programs that have blazed a trail by giving their residents the opportunity to connect and learn during our pilot.

    Check out the details and apply on behalf of your program by Dec. 15. You can also learn more during a one-hour informational meeting at 1 p.m. CT on Nov. 29; click “Register for a Live Info Session” on the project webpage to register.

    Bridget Lynch, M.D., M.P.H., is a family physician in Albuquerque, N.M. She is chair of the AAFP’s Resident Well-being and Burnout Prevention ECHO; a former Leading Physician Well-being scholar; and current Board chair and Congress of Delegates delegate for the New Mexico AFP.