• Jan. 13 Town Hall to Explore COVID-19’s Impact on Physicians

    FP Guests Will Share Patient Care Experiences, Insights

    (Editor’s note: The  special Virtual Town Hall is now available for replay.)

    January 12, 2021, 10:52 am News Staff —It’s arguably impossible to overstate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The physical, emotional and spiritual impact on patients and their family members has been profound, while the ongoing drain on the health care system is unlike anything the United States ― or the world ― has experienced in the past century.

    female physician looking at laptop screen

    And it goes without saying that the toll on physicians and other front-line health care professionals is unparalleled, as even in the midst of this public health calamity, they continue to care for patients ― putting their own health and well-being, and that of their loved ones, at risk.

    The AAFP knows its members are shouldering that burden and will hold a special Virtual Town Hall from 7-8 p.m. CT on Jan. 13 to speak to this topic. Family physicians Kyle Jones, M.D., of Salt Lake City, and Lalita Abhyankar, M.D., M.H.S., of New York City, will join AAFP President Ada Stewart, M.D., of Columbia, S.C., and Senior Vice President Julie Wood, M.D., M.P.H., during the live event, titled “Your Feelings Are Real: Navigating Grief, Anger, Fear, Guilt, and Moral Injury.”

    Jones is an associate (clinical) professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine and director of primary care and medical director for utilization management at the Neurobehavior HOME Program, a patient-centered medical home for those with developmental disabilities. He earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin, completed his residency at the University of Utah and is certified by the ABFM.

    The author of a bestselling book on his personal struggles with mental illness, Jones has written extensively for AAFP publications about his experiences with depression and anxiety and how he has worked through them. Recently, he wrote about the added challenges of providing care for special populations during the pandemic.

    A board-certified family physician based in Brooklyn, N.Y., Abhyankar earned her medical degree from the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson and completed her residency training at the New York Presbyterian-Columbia Family Medicine Residency Program. She also holds a Master of Health Science in environmental health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

    Abhyankar serves as vice chair of the AAFP EMR Optimization Member Interest Group and is a member of the New York State AFP Board of Directors and chair of the chapter’s Advocacy Commission. She has written for the AAFP about her experiences caring for patients affected by COVID-19, including a recent blog post on secondary grief and another about the how the nightly cheering she and her health care colleagues received from their fellow New Yorkers lifted her spirits.

    The two guests will share some of their own experiences dealing with these painful emotions during the pandemic and offer insight into how they’ve been able to come to terms with them.

    Story Highlights

    Also during the Town Hall, participants plan to

    • examine the implications of the pandemic and related stressors on family physician well-being,
    • discuss how to recognize and manage secondary grief and vicarious bereavement, and
    • explore information and resources to support family physician mental health and well-being during the pandemic and beyond.

    The AAFP offers a wealth of tools and resources to assist members as they take stock of their personal well-being and chart a course to greater personal and professional satisfaction through the Academy’s Physician Health First® portal. The portal allows members to easily access the Physician Well-being Index assessment tool, as well as the Well-being Planner, which is designed to help identify goals and collect resources to address specific factors that affect family physician well-being. Members also can choose from a number of specific topic areas to find resources tailored to their needs.

    In addition, a new webpage titled COVID-19: Physician Well-being shares resources that address the specific challenges that besiege physicians caring for patients affected by the disease. Examples include peer support program resources, self-care stress management tips, CME and an on-demand webinar focusing on physician emotional well-being during the pandemic, and resources on crisis management and suicide prevention.

    The Virtual Town Hall can be viewed via the AAFP Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as on the Academy's YouTube channel. In addition to the above topics, members are encouraged to submit questions to the speakers during the Town Hall.

    Members who participate in the Virtual Town Hall can earn 1 AAFP Prescribed CME credit.

    For those who are unable to attend the Jan. 13 Virtual Town Hall, it will be available for members to view on demand the following day. A Q&A document from the live event will be available on Jan. 15.