Junior Fellows & Medical Students: Junior Fellows' First Annual National Physician Wellness Week a Huge Success

Kristen Zeligs, MD, FACOG, Junior Fellow Congress Advisory Council Chair

Physical wellness at the trainee level was a primary focus of the 2017 Junior Fellow Congress Advisory Council (JFCAC). As the current JFCAC Chair, one of the most rewarding experiences for me is interacting with ACOG Junior Fellows. I often ask residents about their residency program’s current state of wellness and seek to learn about ongoing efforts to sustain or develop a successful wellness program or curriculum. Although some programs are much further ahead than others in this arena, many residents expressed interest in implementing a wellness program at their institution, but were not sure where to start.

The decision to create an annual National ACOG Junior Fellow Physician Wellness Week was born from the desire to shed light on the importance of physician wellness within our specialty. We also hoped to help ob-gyn training programs start their journey of creating a sustainable culture of wellness and mental resiliency.

Constructing a Physician Wellness Week Pilot Program

One week in March was chosen for ob-gyn training programs nationwide to raise awareness of the importance of wellness within our specialty. Programs were encouraged to be creative and to participate in any way possible. Although the project was spearheaded by the JFCAC—targeting ob-gyn residencies and fellowship programs—we encouraged departments to welcome participation from caregivers of various disciplines and at every stage of their careers.

To pilot the program, we asked programs to focus their daily activities around the following wellness pillars: 

  • Physical
  • Environmental
  • Spiritual/Mindful
  • Emotional/Intellectual
  • Social

Participants were encouraged to share their experiences on various outlets of social media using the hashtag #ACOGbewell. Our goal was to take the submissions, learn from the various activities that programs chose, and create an online library and list of wellness activities that could serve as an accessible resource for all Junior Fellows in planning future wellness related activities.

National ACOG Junior Fellow Wellness Week Pilot

Our first National ACOG Junior Fellow Physician Wellness Week was held March 27-31, 2017 and was a huge success! The enthusiasm and excitement of programs that participated was astounding and resulted in over 1,000 posts on various social media outlets from over 50 different residency programs! The 2017 ACOG Wellness Ob-Gyn Residency Champion Award was presented to the ob-gyn residency program at Providence–Providence Park Hospital/Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Program, based on their stellar participation of wellness-related activities throughout Wellness Week.

Additional programs were recognized for their exemplary planning and execution of an activity addressing one of the daily wellness pillars:

  • University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (Physical)
  • University of California, San Francisco, Fresno (Environmental)
  • Emory University (Spiritual/Mindful)
  • University of California, Davis Medical Center (Emotional/Intellectual)
  • UDH University of Puerto Rico (Social)

Additional photos from institutions around the country that participated can be found on the ACOG Junior Fellow website.

We hope that this event initiates a dialogue about the importance of incorporating wellness into one’s daily routine.  As many of us have learned, it’s not just learning how to prevent burnout, but also how to sustain a state of wellness that helps one to succeed in his or her life and career. Wellness is an evolving process, often requiring an intricate balance between interconnected elements, the prioritization of which may differ from physician to physician. We look forward to making this an annual tradition and hope your program will participate next year!

To learn more, visit our ACOG Junior Fellow Physician Wellness Week webpage

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
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