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Reducing Physician Burnout Focus of New Study at UAB

Reducing Physician Burnout Focus of New Study at UAB

BIRMINGHAM – A program to study and reduce physician burnout amongst residents will be introduced at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, along with three other hospitals around the nation. The five-year, $1.8 million grant is funded by the American Medical Association.

UAB’s Tinsley Harrison Internal Medicine Residency Program shares the grant with Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and Stanford University School of Medicine. The award supports the study of key factors that contribute to the well-being and clinical skills of internal medicine residents across different training programs.

“We are excited to be a part of this important study,” said Lisa Willett, M.D., professor of medicine at UAB and program director of the Tinsley Harrison Internal Medicine Residency Program. “The learning environment is critical to the professional development of physicians in training. With this study, we hope to identify the key elements of the learning environment that shape the professional development of residents, while ensuring they are able to spend meaningful time at the bedside caring for patients.”

Information gathered from the early years of the study will help educators better understand that training environment. Once factors that affect the residency training environment are identified, new techniques to reduce physician burnout and improve clinical skills will be tested. The final years of the study aim to improve resident wellness and clinical skills.

Working with the residency program to implement the AMA “Reimagining Residency” grant will be Stephen W. Russell, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine and pediatrics, and KeAndrea Titer, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine.

“The Tinsley Harrison residency program is already taking steps to enhance the clinical skills of residents by offering formative skills assessments with real-time feedback,” Dr. Russell said. “The hope is that by collaborating with other leading universities, UAB will continue to investigate and implement the best practices of resident education and that knowledge can be generalized to other programs.”

Dr. Russell will represent UAB on the grant’s executive committee as well as oversee the outpatient formative assessments of clinical skills. As a recent chief medical resident at UAB and new faculty in the Division of General Internal Medicine, Dr. Titer will oversee the bedside rounding initiative at UAB as well as lead local resident engagement.

“This grant, along with graduate medical education leadership, will not only serve to increase wellness in our trainees,” Dr. Titer said, “but also continually improve upon the delivery of excellence in patient care that they provide each day.”

The Tinsley Harrison Internal Medicine Residency Program serves as one of more than 20 residency programs within UAB graduate medical education. The residency program comprises 116 categorical residents and 16 combined Medicine-Pediatrics residents, providing care at UAB Hospital and the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center (BVAMC). During training, residents acquire clinical acumen for the diagnosis and management of common acute and chronic medical illnesses as well as rare diseases that involve complex clinical reasoning. This grant will aid in the continual development of physicians who demonstrate excellence in clinical skills and compassion in patient care.

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