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AMA Launches Three Programs for Physician Wellness

Initiatives focus on med schools; docs with prediabetes and high BP; professional satisfaction

MONDAY, Sept. 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians' personal health is a global concern and three initiatives are being developed to encourage positive change, according to a report from the American Medical Association (AMA).

Robert M. Wah, M.D., president of the AMA, discusses the challenges physicians face trying to focus on personal heath while juggling many responsibilities and pressures, including patients, practice, family, and friends; keeping up with medical news; and maintaining personal interests. In a meeting with attendees from 13 countries, stressors were found to change during different career stages, but were common for physicians around the world.

Wah notes that the AMA is working on systematic and cultural changes in three strategic focus areas, including implementing innovative curriculum in 11 medical schools via the Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative (teaching skills such as coping mechanisms and business management). In addition, the Improving Health Outcomes initiative aims to reduce prediabetes and high blood pressure in physicians to encourage them to be good role models for their patients. Finally, the Professional Satisfaction and Practice Sustainability initiative aims to improve physician satisfaction and "put the joy back into medicine," which will impact the health of patients.

"If we're in poor health, how can we counsel our patients on improving their health? Poor physician health affects us all -- from our peers to our trainees, patients and the health care system as a whole, not to mention our own families," Wah said in a statement.

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Physician's Briefing