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St. Luke’s program addresses physician burnout


St. Luke’s University Health Network has launched an innovative residency program to stop burn-out before it happens. The new program promotes “lifestyle medicine” not only for patients, but also for doctors themselves.

Introduced by Dr. Alan Remde, director of research and curriculum, the program aims to improve patient care by way of addressing providers’ own health and satisfaction. Incoming family medicine residents are taught a practice-what-you-preach approach to communication, stress management, healthy eating and exercise, as well as other self-care techniques.

“With the burnout rate among physicians at about 40 percent, and the high incidence of depression and suicide among them, it’s critical to help residents develop skills to take better care of themselves throughout their careers,” said Remde, who joined St. Luke’s in 2018. He honed integrative medicine skills during a fellowship in 2013-2015.

Traditional physician training rarely provides in-depth content on nutrition, exercise or stress management. But in St. Luke’s family medicine program, new doctors now learn to lead by example while coaching their patients on how to change ingrained behaviors that lead to and worsen chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, COPD and cardiovascular disease.