Wellness Strategy

Welcome to the wellness strategy and leadership page. Below are evidence-based documents that will help you understand the business case for investing in well-being. We highlight a wellness map so you can understand where your organization/department stands in relation to wellness, and then finally the steps we can take to begin having a bigger impact on wellness outcomes.

A wellness map & vision

The state of wellness is nobody’s fault, yet everyone’s responsibility, meaning our ability to respond. If we are going to move the dial on wellness, we must respond together.  Like any destination, a map is very useful to know where we are and where we want to go and as such it can help us align with a strategy that moves us forward in relation to physician well-being.  The map below highlights what organizations need to have implemented to begin to make a moderate or high impact on wellness outcomes. Our recent wellness survey data helps us begin to have a moderate impact on physician well-being, the map shows us how we can, over time, move towards having a major impact in this area. Though this will take investment, people power, and an acceptance that this will be uncomfortable and messy at times.

Article | The Business Case for investing in physician well-being
September 25, 2017 Journal of the American Medical Association - Internal Medicine

We know we are improving wellness when…

  1. Search and select committees recognize the institutions values and pick leadership accordingly
  2. Structures are in place to manage challenges
  3. The values of the institution are known and embraced
  4. Mistreatment/racism/disruptive behavior decreases
  5. We nurture creativity/innovation and optimal patient outcomes/research
  6. We acknowledge our mistakes and where we can do better
  7. Burnout rates start to abate, more engaged learners and faculty
  8. Positive shifts in quality of life and professional satisfaction

Easy(ish) wins:

From the literature, the following areas will make a significant difference in the domains of wellness and burnout:

  1. Physicians who spend 20% of their professional effort focused on dimensions of work they find most meaningful are at a dramatically lower risk for burnout (Shanafelt et al, 2009)
  2. Leadership Development: Research has found a 1-point increase in leadership satisfaction decreases burnout by 3.3 and increases satisfaction by 9% (Shanafelt 2015)
  3. Change the conversation at divisional/annual reviews: Put wellness on the agenda for discussion every month
  4. Develop skills to identify and intervene with unwell colleagues
  5. Develop skills to manage difficult personalities
  6. Cultivating Community at Work
  7. Responding to colleagues experiencing “distress” - College complaints, lawsuits, medical errors, unexpected deaths, experiencing key transitions
  8. Peer support and coaching networks (department based)

Article | Impact of Organizational Leadership on Physician Burnout and Satisfaction
April 2015 Mayo Clinic Proceedings


It can be overwhelming to know where to start in relation to well-being, however recent research points to the top 7 key organization-wide approaches to foster effective unit-level efforts to improve clinician wellbeing, these are:

  1. Establish a common organizational framework for action
  2. Appoint and support a unit well-being leader
  3. Assess the experience and unique needs of each unit and compare with benchmarks
  4. Integrate unit-level well-being improvement efforts with the organizational improvement infrastructure
  5. Create a consistent structure and process for work unit well-being interventions
  6. Foster progress in the work unit well-being journey by assessing work unit process metrics
  7. Consider the unit lens when assessing organizational progress on outcome metrics

Article | Executive Leadership and Physician Well-being: Nine Organizational Strategies to Promote Engagement and Reduce Burnout
January 2017 Mayo Clinic Proceedings