Massachusetts Medical Society: BMC Appoints Wellness and Professional Vitality Chief

BMC Appoints Wellness and Professional Vitality Chief

By David Kibbe BMC Communications Director
Susannah Rowe, MD, MPH
Susannah Rowe, MD, MPH

Boston Medical Center (BMC) recognizes clinician burnout as a major priority for the organization. Susannah Rowe, MD, MPH, an ophthalmologist and assistant professor at Boston University School of Medicine, was appointed associate chief medical officer for wellness and professional vitality in January 2018.

Dr. Rowe leads the hospital’s efforts to understand and address clinician burnout. Pilot initiatives focus on strategies to ease administrative burdens and enhance flexible work schedules, as well as increasing access to resources for personal resilience and mental health. BMC will measure its progress on these initiatives and the results will be communicated to key stakeholders, including its boards.

“Hospitals play a critical role in clinician wellness,” Dr. Rowe said. “Being a physician is a wonderful privilege. At the same time it can be incredibly stressful. Over the past few years, the documentation and regulatory requirements have increased to the point where we now spend more time looking at our computer screens than we do talking with and caring for our patients. This is frustrating for both patients and their doctors. We are looking at ways to lessen the burden and provide resources for our clinicians so we can optimally deliver care. There is much work for us as a profession to do. We can’t take care of our patients to the best of our ability if we aren’t taking care of our own staff as well.”

Dr. Rowe serves on the MMS-MHA (Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association) Joint Task Force on Physician Burnout and the Physician Wellness Academic Consortium, a national group that supports physician wellness evaluation and needs assessment at academic institutions.

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