Published: August 2, 2021

125 Strong Campaign: Creating a Pathway to Sustaining Wellness, Resilience, and Well-Being

Cultivating physician well-being and resilience is a key to enhancing the quality of otolaryngology care and the sustainability of our physician workforce.

Dana M. Thompson, MD, MS
Chair, 125 Strong Campaign, Wellness

Dana M. Thompson, MD, MSDana M. Thompson, MD, MS
Chair, 125 Strong Campaign, Wellness
Cultivating physician well-being and resilience is a key to enhancing the quality of otolaryngology care and the sustainability of our physician workforce. Creating a pathway to sustained wellness is at the center of the conversation and a strategic priority in celebration of our 125th year anniversary. The stressors of the past year and the impact of an unprecedented once-in-a-lifetime pandemic serve as a clarion call that investment in our own resilience is essential. The funds raised with the Academy’s 125 Strong Campaign will be utilized to create resources aimed at building resilience and wellness through connection, outreach, education, and advocacy to support our workforce. 

Goal #1. As taking care of self is essential to care for others, we aim to create an Online Catalog of Wellness Resources for any Academy member to access at any time. This website will have a repository of all recorded AAO-HNSF courses, Panel Presentations, webinars, and keynote addresses related to health, wellness, and resilience from which members can listen, learn, and grow. We aim to have additional resources for self-maintenance and guides to help build resilience in key areas such as healthy habits, diet, exercise, prevention, and mental health. We envision the online catalog of resources to also include supportive information and a tool kit for when we experience challenges such as “imposter syndrome” or “second victim” from an unexpected outcome of a surgical complication. We see it as our responsibility to provide supportive tools for surgeons to tap into when this happens. 

As we aim to expand the diversity of the membership, we must find ways to welcome and support members and the future pipeline. As a specialty that lags in diversity, we aim to create a substrate inclusivity and one where all can thrive. As inherent biases are part of the human condition, our biases unconsciously impact our ability to recognize when someone who we see different than ourselves is experiencing burnout or the emotional tax of who they represent. In alignment with the initiatives of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion domain of the 125 Strong Campaign, we aim to provide resources to support underrepresented communities, women, LGBTQ, and others who experience the emotional tax on their well-being in their work environments. Resources will be developed to educate others who may be unaware of the impact of such biases, to create inclusive working spaces, and to help our physicians recognize the impact of bias on health outcomes and patient wellness. 

In alignment with the 125 Strong Campaign in the Leadership Development, and Mentorship domain, we envision additional resources to support leaders in creating a healthy work environment and supporting our leaders in their wellness and resiliency journey. We envision creation of tool kits to help leaders recognize workspace triggers of burnout and address them proactively as investment in the workforce and organizational resilience. 

125 Campaign Icon WellnessGoal #2. Through a self-paced online curriculum based on the content available in the Online Catalog of Wellness Resources, we aim to create a Wellness Certificate Program for any Academy member. Successful completion of the curriculum would lead to an AAO-HNSF-endorsed certificate of completion. Our members who complete the certificate program can take their added knowledge and advocacy back to serve their communities, practices, and local membership. Those who complete the certificate training program will be invited to serve as AAO-HNS Wellness Ambassadors for sustainable change. 

Goal #3. As wellness, resilience, and well-being are all part of being connected and feeling supported by similar experiences, we aim to create a team of colleagues to serve as Wellness Ambassadors through the certification process to facilitate connection and the mission of wellness. Through Academy-provided resources supported by the 125 Strong Campaign, these ambassadors will leverage network effects of social media and other modalities of synchronous and asynchronous connection for peer support. We envision our Wellness Ambassadors to be part of an ongoing advisory team who will be charged with providing a menu of wellness events at our Annual Meeting. We hope you will join us in supporting our goal to have 10% of our membership as part of the Wellness Ambassador team.

To create a pathway for our sustained wellness, please join us in investing in each other and our collective future.  

More from August 2021 – Vol. 40, No. 7