Would-be Physician, Heal Thyself

A new article from the Journal of the American Medical Association is the subject of a story on cnn.com this week Read Article Here. The story confirms that a significant percentage of medical students and medical residents suffer from depression, and goes on to discuss the contributors to this alarming statistic. This data, combined with similar data reported four years ago about physicians in practice, suggest that the stresses of medical education and medical practice are taking a major toll on those who choose to pursue this profession. Changes in curriculum and medical practice will be slow, but there is much that can be done on an individual level to combat burnout and depression. Self-care, personal renewal, and a cultivation of appreciation for humanism and the humanities is my prescription. I am traveling and speaking on this very subject, and finding eager audiences among the premedical students in pre health programs at our colleges and universities. I believe there is hope, but changing culture is hard. Let’s begin with ourselves.

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