Explore this Initiative

About Us

The Morton N. Swartz, MD Initiative was created to take on the critical imperative of developing and implementing new strategies to build wellness among Massachusetts General Hospital’s trainees and faculty. Multiple external forces have increased the stress on the community of trainees and faculty as well as medicine in general. It is becoming increasingly evident that the medical community as a whole is in need of outlets for support in coping with personal stress management, counseling for grief and psychological burdens and establishing healthy practices in their own lives. Addressing this issue provides an opportunity for the Department of Medicine to lead the initiative for humanistic practices in medicine for the medical community both at Mass General and nationally. Mass General is known for its unwavering focus on the patient well being. This will be only sustainable through engaging our leadership in supporting our members, in turn contributing to the well being of our patients and community as a whole.

Our mission is to support healthcare providers throughout the continuum of their careers. Our programs aim to alleviate the stress of witnessing illness, suffering and death, and to change the culture of medicine to allow future generations to thrive in the profession, finding meaning and joy in their work. The goals for the Swartz Initiative are to undertake a broad vision for how to build and lead, both institutionally and nationally, support systems for physicians to ensure their continued ability to deliver the highest quality of patient care.

The Swartz Initiative was named to honor the life and spirit of Morton N. Swartz, MD. Nationally known for his expertise in Infectious Diseases, Dr. Morton “Mort” Swartz was considered by many to be the soul of the medical services at Massachusetts General Hospital. For generations of Mass General physicians, Swartz epitomized what it meant to be humanistic in the practice of medicine – a practice that recognizes that the ability to deliver compassionate care and the ability to be completely present for patients depends upon the medical community’s ability to maintain its humanity in the face of recurrent tragedy and daily stress.

Sincerely,

Hasan Bazari, MD
Director, The Morton N. Swartz, MD Initiative

Our Programs

The Swartz Initiative is designed to help health care professionals experience greater joy and meaning in the practice of medicine over the course of their careers within the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. By engaging the medical community in a variety of ways, we hope to support wellness among physicians while providing tools to mitigate the stress and burnout that often accompanies a career in medicine. Many of these programs were initiated by medical students, residents, fellows, and faculty at Mass General. Leaders of the Swartz Initiative encourage all members of our community to continue developing ideas that will support the mission and values outlined above.

Internal Medicine Residents

The Swartz Initiative Resident Committee is a resident-led program designed to enhance wellness services for trainees throughout their residency training at Mass General. The committee aims to increase the availability and visibility of resources related to physical health, mental health and parenting for residents. Committee members work closely with Department of Medicine leaders to advocate for improvements in resident schedules, as well as increased opportunities for social gatherings and reflection throughout the academic year. Early initiatives have included the development of healthier food options, greater scheduling flexibility, and reflection sessions that allow residents to meet in a secure space and discuss a variety of topics related to their careers and personal lives.

Medicine Society of Fellows

The Medicine Society of Fellows was founded in 2015 by internal medicine subspecialty fellows, with the guidance and support of Beverly Biller, MD and Hasan Bazari, MD. The Society was created to initiate a robust supportive network for the professional and personal development of physicians at the fellow stage of training. There are many professional, academic and personal resources within the various medicine subspecialties, and the Society of Fellows aspires to catalyze their collaboration to foster synergy of support and opportunity for all fellows in the Partners HealthCare system.

Medicine Society of Fellows: Jacob Johnson, MD, Saif Muhsin, MD, Monica Sircar, MD, Ada Stefanescu, MD, and Miriam Udler, MD

Department of Medicine Faculty

The Swartz Initiative offers a variety of programs for faculty in the Department of Medicine at Mass General. Faculty reflection sessions give our faculty the space and opportunity to express themselves in peer group sessions. In collaboration with the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, the Swartz Initiative provides access to participate in the Stress Management and Resiliency Training (SMART) Program. The SMART Program teaches a variety of different meditation and related techniques for eliciting the relaxation response and incorporates social support, cognitive skills training, and positive psychology. It is focused on developing skills to reduce the stress response and enhance resiliency.

The Swartz Initiative Nationally

The Collaborative for Healing and Renewal in Medicine (CHARM) is dedicated to developing a national and novel approach to understanding the root causes of physician well being and burnout, and to building an array of programs to promote both individual interventions as well as culture changes for the improvement of the professional lives of caregivers across the continuum and in multiple institutions. There has been a national increase in programs dedicated to the issue of physician well being and burnout including but not limited to wellness programs, reflection sessions and medicine humanities, emotional intelligence workshops, coaching programs, stress management, spirituality, facilitated discussion, mindfulness training and narrative medicine. CHARM's goal is a two-step approach with the initial phase being the development of a national collaborative composed of experts in residency education and well-being to review the current literature, agree on appropriate language for this issue to define the problem on both a national and institutional scale, and promote the release of consensus recommendations for training programs and their accrediting bodies. The second phase involves innovating around interventions to prevent and ameliorate burnout through collaboration across institutions.

Awards

Humanism Awards

As part of the Swartz Initiative, the Humanism Awards were created to honor the traits and values that foster sustainability and joy throughout the medical professional community in the Department of Medicine. The awards recognize, specifically joy in the practice of medicine, kindness to others including patients, families and other members of the health care team and humility in their interactions with others. Awards are peer selected and are given to residents (interns, juniors and seniors), fellows and faculty.

2017 Swartz Initiative Humanism Award Winners

  • Intern Award
    • Bassem Mikhael, MD, MBA
  • Junior Resident Award
    • Alyssa Castillo, MD
  • Senior Resident Award
    • Charlie Jain, MD
  • Fellow Award
    • Sam Bernard, MD
  • Faculty Award
    • Vicki Jackson, MD, MPH

2016 Swartz Initiative Humanism Award Winners

  • Intern Award
    • Shawn Gogia, MD
  • Junior Resident Award
    • Megan Koster, MD and Jon Weiner, MD
  • Senior Resident Award
    • Taher Modarressi, MD
  • Fellow Award
    • Tracey Simon, MD
  • Faculty Award
    • Victor Chiappa, MD
  • Morton N. Swartz Award for Humanism in Medicine
    • Alyssa Sclafani, MD