Darshan Mehta, MD, MPH, was slated to start his new role as interim director of the Center for Faculty Development’s new Office for Well-Being on April 1. In light of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, Mehta, the medical director for the Benson Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine and associate physician in the Department of Medicine, started one week early due to an influx of responses following the announcement of the office’s launch.
“An email went out on Monday March 23 about the Office for Well-Being,” Mehta says. “Since then, one colleague per day has reached out, so we just went ahead and started. Thus far I have connected with four colleagues in meaningful ways. People are wondering, ‘What do I do with my research now that it has been suspended? How do I engage in self-care? I have a family and we’re a two-physician household and I feel like I’m running around with my head cut off.’”
Under the Center for Faculty Development, the Office for Well-Being has been designed as a resource to improve the emotional, intellectual and physical well-being of MGH faculty across the entire career span, from to early career to retirement.
In its beginning stages, the program is providing one-on-one consultations with Mehta, but down the line will provide programs, seminars, trainings and small group sessions.
Miriam Bredella, MD, vice chair for Faculty Affairs in Radiology, and director of the Center for Faculty Development, says this is a pilot stage for the office, but she’s hoping to expand its offerings and grow the staff.
“I was really motivated to create this office,” says Bredella. “In addition to our physicians, I wanted to focus on our research faculty, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students. There’s a lot of academic bullying and anxiety. We want to help people manage conflict and speak in confidence, and we also want to address physician burnout. We officially started working on the implementation of the office in February, but it has been a whole new ballgame with COVID-19, and we hope we can help people with the unprecedented stress and anxiety. We want to empower individuals with strategies so they’re able to have concrete goals using approaches from coaching.”
In addition to being a resource for hospital employees, including nurses and technologists, the Office of Well-Being aims to help staff navigate other beneficial resources the MGH offers, but might be difficult to find.
“We’re not trying to recreate the wheel, but rather connect people with resources they’re not aware of and be the hub of a bicycle wheel,” Mehta says. “We recognize the amazing efforts that already exist in the hospital. For example, we know that less than half of physicians in the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization know of their own department’s well-being efforts. The Office for Well-Being will connect with all the spokes across the MGH enterprise. I really care about the institution and our community, and the community is comprised of individuals. When the individuals do well, the community does well.”
For more information and to request a consultation, visit the Office for Well-Being.