'Reimagining Residency' Grant Aims to Reduce Burnout

Published in Aequanimitas - Aequanimitas Fall 2019

Sir William Osler’s mantra to “listen to patients because they tell you the diagnosis” remains a basic tenet in our training program. Yet practicing it has become increasingly difficult. Sadly, our research has shown trainees spend as little as 12% of their time in direct patient contact, likely a source for high physician burnout rates. 

Fortunately, there’s new hope, as efforts continue nationwide to reinvigorate residency training — and improve well-being. We were delighted to receive $1.8 million to innovate residency training, as one of eight grants from the American Medical Association’s $15 million “Reimagine Residency” initiative.  

With a diverse, expert team from the internal medicine programs at Johns Hopkins (Osler and Bayview), Stanford and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, we’re poised to help improve this issue.

We believe that to have real impact, we must rigorously gather evidence and test hypotheses. So, we will establish a Graduate Medical Education Laboratory that measures relevant variables in our learning environment. We’ll see which affect well-being and clinical skills, then develop interventions to improve them. 

Our goal is to create a sustainable and scalable laboratory which measures resident behaviors, rotations, use and more. These large-scale data will be combined with data on resident experiences, well-being and standardized assessments of clinical skills.

Ultimately, we hope to identify and inform the design of the optimal learning environment — one that is evidence-based to reduce burnout and improve clinical skills effectively, and one that can be replicated nationally. 

We look forward to sharing our progress with you in the years ahead. 

Sanjay Desai, Director
Johns Hopkins Osler Medical Residency