Presidential Matters May 2016


May 2016

Addressing physician wellness, burnout and resiliency has been a focus of mine over the past four years. During SGO’s 2014 Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer, we had presentations that spurred in-depth conversations and a growing interest in burnout within the medical field, particularly amongst SGO members. The following year a survey of SGO members revealed that 32 percent of our physicians scored above the clinical cutoff indicating burnout—that’s a third of our membership! And at the 2016 SGO Annual Meeting, we presented a preconference session, Practicing Wellness: Tools for Cultivating Resilience and Avoiding Burnout.

As a result of these findings and our ongoing conversations, we created a 23-member Wellness Taskforce, and solicited leadership from Drs. Andrew Berchuck, Bobbie Gostout and David Kushner. Today we are launching the SGO Wellness Initiative. This initiative will promote work-life balance and address this on a societal level while providing awareness, education and resources.

A dedicated section on the SGO website contains wellness-related resources such as highlights from educational courses at SGO Annual Meetings, journal articles, books, apps and websites. The SGO Wellness Taskforce has also developed an evidence-based review paper to be published in Gynecologic Oncology this summer.

In the months to come, I plan on making Physician Wellness a recurring theme that will be incorporated into SGO’s 48th Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer, March 12-15, 2017, in National Harbor, MD. We are exploring a wellness curriculum for fellows training, so young physicians can equip themselves with the resiliency techniques they need at the start of their careers in medicine.

I encourage you to get involved in this initiative and welcome your ideas. Please contact me at I am interested to hear how you are practicing wellness and avoiding burnout. Together, we can help each other achieve a work-life balance that will ensure we are actively engaged members of our own families, and compassionate clinicians to our patients.


Jeffrey M. Fowler, MD