Dr. Anne Zink, ASTHO President-Elect, reflects on the problem of burnout among health care providers; Amelia Poulin, Senior Analyst for Infectious Disease Outbreak Response and Recovery at ASTHO, discusses the importance of COVID-19 case investigators...
Dr. Anne Zink, ASTHO President-Elect, reflects on the problem of burnout among health care providers; Amelia Poulin, Senior Analyst for Infectious Disease Outbreak Response and Recovery at ASTHO, discusses the importance of COVID-19 case investigators and contact tracers knowing the best way to communicate with diverse individuals and populations; ASTHO’s new blog article details a tool state planners in South Carolina used to make emergency plans more inclusive of people living with disabilities; and ASTHO is launching a new webpage with several resources for teams looking to improve their disability inclusion planning and programs.
This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Monday, June 27th, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson. Now today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
You know, the suicide rate amongst physicians is almost twice that of the military, which is higher than the national average. And the mental health and burnout of healthcare providers has been increasing over time and has been increasingly challenging both for the workforce to be able to be sustainable but also healthy and happy.
ASTHO president-elect Dr. Anne Zink on the problem of burnout among healthcare providers.
And it's actually part of the reason I ended up getting into public health and policy is because I knew that I would get burnt out in the emergency department if I continued to see the same thing over and over again and didn't look for systemic changes on how to improve the system.
I'd come to terms with the fact that awful things happen to people—people get cancers, bad accidents happen, awful infectious diseases circle around the globe. But what I have never been able to become okay with is that systems that we create and systems that we can change continue to fail patients. And particularly here in the United States, compared to our neighbors, we are failing our patients in many ways. And we have a chance to rebuild those systems.
Today, Zink is chief medical officer in Alaska. She spends a lot of time trying to help her teams balance work and life, saying success requires intentional leadership.
I think to have any sort of change, it has to be mindful and meaningful change, and I think you have to be proactive in it. So, I think you can do small things like making your password something that brings you joy so that every time you type it in it's bringing you joy or reminding you of a bit of balance.
Building in breaks in your schedule, building in things like walking meetings with your team, going up and down the stairs or being outside. Normalizing being human, talking about when things are frustrating or fearful or when you're exhausted with your team, normalizing taking breaks and making sure that that's okay in your space. And then asking your team back what sort of things that they have done to support the health and wellbeing of their team—not just what sort of work that they have produced, but making sure that they are caring for their team.
You can read Dr. Zink's article on burnout published in the Anchorage Daily News. There's a link in the show notes.
COVID-19 case investigators and contact tracers often are the only public health professionals most people in a community will ever meet. That's why ASTHO's Amelia Poulin wants them to know the best way to communicate with diverse individuals and populations.
I think with the large scale-up of contact racers early on in the pandemic, we recruited a lot of folks who didn't have much experience in this space. So, one kind of rebranding on their skills.
Two, there was a shift away from universal case investigation, contact tracing to more specific populations and venues. So, it's that much more important that we kind of communicate correctly to these more specific audiences. So, that's kind of the impetus why it's important now.
Poulin says it's important to review appropriate language and terms to make sure teams can connect with people in a way that respects individual cultures, values, and beliefs. You can read an ASTHO brief on this topic using the link in the show notes.
Tomorrow, we'll explore a CDC project focused on inclusive communication for public health professionals.
Also today, teams in South Carolina are working to make emergency plans more inclusive of people living with disabilities. State planners used an ASTHO tool to improve their work on behalf of these communities. You can read how they did it and a link to the tool by checking out the show notes.
Finally this morning, ASTHO is launching a new webpage featuring several resources for teams looking to improve their disability inclusion planning and programs. It includes links to tools, blog articles, and podcast conversations, all in one place for easy reference. Find the link to the webpage in the show notes.
That'll do it for today's newscast. We are back tomorrow morning with more ASTHO news and information.
I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great day.