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Burnout Prevention Program Earns National Award

Aug 29, 2017 02:22PM ● By Digital Media Director

Avera Health’s LIGHT program has received the Catholic Health Association’s Achievement Citation for its innovative approaches in helping physicians and advance practice providers address burnout.

LIGHT stands for Live, Improve, Grow, Heal and Treat. The program was established in 2014 and has served Avera’s 900 providers with the goal to prevent or reduce burnout.  The program uses strategies to build resiliency, encourage enjoyment of job and home, implement practice changes and improve work-life balance. 

Services include executive and peer coaching, a couple’s retreat, a women’s retreat, an emotional retirement series and continuing medical education credits for completion of courses on well-being strategies such as mindfulness. There are also no-agenda socials, and Schwartz Rounds – a gathering to process the social and emotional aspects of being health care providers.

Mary Wolf, MS, LPC-MH, is LIGHT program director and Justin Sharp, MD, an Avera Medical Group neonatologist, serves as medical director of the program.

“LIGHT services touch people from residency to retirement,” says Wolf.

The program also supports both rural and urban doctors. 

Tad Jacobs, DO, Chief Medical Officer for Avera Medical Group, says that he understands that rural and urban doctors alike are at risk for burnout.  He, himself, had experience as a family practitioner in the rural community of Flandreau, South Dakota. “The settings are much different, but the challenges are remarkably similar.”

Dr. Jacobs says he is proud that Avera is a pioneer in developing the LIGHT program.

“We have all heard of the phrase, ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’ Our goal in LIGHT is to seek ways in which we can ‘lift the boats’ among our clinical practitioners,” Dr. Jacobs said. “In receiving the CHA distinction we hope to raise awareness and provide ideas that other health systems can apply in their own settings.”