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Scope of Burnout Among Young Gastroenterologists and Practical Solutions from Gastroenterology and Other Disciplines


Burnout is a critical issue among physicians, including gastroenterologists. Up to 50% of gastroenterologists have reported symptoms of burnout in national assessments, leading to increased recognition of the burden of burnout among subspecialty societies. Particularly alarming in these assessments of burnout is the suggestion of increased rates of burnout among trainees and early career gastroenterologists. In this article, we describe the scope of burnout among young gastroenterologists and the risk factors that contribute. In addition, we will offer practical solutions to reduce burnout based on insights developed from multidisciplinary approaches, including relevant burnout literature, organizational approaches within academic medical centers, and training programs, as well as interviews with successful private practice gastroenterologists, and leaders in the fields of business and education.

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We are thankful to Jerry S. Trier, MD, Professor of Medicine, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School, for his development of the innovative mentorship program at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. We are grateful to the following gastroenterologists who shared in telephone interviews (HS) their methods and solutions for avoiding burnout. These are summarized in Table 2. Paul S. Sepe, MD, Hawthorn Medical Associates, Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Samuel C. Somers, MD, MSc, GI Associates of New Hampshire-Concord Gastroenterology, Concord, New Hampshire. Win J. Travassos, MD, Digestive Health Specialists, PC, Chelmsford, Massachusetts. We are grateful to the following gastroenterologists who shared their experiences in the prevention of burnout as trainees and early career gastroenterologists. Marc S. Piper, MD, MSc, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Southfield, Michigan. Lee B. Sigmon, MD, Carolinas HealthCare System Digestive Health, Charlotte, North Carolina. R. Brooks Vance, Jr., MD, GI Associates, Flowood, Mississippi. Leaders in Academic Business Administration: we are grateful to the following academic business leaders at the Harvard Business School who shared in telephone interviews (HS) their methods and solutions for avoiding burnout. These are summarized in Table 3. Joseph Badaracco, MBA, DBA, is the John Shad Professor of Business Ethics at Harvard Business School. Thomas J. DeLong, PhD, is Senior Fellow and former Philip J. Stomberg Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School. We are grateful to the following leaders in the field of Education who shared in telephone interviews (HS) their methods and solutions for avoiding burnout. These are summarized in Table 3. Leaders in the Field of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education: Howard Gardner, PhD, The John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education. James P. Honan, EdD Senior Lecturer on Education and Educational Co-Chair, Institute of Educational Management, Harvard Graduate School of Education

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Correspondence to Edward L. Barnes.

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Barnes, E.L., Ketwaroo, G.A. & Shields, H.M. Scope of Burnout Among Young Gastroenterologists and Practical Solutions from Gastroenterology and Other Disciplines. Dig Dis Sci 64, 302–306 (2019).

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  • Burnout
  • Trainees
  • Young gastroenterologists
  • Mentoring