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2022 Speaker Profile

Kerry Palamara Headshot
Kerri Palamara, MD, Director, Center for Physician Well-being, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital; Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School

Kerri Palamara, MD is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  She completed her medical degree at New York Medical College and Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency training at Massachusetts General Hospital, and now practices as a primary care general internist at MGH.   After 8 years as an Associate Program Director and Primary Care Program Director at MGH, Dr. Palamara was asked to lead the Center for Physician Well-being for the Department of Medicine at MGH as the inaugural director. Her academic work focuses on physician coaching, clinician well-being, and faculty development. Dr. Palamara leads the American College of Physicians “Physician Coach Training Program”, which focuses on training physicians to integrate coaching techniques into their quality improvement and well-being initiatives. For her work, Dr. Palamara has won teaching awards at MGH, Partners Healthcare, Harvard Medical School, MassGeneral Brigham, the Society of General Internal Medicine, and the American College of Physicians; and has been awarded Mastership in the American College of Physicians.

Dr. Palamara created and directs the Physician Coaching Program for trainees at MGH. This program was designed in conjunction with the Institute of Coaching at Harvard Medical School to improve physician awareness of their growth and development, reduce burnout, and improve their resilience. This coaching program has been recognized by Harvard Medical School for the Culture of Excellence in Mentoring Award, based on the organizational change inspired by this program, and was featured by the AAMC as a model program to reduce resident burnout. Dr. Palamara also directs faculty physician coaching programs at MGH and is currently involved in several randomized controlled trials locally and nationally on the impact of coaching for coaches and their coaches. The MGH Physician Coaching Program has expanded nationally to over 40 residency and fellowship programs and Dr. Palamara is actively involved in onboarding, evaluating and sustaining these programs. Dr. Palamara has developed and run faculty development workshops nationally on this topic and contributes to the dialogue on physician well-being nationally as a member of CHARM (Collaboration for Healing and Renewal in Medicine).

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Palamara was a leader in several aspects of Massachusetts General Hospital’s response, including the hospital’s response for staff well-being and clinically as co-director of MGH’s first Respiratory Illness Clinic and co-medical director of the Boston Hope field hospital at the Boston Convention & Expo Center.

Tuesday | 9:20 AM - 10:20 AM

Approaches to Building Individual and Organizational Resiliency in the Midst of Crisis

Moderator:  Jonathan Ripp, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Medical Education and Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Dean for Well-Being and Resilience and Chief Wellness Officer, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Kerri Palamara, MD, Director, Center for Physician Well-being, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital; Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School

Jonathan DePierro, Ph.D., Clinical and Research Director, Center for Stress, Resilience and Personal Growth, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Lauren Peccoralo, MD, MPH, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Well-being and Development, Associate Professor of Medicine and Medical Education, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

It has become clear that building and supporting well-being in health care settings requires a multipronged approach including both system-level and individual-level interventions. Early data highlighted the pronounced psychosocial impact on frontline health care workers in the first peak of the COVID pandemic in April to May 2020, with one large-scale survey finding that 39% had positive screens for depression, anxiety, and/or posttraumatic stress disorder and that employees and trainees were not feeling safe at work and were suffering from significant moral distress. Therefore, it was imperative that healthcare institution leadership act swiftly to meet the needs of its staff, faculty, and trainees. Sustaining and meaningfully integrating these data-driven efforts, to include system-level interventions that enhance workplace efficiency and promote supportive cultures, while complementing individual supports and resources, is mission-critical to ensuring the health and well-being of health care institutions during and beyond the pandemic. Ensuring these programs endure and adapt to systems and individual needs through the COVID-19 recovery phase will facilitate post-traumatic growth for organizations and their employees.

This panel will open with a brief discussion of the needs of faculty, staff, and trainees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, as exemplified by 2 academic hospital systems, panelists will discuss a rational framework for a supportive response, comprising: 1) task force formation and needs assessment, 2) program design, implementation, and evaluation, and 3) strategic communication. Panelists will then highlight examples of coordinated structural and psychosocial supports for faculty, staff, and trainees provided during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with deployed interventions such as highly utilized “recharge rooms,” basic needs provisions, leadership support, training and coaching programs, buddy programs, large-scale spiritual care support programs, listening sessions, and at one institution, the opening of a Center focused on supporting the resilience and mental health of their workforce. The latter 20 minutes will allow participants to ask panelists questions about challenges faced and strategies useful in their efforts to address needs during the COVID 19 pandemic.

  • Identify psychosocial needs and stressors of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic based on data from multiple cohort surveys

  • Describe the meaningful integration of system-, and individual-level interventions during the pandemic

  • Identify several efforts made by academic health care institutions to sustain innovations in workforce resilience during and beyond the pandemic

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