Optimize resident wellness through a resident-led, faculty-supported committee that serves to promote work-life balance, support physical, psychological, and emotional health, and provide a peer support and advocacy network throughout residency.

In June of 2018, our department established a Resident Wellness Program to promote our trainees’ wellness and to help mitigate the growing crisis of burnout in medicine that is affecting physicians at unprecedented levels. In the USC Caruso Department of OHNS, we have taken a novel approach to help address this problem by creating a resident-led and faculty-supported program to develop specific and targeted initiatives salient to our own residents’ lives.

Our residents have formed a wellness committee that consists of a representative from each PGY class. Together with Drs. Tamara Chambers and Michael Johns as faculty liaisons, we have created and launched a series of healthy, fun and engaging activities to foster wellness in residency and to prevent burnout. Since its conception, the program has been very successful, well received by our residents, and has served as a model for other similar programs here at USC and across the country

USC OHNS Resident Wellness Committee

Resident representatives from each PGY class compose the committee with Tamara Chambers, MD and Michael Johns, MD serving as faculty liaisons.

Program Components and Resources

    • Annual group and individual wellness assessment
      • Resident/mentor wellness review
    • Monthly Wellness Afternoons
      • Protected time to promote resident work-life balance
      • One protected, scheduled afternoon per month per resident free of clinical duties midweek
      • Purpose: to allow for residents to schedule appointments in advance during regular business hours and take care of other logistical/personal/wellness needs
      • Initiative formalizes and protects duty-free time that already exists in the schedule informally
    • OHNS Resident Wellness Week
      • Annual Department Grand Rounds
      • Annual Wellness Retreat
        • Resident retreat with a focus on team building, collegiality, and fun
        • Annual, department funded, resident weekend gathering where all residents are absolved of call responsibilities to serve the following purposes:
        • Address specific aspects of burnout/problems within the residency program
        • Discuss coping strategies and brainstorm ways to mitigate burnout on a system wide level
        • Present this information to program directors (wellness committee to present information anonymously on behalf of resident body)
        • Wellness in Practice: mindfulness activity, team building activity
        • Recreational bonding time
      • Annual “Life After Residency” Panel
        • Panel of USC alumni from a variety of practice settings discussing life after residency
    • This Resident Life series
      • Quarterly wellness faculty-hosted dinners for the residents with individual faculty members or pairs
      • Storytelling, life in/after residency, balancing priorities
    • Off-site academics
      • Thursday academic conferences intermittently held off campus approximately once a month
    • Resident bonding events (resident initiated)
      • Standing social event each Thursday afternoon
    • First Year Feast
      • Welcome reception for new interns annually
      • Hosted by PGY-2s
    • Annual Resident/Chair Dinner
      • Residents with Chair and Program Directors for collegiality and to informally discuss residency issues
      • Semiannual group and individual program review sessions with the Program Directors
    • Resident professional fund
      • California medical license – application and renewal fees reimbursed by department
      • DEA license – application and renewal fees reimbursed by department
      • Department will reimburse for a pair of surgical loupes for each resident
      • Department provides travel fund for conferences ($1500 per year)
    • Personal space at work
      • Locker, cubby, personal storage cabinet, all-hours desk space
    • Crisis Management Protocol
    • Basketball at Los Angeles General Medical Center
      • Basketball activities on campus, equipment available in County clinic
    • Free Mindful USC App
    • Los Angeles General Medical Center Resident Wellness Week
    • Helping Healers Heal (H3)
    • Monthly Mindfulness Workshops
    • After Hours Wellness Hotline (Protocall)
    • Los Angeles General Medical Center Resident Lounge
    • Los Angeles General Medical Center Department of Otolaryngology resident Basketball
    • Department Dinner for Residents with Chair and Program Directors
    • Schwartz Rounds: given at Los Angeles General Medical Center, Sessions strengthen the caregiver-patient relationship and remind caregivers why they entered the healthcare profession

    National Academy of Medicine