Physicians for a Healthy California

Grant Details

Organization Type Medical Society Foundation Categories Physician Wellbeing
Grant Size $150,000 Year 2021 State California

Post Pandemic Root Causes of Women Physicians of Color’s Stress and Burnout

Physicians for a Healthy California (PHC), formerly known as the California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation, was founded in 1963. The mission is improving community health, growing a diverse physician workforce, and promoting health equity. PHC’s initiatives aimed at increasing health access illustrate it’s ability to leverage high-impact partnerships to achieve mission-focused change with demonstrated public health outcomes. PHC’s core values are service, transparency and accountability.

Physician diversity (race, ethnicity, gender) improves the health of California’s most vulnerable and underserved communities, ensuring health equity. Racial/ethnic concordance between patients and physicians results in greater patient satisfaction. The Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations (NEPO) was created by PHC to implement a stronger voice for physicians of color (POC). NEPO’s strengths is its breadth and diversity – representing thousands of POCs via 35+ member organizations. Its annual summit attracts 200+ POCs to discuss challenges that physicians and patients from diverse backgrounds face and develop mechanisms to effectively support them, driving positive change. Previous initiatives with a measurable public health outcome have also include Project AWARE which reduced over-prescription of antibiotics as well as a multi-lingual educational campaign to reduce obesity prevalence in underserved communities of color.

Burnout is widely understood to be a pervasive problem among health professionals with an estimated 40 to 50% of US physicians experiencing symptoms of burnout in a given year compared to approximately 30% of the US general working population – and these statistics are pre-pandemic. Post-pandemic, physician burnout continues to rise and potentially also manifest itself as post-traumatic stress. In addition to the negative impact on physicians, the impact of burnout can negatively impact physician-patient relationships. This is particularly of importance as WPOCs are more likely to practice in racial/ethnic communities. Interventions are necessary to address burnout in WPOCs to support patient safety and physician well-being and retain an ethnically diverse physician workforce to provide culturally competent care to a diverse patient population. PHC in conjunction with UC Irvine will use the NEPO network to address these issues related to physician burnout during its annual NEPO Summit while providing a roadmap for future interventions.