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Wellbeing Council

Leslie Kohman, MD, FACS
Leslie Kohman
Chief Wellness Officer, Upstate
[email protected]
Kaushal Nanavati, MD
Kaushal Nanavati
Assistant Dean for Wellness
[email protected]

The Wellbeing Task Force (formerly Faculty Burn-out Task Force) was organized and charged in late 2016, and its first meeting was held in January 2017. No formal charter was created, as this is not required for a task force.

Members included: 

  • Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development
  • Director of Employee/Student Health 
  • Chair of Medicine 
  • Associate Dean for GME 
  • University Hospital Chief Medical Officer 
  • Director of Integrative Medicine 

Initial discussions centered on findings from the Faculty Forward survey and a decision was made to start by focusing on wellbeing in physicians. 

Potential goals discussed at first meeting included: 

  • A “Clinical Collaboration” space to allow faculty to meet and collaborate informally and build community and connectedness 
  • Annual self-assessment of burnout, depression, anxiety etc. 
  • Get wellness into medical school curriculum 
  • Peer support groups (e.g. Balint) 

This group formulated 4 distinct goals: 

  1. Obtain funding to: 
    • purchase access to and disseminate the Mayo Well-Being Index, a well-developed tool that allows self-assessment of burnout and distress, comparisons to national peer data, and access to a well-organized compendium of wellbeing resources (e.g., videos, readings, website links).   
    • make the WBI available to all Upstaters i.e., physicians, nurses, residents/fellows, students and other employees.  
  2. Obtain voice recognition software for the electronic medical record. 
  3. Create a dedicated space where providers could meet and interact for collaboration, support, relaxation and a sense of community (Clinical Collaboration Center, C3, the “CUBE”) 
  4. Create the new position of Chief Wellness Officer with appropriate support from Administration 

The group met 12 times over 3.5 years, and slowly worked towards these goals. 

Eventually, all 4 were met: 

  1. The Mayo Wellbeing Index was purchased and first offered to everyone February 2018. It has been available since then, with active outreach to encourage its use twice per year. The data from the use of the WBI has also been analyzed regularly to assess most requested resources. 
  2. Voice recognition software was made available to all practitioners in June 2020. 
  3. The CUBE space was pledged, identified and renovated, and opened for use in September 2020. 
  4. A Chief Wellness Officer was appointed in October 2020. In addition, a new role for students was created, the Assistant Dean for Wellness early in 2020. 

After appointment of the CWO, the Wellbeing Task Force members felt that it had achieved its objectives as a Task Force and could disband. The members were then invited by the newly-appointed CWO to continue as the “Wellbeing Council,” advisory to the CWO. They agreed, and the group was expanded. 

Current membership consists of  

  • CWO, facilitator 
  • Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development (both the former and current individuals holding this title) 
  • Director of Employee/Student Health (also a medical staff member) 
  • Chair of Department of Medicine 
  • Associate Dean for GME 
  • Director of Integrative Medicine who is now also the Assistant Dean for Wellness in the College of Medicine (constituency = students and residents) 
  • Chair of Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences 
  • 2 representatives from Nursing 
  • The coordinator for Pathways to Wellness program (Employee/Student Health, Human Resources) 
  • Clinical representatives from Community Campus, Division of Hospital Medicine, Pediatrics (also the Information Technology Physician Advisor) and Neurology 
  • 3 faculty from clinical departments who will be attending the UCDavis 2021 Clinician Health and Wellbeing Fellowship 

The Council adopted 3 new goals for remainder of 2020/2021: 

  • Choose a valid and reliable tool for measuring burnout among medical staff specifically. Administer as baseline for CWO effectiveness in future measurements. To be repeated at 6-12-month intervals.  
    • MiniZ was chosen and was administered for the first time in October/November 2020 as part of the KLAS/Arch Collaborative EHR Satisfaction survey 
  • Further develop current, and explore new, initiatives that meet the requirements needed to achieve AMA Joy in Medicine award  
    • Application currently in progress 
  • Accomplish one anti-racist activity or goal – choose from among many which will be suggested in upcoming report from new Chief Diversity Officer Task Force (final report came out in early 2021) 
    • Recommendation made to clinical and IT teams that MyChart at the Bedside, which requires an iPad or smartphone for every patient, not be rolled out beyond pilot until we can provide iPads for every patient in every bed so as not to advantage those who have personal devices over those who do not have personal devices. We need 370 additional iPads, fundraising strategies in development 

Additional problems, projects and proposals are discussed and acted upon as they arise during monthly meetings of the group. 


Jarrod Bagatell

Jarrod L. Bagatell, MD
Director, Employee/Student Health

Deborah Bradshaw, MD
Deborah Bradshaw, MD
Professor & Associate Chair for Education Department of Neurology
Kerryanna Elhage
Kerryanna Elhage
Nursing-11G-Peds Hem/Onc
Leslie Kohman, MD, FACS
Leslie Kohman, MD, FACS
Distinguished Service Professor of Surgery, Chief Wellness Officer
Ali Khan, MD
Ali Khan, MD
Associate Medical Director of Hospital Medicine
Kaushal Nanavati, MD
Kaushal Nanavati, MD, FAAFP, ABOIM
Assistant Dean of Wellness, Director of Integrative Medicine and Survivorship, Cancer Center and Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
Sriram Narsipur, MD, FASN, FACP, MRCP
Sriram S Narsipur, MD, FASN, FACP, MRCP
Edward C. Reifenstein Professor and Chair, Dept of Medicine Professor of Internal Medicine, Surgery and Pediatrics
Thomas Schwartz, MD
Thomas Schwartz, MD
Professor and Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Asalim Thabet, MD
Asalim Thabet, MD
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Amy Tucker, MD
Amy Tucker, MD
Chief Medical Officer of Hospital Administration