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Evolution of a physician wellness, engagement and excellence strategy: lessons learnt in a mental health setting
  1. Treena Wilkie1,2,
  2. Tania Tajirian1,2,
  3. Anupam Thakur1,2,
  4. Smit Mistry1,
  5. Faisal Islam1,
  6. Vicky Stergiopoulos1,2
  1. 1 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Treena Wilkie, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, ON M6J 1H4, Canada; treena.wilkie{at}


Objective This study aims to evaluate the impact of several organisational initiatives implemented as part of a physician engagement, wellness and excellence strategy at a large mental health hospital. Interventions that were examined include: communities of practice, peer support programme, mentorship programme and leadership and management programme for physicians.

Methods A cross-sectional study, guided by the Reach, Effectiveness/Efficacy, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance evaluation framework, was conducted with physicians at a large academic mental health hospital in Toronto, Canada. Physicians were invited to complete an online survey in April 2021, which composed of questions on the awareness, use and perceived impact of the organisational wellness initiatives and the two-item Maslach Burnout Inventory tool. The survey was analysed using descriptive statistics and a thematic analysis.

Results 103 survey responses (40.9% response rate) were gathered from physicians, with 39.8% of respondents reporting experiences of burn-out. Overall, there was variable reach and suboptimal use of the organisational interventions reported by physicians. Themes emerging from open-ended questions included the importance of addressing: workload and resource related factors; leadership and culture related factors; and factors related to the electronic medical record and virtual care.

Conclusions Organisational strategies to address physician burn-out and support physician wellness require repeated evaluation of the impact and relevance of initiatives with physicians, taking into account organisational culture, external variables, emerging barriers to access and participation, and physician needs and interest over time. These findings will be embedded as part of ongoing review of our organisational framework to guide changes to our physician engagement, wellness and excellence strategy.

  • health system
  • medical leadership
  • mental health

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as online supplemental information.

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Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as online supplemental information.

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  • Contributors TW, TT and VS were involved in all aspects of this study including concept, project design, ethics submission, survey development, data collection and analysis, and writing the manuscript. AT was involved in survey development, data analysis and manuscript development. SM and FI were involved in survey design, data collection and analysis, and manuscript review. TW is acting guarantor.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.