‘Refresh and Reboot’ at ASCO17 to Combat Burnout

‘Refresh and Reboot’ at ASCO17 to Combat Burnout

Dr. Anthony L. Back (center) will lead a resiliency skills-based Education Session during the ASCO Annual Meeting.
Although 80% of oncologists say they would choose their specialty again,1 citing close relationships with patients and colleagues, intellectual stimulation, the sense of vocation, and the excitement of rapid advances in the field as drivers, it can be difficult to overlook and overcome the challenges and complexities presented by the profession. Without adequate self-care, oncologists may experience burnout, a condition characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and loss of purpose. With 45% of U.S. oncologists reporting at least one symptom of burnout,1 ASCO has made it a priority to develop interventions to encourage physician wellness.

Anthony L. Back, MD, of the University of Washington School of Medicine, will be returning to this year’s Annual Meeting to lead a resiliency skills-based Education Session, “Physician Wellness: Refresh and Reboot.” Annual Meeting attendees will have two chances to attend the session: once on June 3 and again on June 4.* Each session will address academic questions of wellness and will provide practical strategies that attendees can implement in their own lives—even while onsite at the Annual Meeting—to improve vitality and resilience.

Dr. Back draws inspiration for his sessions from many different sources, including “cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and insight-oriented psychotherapy,” which he says all teach skills that have the potential to help physicians manage their stress and keep their internal and external environments balanced. Dr. Back worked with ASCO to pilot a Resiliency Skills Program for oncology trainees, which is still underway. “Refresh and Reboot” will give attendees a small preview of the full Resiliency Skills Program.

“It gives people the opportunity to have a little taste of what the curriculum is like, to do something a little bit different during the course of what’s often a very busy, packed day at the Annual Meeting,” Dr. Back said. “It allows people to practice being resilient even at a Meeting where there’s always too many things to do, too many people to talk to, and too many interesting sessions to attend.”

–Hilary Adams

*Program information updated as of March 15. For session time and location information, please refer to the ASCO iPlanner on the Attendee Resource Center.