In the spring of 2013, Eileen Barrett, MD, MPH, lost a colleague to suicide. The two worked at the Indian Health Service’s Gallup Indian Medical Center in New Mexico, where Barrett was the deputy chief of medicine. Even before the tragic event, she saw workers struggle under administrative burdens and hold themselves personally responsible for problems outside of their control.
With her coworker’s death it became painfully clear that clinician wellness had to become a higher priority. “It made me really think that we needed to do more for everybody on the health care team,” Barrett, now an associate professor of medicine and an academic hospitalist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, said in a recent interview with JAMA.