Webinar: Coaching Primary Care Physicians: A Positive Psychology Coaching Intervention Improves Well-Being

Coaching for Primary Care Physicians
June 16, 2020 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

In this webinar, IOC Harnisch Grant recipients Alyssa McGonagle, Heidi Duskey and Les Schwab present results and discuss implications of their research demonstrating the effectiveness of a six-session coaching intervention for physicians. The investigators conducted a randomized controlled trial for Primary Care Physicians (PCP) using a positive psychology-based toolkit. Outcome measures relating to improved professional well-being and reduced stress and burnout were assessed pre-intervention and for a period of six months post-coaching.  

Physician burnout has been prevalent in US healthcare for years and current stresses from the pandemic have added to this burden. A paucity of research has examined coaching's effectiveness in medicine even though it has been shown to be effective in many other professional domains. This study helps to fill a gap in the evidence-based literature.

Key findings to be shared with webinar participants include:

  • How the coaching intervention reduced PCP burnout while improving work engagement, psychological capital, and job satisfaction.
  • What brought about positive change in outcomes for four measures and how they were sustained.
  • How a variety of applications, including personal resilience practices, work redesign, teamwork and advocacy, had positive impact on PCP’s and their organizations.

Please join us for a lively, interactive discussion of how these results have important implications for both ongoing and newly emerging challenges for physicians. As the healthcare system emerges and reorganizes in the pandemic era, coaching can offer physicians a vital means of support.

Presenters:  Les Schwab, Heidi Duskey and Alyssa McGonagle

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Les Schwab, MD is a primary care physician with 40 years of experience in medical practice and healthcare organizational leadership. He earned a B.A. in Biology from Harvard University and an MD from Stanford University. He received his Internal Medicine training through residency at the Cambridge Hospital in Cambridge, MA. In his roles Les has been responsible for clinical operations, quality and safety, practice design, leadership training and building the quality of the physician workforce. He has practiced and managed in the public sector, private practice and multispecialty group practice environments. Most recently he served as the Chief Medical Office at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, a 600-physician multispecialty practice in eastern Massachusetts.  Les has attained certification in coaching and operates a coaching and consulting practice focused on performance improvement and leadership development. As a coach, he has facilitated the ability of physicians to develop their capacities for successful medical practice: resilience to cope with burnout stress, organization and teamwork for efficient practice, skills for collaborative collegial relationships and strategies for career development. He is a Harnisch Scholar at the Institute of Coaching in Boston, serving as principal investigator for a randomized controlled trial of coaching physicians for resilience.

Heidi Duskey is a nationally board-certified health coach with an MS in Health Psychology. Her clients include adults of all ages with varied cultural and educational backgrounds and who have achieved outcomes of weight loss, smoking cessation, and improved management of stress, pain, and chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia.

Heidi has worked for Atrius Health where she launched a coaching program in two patient-centered medical homes and currently coaches for Better Therapeutics, a digital therapeutics company treating adults with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. She has also served as a TA for the Harvard Extension School course Science of Coaching Psychology taught by Margaret Moore. Lastly, Heidi contributed to the development of the coaching protocols used in today’s webinar and coached many of the study participants.

Dr. Alyssa McGonagle is an Associate Professor of Psychological Science and Organizational Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Dr. McGonagle’s research focuses on worker health, safety, and well-being, with an emphasis on promoting work ability and quality of work life for workers with chronic health conditions. Dr. McGonagle has received funding for her research from the Institute of Coaching, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the SIOP Foundation. She has published research in the Journal of Applied Psychology, the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, and the Journal of Business and Psychology, among others. She is on the editorial board of Stress and Health, Occupational Health Science, and the Journal of Business and Psychology and is the current Treasurer/Secretary for the Society for Occupational Health Psychology. Dr. McGonagle also works with organizations to identify workplace stressors and safety concerns and develop solutions.