Faculty Development

peer support

Every provider, at some point, will face a major challenge – one that has the potential to take a significant emotional toll on their well-being. Often, barriers exist for clinicians seeking support.The Department of Surgery’s new Peer to-Peer Support program, led by David Mahvi, M.D., vice chair of Faculty Development, aims to offer support to faculty who experience an unexpected complication to reduce the emotional toll.The program is modeled after the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Center for Professionalism and Peer Support Program,developed by Jo Shapiro, M.D. Dr. Shapiro served for ten years as the Director of the Center for Professionalism and Peer Support and is a surgeon in the Department of Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.“Dr. Shapiro presented a Peer Support Grand Rounds in November,” said Mahvi. “Part of her visit included peer support training sessions for faculty and residents interested in becoming peer supporters.”

Peer support programs are designed to improve clinician well being proactively and are offered as soon as the challenge is identified. Mahvi reports that since the program started, he and his team have been able to help several clinical faculty members.He said the process is simple and effective. He reaches out to offer an opportunity to talk with one of his team members and works to find the best fit to provide a forum to discuss unexpected outcomes. The program does not offer counseling but can refer faculty to resources outside the department.As the program grows, he and his team are working to expand the program to include surgical trainees interested in serving as peer supporters for their colleagues.“When Dr. Shapiro was here, in addition to a training session with faculty, she provided a peer-to-peer session for the residents,”he said. “Feedback and engagement were encouraging. We are training several residents interested in becoming peer supporters.”Mahvi adds that as the program continues to move forward,they are looking to find ways to automate the program to quickly identify anyone facing a challenge and reach out to offer peer support services more efficiently and timely.