DC AAP welcomed over 50 attendees at DC AAP’s Fall Meeting and CME symposium on Provider Wellness: Navigating Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma, on October 6th at Maggiano’s. The evening was generously sponsored by DC AAP, the Bainum Family Foundation; Children’s National Health System and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s Early Childhood Innovation Network; and McNeil Consumer Healthcare and Johnson and Johnson Consumer & Personal Products Worldwide.

Attendees joined an interactive discussion on the importance of identifying the personal and professional impact on child health providers of caring for children and families, particularly those experiencing trauma and toxic stress.

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93% of attendees at DC AAP’s Fall Meeting responded, “Yes, I have been emotionally affected by my patient’s traumatic experiences.”

An expert presentation on recognizing the signs of burnout and secondary traumatic stress was given by childhood trauma and abuse pediatricians:

  • Allison M. Jackson, MD, MPH, FAAP, Division Chief, Freddie Mac Foundation Child & Adolescent Protection Center, Children’s National Health System; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, The George Washington University School of Health Sciences.
  • Leena S Dev, MD, FAAP, Child Abuse Pediatrician, Maryland Child Abuse Medical Providers Network (CHAMP); General Pediatrician, Frederick, MD.
Dr. Alison Jackson and Dr. Leena Dev highlight the differences between burnout, secondary traumatic stress and compassion fatigue.

Dr. Alison Jackson and Dr. Leena Dev highlight the differences between burnout, secondary traumatic stress and compassion fatigue.

Child health providers were also invited to complete a professional quality of life screen to analyze their own risk and personal experience with compassion fatigue/vicarious trauma. Attendees then had an opportunity to participate in small group conversations about how they cope with stress and burnout, followed by an interactive shared learning discussion, led by Drs. Jackson and Dev, on how to develop strategies to promote individual and staff wellness.

Ways to Handle Stress

Ways to Handle Stress

Sraddha Laura Elizabeth Dorsett leads a guided mindfulness exercise.

Sraddha Laura Elizabeth Dorsett leads a guided mindfulness exercise.

To promote personal wellness, attendees were also invited to try out mindfulness techniques led by Sraddha Laura Elizabeth Dorsett, M.T.S., RYT-500, IYT-300, Teacher, Insight Meditation Community of Washington; Founder, Georgetown Yoga Therapy; Yoga Therapist & Meditation Teacher, Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine. To experience a 3-minute meditation, please visit Sraddha’s website.

DC AAP was also happy to invite child psychologists and psychiatrists to share the great work that DC MAP (Mental Health Access in Pediatrics) does to improve mental health integration within pediatric primary care. DC MAP makes a mental health consultation team available by telephone to assist primary care physicians with managing patients’ mental health needs.

Overall it was an informative evening and DC AAP was excited to be able to offer attendees 2.0 CME credits through George Washington University’s Office of Continuing Education in the Health Professions.

“You guys are doing a great job putting together events that are pertinent to my practice, and attending them has proven so worthwhile. Sometimes it’s hard to convince myself to go after a long day in the clinic, especially as it means I won’t get to see my kiddos before they go to bed that night, but both times I have been so glad I attended! I have left feeling invigorated and with a new sense of commitment to the work I’m doing.” Amanda Joy Johnson, FNP (DC AAP member)

DC AAP looks forward to continuing to work with our chapter members as well as policymakers and other key stakeholders to discuss the importance of individual and staff wellness in developing a trauma-informed, system-wide approach to addressing toxic stress with patients and families.