Lotte N. Dyrbye, MD, MHPE, has been named Senior Associate Dean of Faculty and Chief Well-being Officer for the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Dyrbye is the first to hold this newly created position at the CU School of Medicine. In this role, she will oversee faculty affairs, faculty and leadership development programs, and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, and she will lead initiatives that reduce burnout among physicians, residents, and medical students. She will also hold an appointment as professor of medicine.
Dyrbye has been with Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., since 2001, where she has made many creative contributions to education programs, taught medical students and residents, and implemented several innovative programs in support of faculty development, diversity, and well-being. She is professor medicine and medical education and co-director of the Mayo Clinic Department of Medicine Physician Well-Being Program.
“The past two years have been extraordinarily challenging for everyone, particularly for health care workers who have overcome tremendous obstacles to provide excellent and compassionate care throughout the pandemic,” said CU School of Medicine Dean John J. Reilly, Jr., MD. “We are fortunate to have Dr. Dyrbye joining us at CU.
“She’s a highly respected and accomplished expert on identifying and addressing the causes of burnout among health care professionals,” he said. “She also is a skilled educator with a strong track record designing and implementing successful faculty development programs. We look forward to how her contributions here will contribute to the advancement of our talented faculty and to the well-being of our academic community.”
Dyrbye graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1996 and completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. After working in private practice for a few years, she accepted an appointment at Mayo Clinic in September 2001, where she rose through the ranks to become professor of medicine and medical education at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in 2014. She earned a Master of Health Professions Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine in 2009.
Leading the transformation in medical education
During her tenure at Mayo Clinic, Dyrbye has taught physical exam, clinical reasoning, and case presentation skills to medical students, been a clinical preceptor to third-year medical students, and supervised internal medicine residents in outpatient continuity clinic. She led a major redesign of the curriculum, which serves as a national model for integrating classroom and clinical teaching. She also designed a re-entry program for medical students returning to clinical training after completing work toward their PhDs. Dyrbye served as the principal investigator on Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine’s American Medical Association Accelerating Change in Medical Education Grant Transforming Medical Education through the Science of Health Care Delivery.
She has also led significant initiatives to promote faculty development at Mayo Clinic, including serving as assistant dean of faculty development for the Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education and creating and implementing Mayo’s Academy of Educational Excellence. Through these efforts, Dyrbye has helped create useful and popular programming, including short videos, that can fit into the busy schedules of faculty. The “Take5” videos are broadly available for use in Mayo Clinic faculty meetings and cover key topics of interest, such as how to deal with patients expressing bias toward learners. In 2018, the videos were viewed more than 33,000 times.
As co-director of the Program on Physician Well-Being at Mayo, Dyrbye has led numerous national and multi-institutional studies, conducted randomized clinical trials of possible solutions, and been an innovator. She has received 19 competitive research grants to support her work, and she is frequently invited to give presentations nationally and internationally. Dyrbye is author of more than 140 journal articles, abstracts, and other written publications related to physician well-being. Her articles have been cited more than 18,000 times.
Notably, Dyrbye is co-author of the National Academy of Medicine’s consensus study, “Taking Action Against Clinician Burnout: A Systems Approach to Professional Well-Being.” The book was named the 2021 winner of the James A. Hamilton Award, given annually to the authors of a management or health care book judged outstanding by the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Focus on well-being for health care professionals
In 2017, she was co-author of an National Academy of Medicine discussion paper, “Burnout Among Health Care Professionals: A Call to Explore and Address This Underrecognized Threat to Safe, High-Quality Care,” that has been among top 5 most-read NAM Perspectives each year since its publication.
To address high rates of clinician burnout, Dyrbye co-developed the Well-Being Index and an interactive web tool that provides a validated instrument for self-assessment, access to tailored resources, and organization level reports with comparisons to national norm. The Well-Being Index is used by over 160,000 individuals in 91 countries, and 790 hospitals and organizations.
In addition, she led efforts, in collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, to develop and disseminate information on how medical schools and residency programs should respond in the case of a trainee death by suicide, to mitigate the risk of contagion, and help promote a culture of healing after a tragedy. She has also authored several AMA Step Forward modules, including “After a Physician Suicide: Responding as an organization toolkit.”
“We know that burnout is prevalent among physicians, trainees, and other health care workers, and that it has profound consequences for the quality of care we can provide, the safety of patients, and the performance of health care systems” Dyrbye said. “To build a resilient organization, we must address system-level causes of work stress, such as process inefficiencies, excessive workloads, and organizational structures that inhibit collaboration.
“Addressing these concerns requires rigorous study, adequate funding, and collaborative efforts,” she said. “I am impressed by the commitment CU School of Medicine is making to this important work by creating a new leadership position focused on faculty and learner well-being and I am looking forward to collaborating with my colleagues on the Anschutz Medical Campus.”
Dyrbye joins CU School of Medicine on April 27.