May 30, 2018

Dean’s Message: Introducing the Well-Being Index

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RS7562 Selwyn Vickers 2013 20 scrMany of you may be wondering why we haven’t sent out a Faculty Engagement Survey this spring per our usual timeline. Because of activities happening within the university as well as initiatives going on in the Health System, we have chosen to move to a biennial (every other year) schedule for the engagement survey. This practice is in keeping with most of our peer institutions, and the decision will cut costs while also giving us more time to enact meaningful adjustments in response to the results from the survey. 

In lieu of this year’s engagement survey, we will be transitioning to an opportunity to introduce the use of a Well-Being Index (WBI). The WBI is a validated instrument that was developed at the Mayo Clinic and is now in use in a number of academic medical centers. We are implementing it as part of our overall UAB Medicine Wellness program that was launched earlier this year. Here at the School of Medicine, we want to ensure that we’re protecting our faculty members from burnout as it can deeply affect our entire institution—creating an inability to deliver top notch care while also putting our doctors and research scientists at risk for negative outcomes.

Participation in the use of the WBI is not mandatory. However, I would encourage everyone to utilize it as it requires very little time and will provide faculty members with a tangible measurement of their current state of wellness. Individuals who choose to participate can decide how often they’d like to answer the 9-question survey—be it monthly, quarterly, etc. Once you’ve answered the questions, the system will produce a dashboard-style report that helps you monitor your own measurements.

Dr. David Rogers, our Chief Wellness Officer, will be spearheading these efforts, and I am confident in his ability to help us discern how to best utilize the WBI. There are three specific ways that it can provide immediate value. First, the information produced will remain completely anonymous. You will be the only person who is able to access the results of your own survey. Second, the WBI allows you to develop a trend, which will create a visual to help individuals determine whether their overall well-being is progressing in a positive or negative direction. Third, it will be able to point participants to local and national resources should they need them.

For the moment, this tool will only be available to faculty members, but we plan to expand its use to other groups in UAB Medicine. I’m excited about working to address the concern of faculty burnout as we are eager to build an even healthier working environment moving forward. In case you’re wondering about the statuses of our other surveys, here is what the schedule looks like moving forward:

  • FY2018: UAB Medicine Faculty Well-Being Index (ongoing)
  • FY2019: University surveys (faculty and staff)
  • FY2020: UAB Medicine surveys (employees and School of Medicine faculty)
  • Every year: University IDEA Survey

I’d like to thank Dr. Rogers for his leadership thus far, and once again, I hope you’ll also utilize this tool once it has officially launched. More details will be shared in the coming months.