Bassett Medical Center to Establish Clinician Peer Support Network in Central New York

Bassett Medical Center has been awarded a state grant toward the establishment of a multi-institutional clinician peer support network in Central New York (MIPS-CNY). The MIPS-CNY pilot program aims to better understand and help address the cumulative effects of stress and fatigue on clinicians. The program is the first regional multi-clinician peer support network in the United States and could serve as a model for statewide expansion, according to the project's physician champion, Caroline Gomez-DiCesare, MD.

​Dr. Caroline Gomez-DiCesare
​Dr. Caroline Gomez-DiCesare

"We have found that clinicians are often reluctant to discuss the stress they are feeling and unwilling to discuss how this stress may manifest itself in their day to day work and personal lives," says Gomez-DiCesare, a primary care physician in Bassett’s Middleburgh health center. "However, medical professionals are more open to discussing difficult issues with colleagues, which is why we believe peer-to-peer support can be very effective. In fact, peer-to-peer support is known to be effective in other high stress occupations."

Under the grant from the New York State Health Foundation, Bassett Healthcare Network is collaborating with health systems from across CNY to create a peer support network for physicians, advanced practice clinicians, resident physicians, and nurses. The initial partnering organizations include Bassett Healthcare Network, Upstate Medical University, Mohawk Valley Health System, and Oneida Healthcare.

In addition to providing confidential peer-to-peer support, the pilot project will promote organizational culture changes that emphasize and embrace workforce resilience, recognize clinician distress, and combat the stigmas surrounding seeking help for the emotional and physical impacts of excessive stress. Additionally, Bassett Medical Center is implementing a peer support dashboard and will conduct surveys to evaluate patient and provider satisfaction in order to enhance the program curriculum.