Objective: To report on the status of residency-based wellness initiatives in ophthalmic graduate medical education and identify strategies for promoting ophthalmology resident wellness by surveying US ophthalmology program directors (PDs). Design: The PDs were each sent an e-mail containing a link to an anonymous online 15-question survey. The PDs also received a letter with the survey link and a $1 incentive. After 2 weeks, nonresponders received 2 weekly reminder e-mails and phone calls. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the multiple choice responses and categorize the free response answers. Setting: National survey. Participants: All 111 US ophthalmology PDs were invited to participate. Results: Of 111 PDs, 56 (50%) responded; 14 (26%) of 53 respondents reported that their programs faced an issue involving resident depression, burnout, or suicide within the last year; 25 (45%) of 56 reported that their department had a resident wellness program. Respondents without wellness programs reported a shortage of time (19/30; 63%) and lack of training and resources (19/30; 63%) as barriers to instituting these programs. Respondents reported that the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education could better promote resident wellness by providing training resources for burnout and depression screening (35/53; 66%), resilience skills building (38/53; 72%), and wellness program development (36/53; 68%). Conclusions: This survey suggests that there is a substantial burden of burnout and depression among residents in ophthalmic graduate medical education and that this burden can be addressed by promoting the training of educators to recognize the signs of burnout and depression, and providing resources to develop and expand formal wellness programs.
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