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“Do No Harm” screening sparks conversation about physician burnout


As burnout and suicide continue to devastate physicians across the US, Northwell Health opened internal conversations about the issue by screening a new documentary and hosting a panel discussion Wednesday evening at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH).

NSUH was the first New York area hospital to screen the film, Do No Harm, Exposing the Hippocratic Hoax, which was also videoconferenced to 10 other Northwell hospitals. The documentary chronicles flaws in medical education that are being attributed to clinicians taking their own lives. According to the American Psychiatric Association, physicians are committing suicide at twice the rate of the general population. One in three medical students and 50 percent of practicing physicians are admittedly depressed.

The provocative film was produced and directed by two-time Emmy Award-winner Robyn Symon and follows physicians and the families of residents who have been affected by burnout and suicide. Sandeep Jauhar, MD, director of Long Island Jewish Medical Center's Heart Failure Program, was featured in the film. He was also among eight panelists, including Ms. Symon, to discuss the subject after the airing of the documentary.

"Physician burnout has silently taken the lives of our colleagues across the country," said Ira Nash, MD, a practicing cardiologist and executive director of Northwell Health Physician Partners. "This severe topic needs to be addressed. Those dealing with this condition don't need to suffer in silence."

Northwell provides numerous resources to physicians enduring burnout symptoms, including several well-being committees, the Employee and Family Assistance Program, a Physician Resource Network, Employee Health Services and employee wellness programs. The health system's culture of openness helps erase the stigma surrounding burnout and allows physicians and all employees to step forward if they are feeling symptoms.

"Coming forward is not a sign of weakness," said Mark Jarrett, MD, senior vice president and chief quality officer. "In fact, asking for help is a sign of strength and courage."

In recognition of Suicide Awareness Month, Ms. Symon is screening Do No Harm for the medical community this September. The film will next be shown on September 12 and 13 at the Angelika Film Center & Café in Manhattan. A panel discussion will follow with Ms. Symon, Pamela Wible, MD, a physician featured in the film, and Michele Dietl, who lost her son, Kevin, to suicide just weeks before he was slated to graduate from A.T. Still University's College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State's largest health care provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, 665 outpatient facilities and more than 18,500 affiliated physicians. We care for over two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 66,000 employees – 16,000-plus nurses and 4,000 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We're making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit

Chris Gasiewski
[email protected]

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