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‘Breaking Bread’ dinners help EM faculty mitigate burnout, build community

May 1, 2024
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In the busy and often high-stress field of emergency medicine, faculty at the University of Washington are finding a way to address burnout while staying connected. It starts at the dinner table. 

Every three to four months, a small group of EM faculty from Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center – Montlake, and Northwest get together and share a meal outside the confines of the hospital. It’s a part of ‘Breaking Bread,’ an evidence-based program that provides an opportunity for six to eight EM faculty members to get together, and discuss work challenges and successes. Faculty host each other at their homes for dinner or they can get together at a restaurant of their choice.

Breaking Bread group of faculty members share a meal together

This is thanks to a Wellness Grant, submitted by Dr. Dave Lu, Associate Professor and Director of Faculty Wellness and Professional Fulfillment in the UW Department of Emergency Medicine.  

Lu said the dinners bring together faculty from different practice sites and across different career stages, allowing them a unique opportunity to connect and socialize with colleagues whom they normally would not interact with. One aspect of these dinners is that attendees are given a prompt to foster conversation. For example, one recent prompt at a dinner was, ‘If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?’ 

“These dinners allow faculty to learn more about each other outside the work setting and is a great way to foster camaraderie within the department," said Lu.

This grant was partially funded by UW Medicine, and Lu hopes to continue the dinners to have a positive impact on faculty wellness and professional satisfaction.  

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