Wellness, engagement, and resilience are our guiding principles
Department leadership launched the POWER (Promoting Overall Well-being, Engagement, and Resilience) in Pediatrics initiative in January 2020, to support our health care providers and learners through the challenges and stressors anticipated in our system as we transitioned to a new electronic record, EPIC.
Shortly after POWER’s launch, though, 2020 unfolded in many unanticipated ways: First the COVID-19 pandemic, then the heightened awareness of racial inequity and health disparities. The POWER team was able to fill an important need for the department at a time when changes were taking place in both work (remote work, concerns about commuting safely, redeployments) and home life (social distancing, children moving to remote school), all in the context of grave concerns for patient, personal, and family health.
The POWER team began sending weekly emails that included basic information about remaining healthy during COVID; these messages soon expanded to include resources for child care, remote learning, and healthy eating. Members of the department from all disciplines and divisions offered readings, reflections, recipes, discount offers, and, most notably, tangible self-care options such as brief afternoon meditation and yoga sessions.
This weekly collection of resources, support, and information has given members of the department easily accessible options to support their emotional and physical health, well-being, sleep, and nutrition.
The POWER team also collaborated with Cope Columbia to ensure that department members had access to critical information regarding managing grief and fostering resilience. Redeployed members of the department and those experiencing high stress, sustained changes, or loss have had consistent access to 1:1 support with psychiatry faculty as well as debriefing groups.
ELEVATED POWER Initiative
The POWER team also worked closely with the Pediatric Diversity & Inclusion Council (PDIC) and others at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) to compile resources to educate faculty, staff, and learners about the impact of privilege and how to dismantle systemic racism and its impact—to move beyond solidarity to action.
An interdisciplinary, interdivisional POWER Advisory Group has now been formed as well as a new initiative, ELEVATED POWER in Pediatrics (to Ensure that the Learning Environment, Values, Anti-racism Training, Equity and Diversity in Promoting Overall Well-being, Engagement, and Resilience) to better understand the new and emerging needs of the members of our department during these continued challenging times.