You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

You are using an outdated browser.

To ensure optimal security, this website will soon be unavailable on this browser. Please upgrade your browser to allow continued use of ACP websites.

You are here

How to Create a Clinician Wellness Committee

Creating a wellness committee is a concrete first step an organization can take to foster a culture of clinician wellness.

Clinician well-being is not only critical to enhancing patient safety, but plays an important role in recruiting and retaining physicians. Stress in the medical workplace is generated by:

  • Increasing internal and external complexity
  • Greater pressure and accountability
  • Lack of work/life balance
  • Loss of autonomy and control
  • Loss of revenue and higher costs of practice
  • Rising number of malpractice suits and cost of insurance

An organizational commitment to create a Clinician Wellness Committee typically begins with recognition of the physician as a precious resource by the executive leadership team.

How to Create a Clinician Wellness Committee

  • Get buy in from executive leaders – their support is necessary
    • Find executive champion
    • Use toolbox resources including:
      • Elevator Speech
      • Rationale, fast facts
      • Return on investment calculator
  • Invite clinicians (physicians and APPs) from various departments and clinics within the system (inpatient, outpatient, surgical, primary care, etc.)
    • Try to get a mix of in terms of age, years worked at institution and gender so all voices represented

 Determine the Clinician Wellness Committee’s Role 

Clinician Wellness Committees can take on a variety of roles, including education, support and consultation.    In general, these committees do not conduct formal interventions; those are more often handled by a medical executive or outside professional due to potential legal liability, confidentiality and mandated reporting requirements.  Some potential activities of a Clinician Wellness Committee include:

  • Hosting regular wellness seminars or programs
  • Fostering support groups for clinicians dealing with similar situations; e.g., facing litigation; dealing with grief; feeling overwhelmed by work processes.
  • Offering peer-to-peer coaching

How to Create a Clinician Wellness Committee Charter

Clinician Wellness Committees should be governed by a charter.  In general, charters contain the following elements:

  • Purpose:  Brief explanation of Committee’s role
  • Scope:  What the Committee will and won’t do (e.g., committee will undertake educational events and provide one to one support but will not organize support groups)
  • Objectives/Outcomes: What the committee hopes to accomplish
  • Measures of Success:  How will the committee know it has reached its objectives
  • Learning and Support Needs:  What does the committee need to be successful

In addition, the charter should address important administrative considerations including:

  • Committee’s decision-making authority
  • Who committee reports to, how often, and what is reported
  • Communication expectations – what can the committee communicate to others, and through what channels
  • Meeting frequency and schedule
  • Number and composition of members, criteria for serving, length of term
  • Officer roles and responsibilities (e.g., Chair, Vice Chair,  other)
    • Chair generally  Prepares and/or approves agenda; chairs the meetings and facilitates discussion; ensures appropriate decisions are made; coordinates and ensures dissemination of communication documents; ensures charter is reviewed on an annual basis; ensures objectives and measures of success are updated as needed
    • Vice Chair generally  chairs the meeting if Chair is unavailable, facilitates discussion and ensures appropriate decisions are made; along with Chair, ensures objectives and measures of success are achieved


  • Offering food helps if meetings are over lunch hour
  • Change the day of the week and location of the meetings around to accommodate busy schedules and facilitate attendance (especially important on a big campus)
    • Example:
      January, meeting on a Monday in clinic 1 in conference room A
      February, meeting on a Friday in clinic 2 in conference room B
      March, meeting on Tuesday in clinic 3 in conference room C
  • Send emails between meetings to encourage everyone to have a voice if they can’t make a meeting
  • See if conference phone is available for those who can’t attend in person
  • Offer parking for people who have to drive to the meeting
  • Develop sub committees to accomplish bigger projects
  • Think about how to communicate to the broader audience (to get members, share findings, etc.):
    • Monthly/Quarterly/etc. email
    • Website (internal or external)