Bay Area Physician Wellness Collaborative

The root cause of physician burnout is the practice environment in which they work. The only way to dramatically reduce the prevalence of clinician burnout is to tackle the myriad factors that distract from clinical medicine, create stress, and add burdens to a physician’s workday. But hope is not lost – there are many tangible and actionable strategies that medical groups, community health centers, hospital medical staffs, residency programs, and other physician organizations can employ to improve the working lives of their clinicians.  

The Bay Area Physician Wellness Collaborative, created in 2022 and sunset in 2024, sought to bring together medical group leaders, chief wellness officers, wellness committee chairs, and others who have been charged with “fixing the physician burnout problem” and provided them with expert guidance, tools and resources, a forum for sharing experiences and best practices, and a network of peers to support their work. Below is an overview of why the Collaborative was created, Collaborative Leadership, and curriculum.

How the Collaborative Supports Physicians

Using a group coaching model, the Collaborative will provide a highly structured road map for participating organizations to make substantive changes over a three-year period that can fundamentally change the practice environment in your organization and help restore joy to the practice of medicine. 

The Collaborative will be led Dr. Paul DeChant, a nationally recognized physician wellness expert with a background in practice redesign and organizational change. The program will include quarterly convenings, which will focus on actionable and tangible strategies for improving the practice environment. Participants will have access to well-known experts in the field and curated information and implementation tools that participants can bring back to their organizations. Participants will also have access to an online community to share information and experiences. In addition to introducing new practical strategies, the Collaborative will also provide an opportunity to share what has worked and what hasn’t and support each other in our collective efforts to end clinician burnout.

Meet the Program Director

Dr. Paul DeChant is a thought leader to C-level executives pursuing organizational well-being. He is an authority on reducing physician burnout by fixing dysfunction in the clinical workplace. He is co-author of the book, “Preventing Physician Burnout: Curing the Chaos and Returning Joy to the Practice of Medicine”, speaks internationally, and blogs regularly at

He is an experienced physician executive with more than 25 years of clinical and management experience in all aspects of medical group leadership, including quality improvement, strategic planning, financial growth, acquisitions, and Lean transformation.  

From 2009–2014, he served as CEO of Sutter Gould Medical Foundation (SGMF), a 300-physician medical group. Under his tenure he led a management system and culture transformation based on the theme of “Returning Joy to Patient Care”, which:  

• Achieved the highest levels of both provider and patient satisfaction in Sutter Health 

• Improved physician satisfaction from the 45th to 87th percentile  

• Increased profitability while reducing costs 

• Recognized as the highest rated in overall care among 170 California medical groups two years in a row  

Dr. DeChant graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Science degree. He received his medical degree from the Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine and earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of Colorado-Denver. 

Collaborative Curriculum

The Collaborative will offer a structured and progressive sequence of learning and collaboration opportunities, enabling participating organizations to apply meaningful strategies at the organization-level that can substantially improve the work lives of physicians and other clinicians. Quarterly convenings will focus on specific, actionable strategies and will leverage nationally recognized experts and curated resources to ensure participants have the information and tools to make an action plan for their practice. Click here for Collaborative brochure.

Topics covered:

  • The Important Role of the Wellness Leader: Discuss the variety of forms that this role can take depending on the size, nature, and resources of the organization.

  • Diagnostic Assessments: Explore the variety of wellness and burnout surveys available, including the benefits and challenges of the most common surveys available, to help an organization choose the right survey for its needs.

  • Leadership Culture: Discuss the function of various leadership roles from patient-facing roles up to senior leaders, reviewing the impact each can have on the wellbeing of physicians on the front lines of care, and providing recommendations to serve most effectively in each role.

  • Management Systems: Evaluate organizational structure and management processes, with a focus on how different systems positively or negatively impact physician wellbeing.

  • Workflow Redesign: Deep dive into approaches to redesigning workflows to improve practice efficiency, reduce work overload and exhaustion, and regain work-life balance.

  • Daily Huddles: Reimagine the daily huddle process and how it specifically addresses key drivers of burnout, and provide a guide to get started or to improve a huddle process that is currently in place.

  • EHR Optimization: Consider approaches to optimizing the EHR, including innovations that significantly reduce documentation burden and in-basket overwhelm.

  • The Committee/Center for Physician Well-being: Review of key functions of the well-being center, discussing the appropriate services/functions, based on size, resources, and complexity of the organization.

  • Peer Support and Burnout Coaching: Overview of different options for providing support for physicians, reviewing how each approach provides unique value based on the needs of the individual and organization.