CHOC is thrilled to announce the appointment of pediatric neurologist Dr. Anjalee Galion as physician wellness officer, a new role tasked with improving the health and wellness of clinicians.
In this role, Dr. Galion – who will continue her patient care duties – will work to identify providers and divisions struggling with fatigue and burnout and link them to available resources and support. She will also identify new programs needed to improve overall health and wellness. This work will be done in partnership with Kathleen Wilkinson, CHOC’s human resources operations director and associate wellness officer, who will apply the same efforts to associates across the CHOC enterprise.
“When talking about physician wellness, I like to say, ‘It’s not just about yoga,’” Dr. Galion says. “Physician wellness is about utilizing an evidence-based approach to measure and track burnout, securing resources to improve burnout and advocating for physician wellbeing across the organization.”
Galion’s new role at CHOC comes at a critical time, given the increased prevalence of burnout among physicians since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; physician burnout is currently at its highest recorded rate in history. CHOC uses a nationally-recognized model for physician wellness: Eighty percent focuses on system-wide improvement, the culture of wellness and efficiency of practice, and the other 20% focuses on personal resilience. It’s not just about being healthy, Dr. Galion says, but also further improving patient care; when wellness is prioritized, physicians have even more bandwidth to focus on patients and build upon CHOC’s steadfast commitment to excellent patient care.
“The support around physician wellness speaks volumes about how much CHOC cares about its people,” she says. “To create a new position that’s entirely focused on the wellness and resilience of our physicians is groundbreaking and a part of CHOC’s transformational change.”
“CHOC’s highest priority is the safety and well-being of our patients, and patient safety begins with the mental health of our physicians,” Dr. Galion adds. “If we can help the mental well-being of even one physician, then this is all worth it.”
Dr. Galion has been with CHOC since 2012 and is currently the associate director of CHOC’s Comprehensive Sleep Program. She is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at UC Irvine; sits on the Orange County Medical Association board of directors; is an alternate delegate for the American Medical Association, representing California; is the director of pediatric sleep training for the UCLA Medicine Sleep Fellowship; and holds positions as the neurology section chair at CHOC, in addition to being the secretary and treasurer of CHOC’s medical staff.
Dr. Galion attended medical school at New Jersey Medical School and University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey, and served her pediatric residency at University of California, San Francisco at Fresno. She performed her pediatric neurology fellowship at University of California, Irvine – where she was the chief resident from 2011 to 2012 – and her sleep medicine fellowship at UCLA and Cedars Sinai.