DCMS Foundation President receives Northeast Florida Pediatric Society's Special Recognition Award
Friday, June 21, 2019
Posted by: DCMS Foundation
Last week, Duval County Medical Society (DCMS) Foundation President Dr. Sunil Joshi received the Northeast Florida Pediatric Society's 2019 Special Recognition Award. It’s an award that’s not given out every year, only when there is someone truly deserving. He received this honor for his work with two critical Foundation programs.
Under Dr. Joshi’s leadership, the Foundation jumped to the forefront of community non-profits in Jacksonville. First with the Future of Healthcare Conference which annually tackles some of the most critical public health issues in the region. The 2017 Conference focused on Food Deserts, and as a result, just this May, the City Council unanimously passed a resolution which will help bring much needed relief to those areas in Jacksonville without access to fresh foods. The 2018 Conference tackled the controversial issue of gun violence as a public health issue, and helped start the conversation that brought the Cure Violence program to Jacksonville.
Secondly, Dr. Joshi was critical in the launching of LifeBridge, a Physician Wellness Program that is now provided to members of not only the Duval County Medical Society, but also the Clay and Nassau County Medical Societies, and the Jacksonville Veterinary Medical Society.
LifeBridge launched in Jacksonville in January 2017. Dr. Joshi was finishing his term as the President of DCMS and beginning his term as the President of the DCMS Foundation. Physician Wellness is a new response to an old problem: physician burnout and suicide.
LifeBridge is a confidential counseling service for physicians on the First Coast. Physicians frequently do not seek counseling for issues related to stress and burnout for two reasons. The first is that it could impact their relicensure due to the question on their relicensing questionnaire. The second is that those who have access to an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) often do not use the program for fear that it will not be confidential and potentially impact their employment.
LifeBridge was created to fill that gap. It is completely confidential, (not even DCMS knows who is accessing the program), free, open 24/365, and provides access to a live, in-person counselor within 24 hours of calling the wellness line. The program does not create a medical record and doctors can confidently state that they have NOT received counseling services because the services provided are legally considered “coaching.”
To date, there have been more than 100 sessions provided to physicians in the Jacksonville area with more accessing the program every month. Dr. Joshi has been instrumental in program design, fundraising, and this year for bringing the the acclaimed documentary film Do No Harm and it’s producer Robyn Symon to Jacksonville. The LifeBridge program was so well received by Ms. Symon that it has been added as a resource on the movie’s website.
The LifeBridge Program was awarded a grant by The Physicians Foundation to create a toolkit to help share the program with medical societies across the United States. To date, there are approximately 20 County Medical Societies running similar programs with more being added all the time.
Without Dr. Joshi’s commitment to physicians in Jacksonville, passion for medicine, persistence in the face of adversity, and enlightened leadership, this program would not be possible.
Congratulations to Dr. Joshi for receiving this much-deserved award!