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How the Sharp Index Shines a Light on the Pioneers Fighting Physician Burnout


Janae Sharp’s nonprofit is accepting nominations for a new awards ceremony.

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Janae Sharp is the founder of the Sharp Index, a nonprofit built out of the idea of reducing physician suicide and burnout through data science and advocacy. She’s been a pioneer in the fight against physician burnout ever since John Madsen, M.D., her husband and the father of her children, died from suicide.

But this is not the perfect “inspirational story,” though. Sharp told Inside Digital Health™ in an email that she was angry when Madsen died.

“I was angry at the system,” she wrote. “I was angry that there wasn’t more support for my children. Out of that anger, I decided to try to create more honor for mental health.”

One new way through which Sharp decided to tackle this issue comes in the form of an awards program to honor the people, institutions and projects advancing means to reduce physician burnout. Nominations span eight categories and are open for roughly three more months. The Sharp Index’s board will then vote, and winners will be announced at a gala in the fall on a still undetermined date.

Sharp feels that it is part of her responsibility as a suicide-loss survivor to say that there is hope and to hold people accountable for improving the workplace.

But the mission of the Sharp Index is bigger than the small nonprofit, which only recently earned that status.

Sharp wants to recognize the good things that are happening in healthcare.

“Celebrating the successes in physician well-being puts a spotlight on its importance, while helping groups that are looking for a best practice connect with leaders,” Sharp wrote.

After hearing a leader say that making a contest and giving someone a trophy could lead to huge change, Sharp’s wheels started turning.

“I laughed, then thought, ‘You know, we need to celebrate that great workplace balance and physician mental health are a success,” she wrote.

An awards process and an organized event could say that physician burnout matters. It could inspire innovators to craft new solutions or simply encourage those who already trying to make life better for doctors to speak up.

The categories for nomination are as follows:

  • Most Promising Research in Physician Burnout
  • Best Health-Tech Company to Reduce Physician Burnout
  • Best Health-Tech Innovator in Physician Burnout & Suicide Prevention
  • Biggest Leader in Physician Burnout
  • Best Health System Wellness Program
  • Best Media Coverage of Physician Burnout
  • Best Advocate for Physician Burnout & Suicide Prevention
  • Best Data Project for Physician Burnout

The different categories cover areas where improvement is needed.

Sharp said that giving out awards recognizes moves that are actually being made to fight burnout.

“The hope is that people focus more on (physician burnout),” she said.

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