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Published on June 13, 2017

Avera’s LIGHT Program Earns National CHA Award

Avera Health's LIGHT program has received the Catholic Health Association’s Achievement Citation for its innovative approaches in helping physicians and advance practice providers address burnout.

This honor was announced at the 2017 Catholic Health Assembly, held June 11-13 in New Orleans.

Established in 2014, LIGHT stands for Live, Improve, Grow, Heal and Treat. The program serves Avera’s 900 providers with a goal to prevent or reduce burnout by through strategies to build resiliency, encourage enjoyment of job and home, implement practice changes and create improved work-life balance.

“Providers spend so much of themselves caring for others that they often neglect to care for themselves. There can be that tendency to place individual and family needs on the back burner,” said Tad Jacobs, DO, who developed the LIGHT program.

Having experience as a family practitioner in the rural community of Flandreau, S.D., Jacobs said he understands that rural and urban doctors alike are at risk for burnout. “The settings are much different, but the challenges are remarkably similar.”

LIGHT program director is Mary Wolf, MS, LPC-MH, and Justin Sharp, MD, an Avera Medical Group neonatologist, serves as medical director of the program.

“LIGHT services touch people from the beginning to the end of their careers, from residency to retirement,” Wolf said, and include, in part:

  • Executive and peer coaching
  • A couple's retreat
  • A women’s retreat
  • Emotional retirement series
  • No-agenda socials, where providers and spouses gather for refreshments and conversation
  • Schwartz Rounds, a gathering to process the social and emotional aspects of being health care providers
  • Continuing medical education credits for completion of courses on well-being strategies, such as mindfulness

Avera’s mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values. “This doesn’t apply to patients only. We want to make a positive impact in the lives of medical professionals and their families through meeting their specific needs,” Jacobs said.

“We are very proud that Avera is a pioneer in developing the LIGHT program. We have all heard the phrase ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’ Our goal in LIGHT is to seek ways in which we can ‘lift the boats’ among our clinical practitioners,” Jacobs said. “In receiving the CHA distinction, we hope to raise awareness and provide ideas that other health systems can apply in their own settings.”

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Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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