APMA News - November/December 2020 - 18

PHYSICIAN WELLNESS FOCUS:

SUICIDE AWARENESS
An Interview with Patrick A. DeHeer, DPM

T

he APMA Public Health and Preventive Podiatric Medicine Committee has physician wellness concerns on
its agenda. Physician suicide has been identified as a
topic of growing professional and public health concern. Physicians often sacrifice their own well-being as they
care for others. Furthermore, there are systemic barriers in
place that discourage self-care and help-seeking behaviors
among physicians.
APMA News recently spoke with Trustee Patrick A. DeHeer, DPM, whose personal experience with the suicide of a
colleague drove him to take action on behalf of podiatrists
and podiatric medical students.
APMA News: Please share your personal story with our readers.
Dr. DeHeer: About a year and a half ago, a colleague of more
than 25 years called me on a Friday afternoon asking for professional help. We discussed some options, and I thought our
call ended on a positive note. The following Monday evening,
the hospital chief of staff called to inform me this colleague
had committed suicide. My feelings of sorrow, loss, and shock

18 APMA News November/December 2020

were put on hold as I had to inform nine residents of the
tragedy. I wanted to take the tragedy and use it to raise suicide
awareness within the podiatric profession, and it is a mission
I continue to this day. Suicide awareness not only applies to
practicing podiatric physicians, but also must include podiatric medical students and podiatric surgical residents.
APMA News: What has your research identified about the prevalence of suicide within podiatric medicine?
Dr. DeHeer: Our survey on resident well-being is ongoing,
but early feedback demonstrates findings consistent with our
allopathic and osteopathic colleagues. Physician suicide is
rightfully termed a public health crisis. Our profession has
conducted little research on well-being, although Rushing et
al.1 published a recent survey on resident burnout that revealed significant concerns. Burnout is a well-documented
risk factor in physician suicide.
APMA News: What guidance would you share with colleagues to
increase their awareness of suicide risk?



APMA News - November/December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of APMA News - November/December 2020

Contents
APMA News - November/December 2020 - Cover1
APMA News - November/December 2020 - Cover2
APMA News - November/December 2020 - 3
APMA News - November/December 2020 - 4
APMA News - November/December 2020 - 5
APMA News - November/December 2020 - 6
APMA News - November/December 2020 - 7
APMA News - November/December 2020 - Contents
APMA News - November/December 2020 - 9
APMA News - November/December 2020 - 10
APMA News - November/December 2020 - 11
APMA News - November/December 2020 - 12
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APMA News - November/December 2020 - Cover3
APMA News - November/December 2020 - Cover4
APMA News - November/December 2020 - A1
APMA News - November/December 2020 - A2
APMA News - November/December 2020 - A3
APMA News - November/December 2020 - A4
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