Virtual Mental Health Grand Round - Breath: A Powerful Tool to Improve Personal Resilience & Build a Culture of Wellness in Healthcare

Virtual Mental Health Grand Round - Breath: A Powerful Tool to Improve Personal Resilience & Build a Culture of Wellness in Healthcare

Date: December 8, 2020 (12:00 PM) - December 8, 2020 (1:00 PM)

“Breath: A Powerful Tool to Improve Personal Resilience & Build a Culture of Wellness in Healthcare”

Tuesday December 8 at 12:00pm (noon) via Zoom


Hemant Sharma, MD, MHS

Co-Chair, Provider Well-being Program

Chief, Division of Allergy and Immunology

Children's National Hospital, Washington DC

Background: Professional burnout among health care providers (HCP) is pervasive and impacts quality and safety of patient care. While HCP well-being is largely influenced by systems factors, tools to bolster personal resilience can provide immediate benefit and drive organizational change towards a culture of well-being. Prior research has demonstrated health benefits of breathing and meditation practices, but their specific effects on the well-being of clinicians and health care organizations have not been extensively studied.


Learning objectives:

  1. Discuss the importance of prioritizing HCP well-being during times of increased stress and uncertainty and review key drivers of individual and organizational well-being.
  2. Understand prior research regarding the physiologic benefits of breath-based resilience intervention techniques, such as SKY.
  3. Assess the long-term impact of a virtual SKY intervention on anxiety and burnout symptoms among health care providers.
  4. Explore how investments in personal resilience can foster an organizational culture of wellness.

Content Overview:

The well-being of clinicians in a health care organization is directly influenced by the institution's culture of wellness and efficiency of practice, as well as by HCP's own personal resilience strategies.  The Provider Well-being Program at Children's National sought to evaluate the impact of a breath-based resilience intervention on HCP well-being, as well as the impact on organizational culture of wellness.  The Living Well Program, a CME-accredited program for HCPs developed by the Art of Living Foundation, was implemented initially as a pilot program for 27 Children's National HCPs, and then in a virtual format for over 200 HCPs during the COVID-19 pandemic. This Program teaches a breath-based practice called Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY). Prior research found several benefits of SKY meditation (improved mood, focus, sleep). Program participants exhibited immediate and significant decreases in anxiety and emotional exhaustion, as well as improvements in sleep satisfaction. Qualitative analysis of participant feedback identified recurrent themes of gratitude for organizational commitment to HCP well-being and increased community and connection with colleagues. Given the heightened stress experienced by HCPs during COVID-19, breathing practices may be a powerful and efficient tool to support individual and organizational well-being.



Hemant Sharma, M.D., M.H.S. is the Chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology and Co-Chair of the Provider Well-being Program at Children’s National Hospital.  He is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine, and the Director of the Food Allergy Program at Children’s National.  He serves as Vice-Chair of the Integrative Medicine Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and co-Chair of the Academy's Wellness Initiative.  Dr. Sharma is passionate about improving the professional engagement and vitality of healthcare workers, and has spoken and published widely on this topic.   

To join the Zoom Meeting please click here.

Meeting ID: 964 8284 7351

Passcode: 407955