Physician Vitality Initiative

In 2015, the ACMS board met and decided to focus on two strategic initiatives based on the emerging and felt needs of the membership: Early Career Physician Development (ECP) and Physician Well-Being.

Early Career Physicians

We had already started a New Resident's Welcome Dinner in 2014 that has proven to be popular. We launched a quarterly physician career dinner series in 2016 and 2017, with an emphasis on ECP topics. In 2018 we began our annual Oh The Places You'll Go - Resident Career Readiness Training for all Idaho PGY2 residents who want to participate, which has become built into our local residency programs' calendars.

With the arrival of the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2018 and more WWAMI Idaho students training in Boise. we also knew we needed to begin to serve medical students, which now comprise more than 600 of our members each year. In 2021, we hosted our very first Medical Student Specialty Career Fair to explore potential paths for their futures.

This ACMS Foundation created the Medical Student and Resident Emergency Fund in 2019 to assist currently enrolled medical students and medical residents training in Ada County who face unforeseen financial emergencies or catastrophic events.

Physician Well-Being and Vitality Initiatives

As a result of research into other medical societies' practices, ACMS launched its Physician Vitality Program in 2016, which provides free mental health care access as a benefit to its members. This has proven to become not just a well-utilized benefit for members but also has created a cadre of passionate people who want to focus on these issues. What started out as a PVP workgroup has developed into long-term relationships focused on upstream issues that affect physician well-being.

Through both ACMS direct initiatives as well as those made individually by its members, our medical community has become known nationally as a leader in collaborative approaches to addressing physician distress. ACMS director Steven Reames was a lead collaborator in the publication of the free LifeBridge Physician Well-Being Toolkit, which has been used in at least 30 county medical societies to start similar programs. LifeBridge was awarded the American Association of Medical Society Executives (AAMSE) Profiles of Excellence Award in 2019. 

In the year that followed, the oversight committee wanted to spend more time talking about what they were working on in their own institutions and workplaces and sharing resources together. A notable breakthrough came about when the two health systems – who’d fought out an anti-trust lawsuit in the courts only a few years before – came together and worked on parallel peer-to-peer support for their medical staff.

This kind of collaborative enterprise became the hallmark of local well-being efforts. Among many excellent leaders at large employers, there were two key independent physicians, family medicine Dr. Deb Roman and geriatric psychiatrist Dr. Abhilash Desai, who were standouts. They organized retreats, workshops, mindfulness and meditation groups, action collaboratives, and much more.

In 2018, ACMS arranged for a three-part summer series bringing in national well-being experts to kickstart medical community-wide conversations. Alongside this, Dr. Roman co-organized the Idaho Physician Well-Being Action Collaborative which started working on reducing prior authorizations among multiple health insurance companies. Dr. Roman also hosted a two-day retreat, bringing both physicians and their administrators to talk about well-being. What emerged was a desire to move the needle on physician distress at the community level, rather than just individual employer efforts.


Capital Coalition for Physician Well-Being

Beginning in 2019, ACMS has worked to launch an initiative called the Capital Coalition for Physician Well-Being. The goal of that project, outlined on our more generic website, is to become a trans-local medical community that is broadly committed to prioritizing physician well-being in the process of delivering healthcare. The Coalition promoted the National Charter on Physician Well-Being (NCPW) as a local aspirational standard for the greater SW Idaho medical community and also recognizes our leadership impact within the entire state.

In 2021, it was our hope to produce a broadly disseminated newsletter that highlights some of the works-in-progress or already implemented innovations in well-being in healthcare. While that never happened, we were able to spotlight a couple of ideas, demonstrating how individual physicians are working to change their own practice or factors that influence physicians.

Profiled Local Innovations

Dr. Michael Foutz of Advanced Family Medicine in Kuna shares his "Fixed Minute Visits" innovation, helping him stop playing Tetris with his clinical schedule every day. Boise family medicine physician Deb Roman, DO shares how the Idaho Physician Well-Being Action Collaborative has started to move the dial on reforming Prior Authorizations.

2022 PVP Champions

In 2022, we started a quarterly dinner gathering of physician well-being champions to network with each other and continue to advance the framework of the Charter throughout our impact area. They are meeting to begin to determine what our medical community can do together as next steps in advancing these priorities.
As our network grows, we're working to see that it doesn't become too unwieldy. If you are interested in joining this coalition of champions, please inquire with Steven Reames at [email protected] and let him know what you might be able to contribute.


2023 Vitality Series

ACMS hosted a three-part workshop and lecture series to advance local working relationships around common challenges that affect physician well-being. Read more about the series and the video recordings here.


Reducing Mental Health Stigma by Changing Questions

In 2023, progress was finally more visible in changing the Idaho State Board of Medicine’s licensing application questions related to mental health. ACMS started advocating for change through the Idaho Medical Association in 2017 and BOM voted on changes in 2018. But it took two more years before the modified question – in alignment with the Federation of State Medical Board’s – showed up on the online application. Communication with licensees continues to be a challenge, however.

In June 2023, ACMS pulled together the Board of Medicine leadership along with physicians and other leaders from local hospital systems, medical and malpractice insurance companies, independent clinics and educational institutions, and medical staff officers. With Corey Breen from the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation facilitating, we worked together to follow the state Board of Medicine’s lead to modify historically intrusive questions on credentialing forms and applications. Potentially, this can have an impact statewide not only among healthcare institutions, but also other professional licensing boards such as dentistry, pharmacy, and veterinarian. Read summary of that event.

Healthcare Vitality Series

We were pleased and excited in 2023 when two local continuing medical education providers approached ACMS with a desire to do some education around healthcare provider well-being. The SW Idaho Area Health Education Center and Project Echo Idaho worked to put on two different series around healthcare vitality. SWIDAHEC's series ran monthly from October - May 2023 and Project Echo's runs April 2024 - March 2025. ACMS helped bring together a planning committee and put together topics, speakers, and panelists for each series.

Echo Idaho Healthcare Vitality




Guiding Principles


  1. Effective Patient Care Promotes and Requires Physician Well-being
  2. Physician Well-being is Related with the Well-being of All Members of the Health Care Team
  3. Physician Well-being is a Quality Marker
  4. Physician Well-Being is a Shared Responsibility

 Societal Commitments

  1. Foster a Trustworthy and Supportive Culture in Medicine
  2. Advocate for Policies that Enhance Physician Well-being

Organizational Commitments

  1. Build Supportive Systems
  2. Develop Engaged Leadership
  3. Optimize Highly Functioning Interprofessional Teams

Interpersonal and Individual Commitments

  1. Anticipate and Respond to Inherent Emotional Challenges of Physician Work
  2. Prioritize Mental Health Care
  3. Practice and Promote Self Care

The National Charter on Physician Well-Being was developed by the Collaborative for Healing And Renewal in Medicine, under a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, and copyrighted by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).