ACMS Announces the Launch of the Physician Wellness Program


By: Sara Hussey, MBA, CAE – ACMS Executive Director

The Allegheny County Medical Society Foundation has created an innovative Physician Wellness Program (PWP) to address physician mental health and burnout. The major announcement and details of the initiative were unveiled April 18, 2024 during ACMS Honors at the Heinz History Center. The mental health booking site is set to go live on May 15, 2024.


“Physicians spend a great deal of time on the mental and physical health of their patients, but often at their own expense. Nine to eleven percent of U.S. doctors report having suicidal thoughts and the rate of death by suicide is more than double that of the general population, and yet we tend to eschew our own needs,” said Dr. Vint Blackburn, a pediatric psychiatrist and the ACMS physician who is helping to lead the clinical side of the Physician Wellness Program.

This program effectively removes barriers that prevent physicians from accessing the counseling they need. It’s a great resource that can help improve the well-being of doctors in the community. It also serves as a catalyst to start a broader conversation around how we can better take care of one another. This is a platform to help reduce the stigma around seeking mental health services.

-Vint Blackburn, MD

Through the PWP, physicians and medical residents living or practicing in Allegheny County will have access to up to four counseling sessions per year by carefully vetted therapists. The professionals will be equipped to address some of the unique challenges faced by physicians, including but not limited to, depression, imposter syndrome, perfectionism, and burnout. Most importantly, the program will provide a safe environment for physicians and residents to seek competent care without fear of negative consequences from their employers or regulatory bodies. Because this program is being run through the ACMS Foundation, it is open to all Physicians and Medical Residents in Allegheny County regardless of ACMS membership status. Participants do not need to be an ACMS member to seek support through this program.

The program will be accessed through the ACMS’ website, where participants will be directed to book an appointment directly with one of the vetted therapists who have been selected to participate in this program.

Our mental health providers (MHPs) are sensitive to keeping the physician and medical residents personal and professional reputation intact. Participation in this program is completely voluntary and confidential and may not be mandated as a condition of employment. Neither ACMS, the participants employer, nor the Board of Medicine will be notified of the participants name if one chooses to participate. Additionally there will be:

  • No medical diagnosis – only limited therapy notes are kept on paper
  • No insurance billing – our billing process does not allow for participant names to be submitted
  • Limited electronic records created (e.g. calendaring, consent to treat, and telehealth software, all of which will be disclosed and explained by the therapist).

Initial funds for the newly formed program came from a 2023 grant awarded from The Physicians Foundation, a national organization that provides grants to empower physicians, support quality patient care, and improve the health care system. As the PWP enters its pilot phase, the ACMS Foundation looks ahead to the program’s expansion and formal integration into its framework. To learn more about this remarkable initiative, please visit

Consider a donation to the ACMS Foundation to help us fund the future of this program. Your tax-deductible donation to the ACMS Foundation would be much appreciated. We look forward to sharing more updates on the PWP over the next few weeks.