October 14, 2018
Area(s) of Interest: Physician Wellness Psychiatry
Orange County psychiatrist Nicolaas-John Van Nieuwenhuysen, M.D., has been awarded the California Medical Association (CMA) 2018 Gary S. Nye Award for Physician Health and Well-Being. This annual award honors a CMA member who has made significant contributions toward improving physician health and wellness. The award was presented today at CMA’s annual House of Delegates meeting in Sacramento.
Dr. Van Nieuwenhuysen is being honored for his commitment to and passion for helping his fellow physicians find success, happiness and well-being in pursuit of their noble profession. He has served as chair of the Orange County Medical Association (OCMA) Physician Wellness Program for more than seven years, growing the program into one of the most established and successful county-medical-society-based wellness programs in the state. In that role, he organizes free workshops and seminars addressing a number of wellness topics to help physicians address stress, life-work balance and healthy lifestyles. To date, nearly 2,000 physicians and health care professionals in Orange County have participated in the program.
“More than a dozen physicians have told us they have used the tips and skills learned in our workshops to make positive changes in their professional and personal lives,” said OCMA Executive Director Jim Petersen. “One physician told us that as a result of our program on resilience and self-compassion she was motivated to take six months off from her practice to refocus and reprioritize her life. She told us that she was on the verge of quitting medicine, but those six months helped her find the joy in medicine she had been missing for years.”
Dr. Van Nieuwenhuysen has used his professional contacts and passion for the program to recruit experts nationwide to present and facilitate workshops on topics ranging from healthy eating, yoga, mindfulness, resilience, life-work balance and developing and maintaining positive personal and professional relationships.
Dr. Van Nieuwenhuysen has begun work this year to take the program to the next level. Along with the committee and staff from OCMA, Dr. Van Nieuwenhuysen is researching community physician wellness programs around the country to identify additional programs to support physician wellness in Orange County, including interactive screening programs, one-on-one counseling, toll-free hotlines and physician support groups.