Julie Sterbank, DO, FACOI, MPH


by Julie Sterbank, DO, FACOI, MPH

March 21, 2024

“Gratitude is one of the most powerful human emotions. Once expressed, it changes attitude, brightens outlook and broadens our perspective.” - Germany Kent

One of the things I have begun to do more of over the past few years is to take the extra few seconds to show gratitude. Whether it be with friends or colleagues, it costs almost nothing, and science suggests there are many very real and measurable benefits both to the one expressing gratitude as well as the recipient. Studies have suggested people who express more gratitude may not only be healthier but happier and less likely to suffer from burnout. One study even found that in more grateful cardiac patients with heart failure who maintained gratitude journals reported better sleep, lass fatigue, and lower levels of cellular inflammation. It also appears gratitude is contagious inspiring others to be more kind, generous, and helpful, and it can strengthen relationships and may even improve the climate in the workplace. It can be as simple as writing a thank you note or more involved such as maintaining a gratitude journal.  

At ACOI 2023 in Tampa, we had another successful session with case discussion followed by a more intimate gathering for a discussion on wellbeing. I am exceedingly grateful for those who made this possible from the ACOI and venue support staff to those on our committee, including Vice Chair Angela De Hamer as well as our moderator for the case discussion Dr. Jeff Krepps. And thank you especially to all of you who participated and/or sought us out to share your thoughts on wellness and how we best can support you. The energy was and continues to be electric.  

The unknown with gratitude parallels what we know about burnout. It looks different to different people. It is not understood why some interventions involving gratitude show more benefit in some people and less benefit in others.  

As we continue to navigate an ever-evolving healthcare landscape with many challenges especially post-pandemic, we on the Physician Wellness Committee and the ACOI leadership continue to seek programming and interventions that will support you and our colleagues.   Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Committee members. As always, we are grateful for all of you and all you do. 

Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of ACOI.

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