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The American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) and the APSA Wellness Committee are pleased to offer members of APSA (and other healers) a tool to prevent and treat healer distress: the Connect5 program. This innovative program provides a simple but powerful way to create a compassionate network strong enough to support us all. By creating space for us to authentically and safely support each other, this program will lead us to realize that we are not alone in what we experience – from sorrow to great joy. Being grounded with and by each other will also provide the understanding and strength we need to be able to say “no” to many long held (and enforced) assumptions of those who employ us… and to help them arrive at a place of compassion and healing as well.

Mary Brandt, MD MDiv, Connect5 Program Chair.
Watch this video to learn about APSA’s Connect5 program.


What do I need to do?

Commit to finding five people who will become your Connect Five “team”. That’s it.
When trying to think about who to contact, we recommend you spend some time thinking about the people in your life you can always call – even if several years have gone by. These are often friends outside of medicine… a best friend from high school, college, medical school or residency, someone from your place of worship or another group you meet with regularly, a cousin or other family member. Some of your Connect Five team will be colleagues, but probably not the people you work with every day.

What do I tell them?

You are going to propose a relationship that many people don’t have, but we feel confident just about everyone wants.
The words will be yours, but the concepts you might want to use include:

  • Explaining the program
  • Creating a truly safe space to share hard things and great joys
  • Agreeing to listen deeply to each other and not try to “fix” anything as the first impulse
  • Setting up a schedule (flexible, so it can be changed) that works for you. We recommend at least every 2-3 months, but feel free to do it more often
  • Establishing the expectation that additional calls can and should happen on a prn basis

What if I don’t have five friends I could call?

If you have even one, call that one friend, and then keep your eyes, ears and heart open for other people that might be willing to walk with you through this journey.
If you can’t think of anyone, contact one of the members of the Wellness Committee. If you need help identifying someone, please feel free to email Mary Brandt or Kurt Heiss We will accept your offer with joy and will be honored by your phone call.

We will tell you this every time we have the chance….
Your work is noble and you are precious.

Visit PedSurg.TV to watch APSA’s Wellness Series and much more.