About Physician Coach Gail Gazelle MD, MCC
“Dr. Gazelle’s dedication to her work as a physician coach is obvious. With her skills and talents, you will find yourself advancing toward a new you before you know it.” – Academic Internist, Massachusetts
Dr. Gazelle’s Career Timeline
Medical Ethics Fellowship
New England Journal of Medicine
Surgical Services Hospitalist
Assistant Professor Harvard Medical School
New England Journal of Medicine
Harvard Health Guide
Published Pioneering Physician Coaching Article
Certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher
Master Certified Coach
Physician Burnout Podcasts
Physician Pandemic Support
Author, Everyday Resilience
Mindful MD Facebook Group
Coached over 500 physicians and physician leaders 1:1
My own experience with physician burnout
Several years ago, prior to becoming a physician coach, and at a critically stressful time in my career, I struggled with self-doubt, constant rumination, and over-tiredness. Learn more about my journey through burnout and why I chose to become a physician coach to contribute to bringing an end to the epidemic of physician burnout.
I always aspired to be a physician and work in end-of-life care. This goal propelled me forward, but I was still unprepared for the stresses of training. It wasn’t so much the long hours as the emotional intensity. The focus on always having to be perfect and the lack of support for me as a whole person.
As I moved into practice, I was caught up in comparing myself to colleagues I assumed were smarter and more accomplished than I could ever be.
I felt like an imposter. To overcome this belief, I dedicated myself to my career and worked tirelessly, almost becoming a slave to my work.
I was always thinking about my patients and fell into a vicious cycle of guilt. If I were a better physician, I’d read more and work even harder. If I were a better parent, I’d be less focused on work. I never felt like I was good enough at either. The constant rumination and mental chatter in my head were exhausting.
Knowing I couldn’t continue like this, I stumbled into coaching and began to develop tools that helped me shift my mindset. I learned to focus the lens away from my perceived inadequacies and onto my strengths and accomplishments.
I also discovered that I could choose how I related to my circumstances rather than being a victim of them. By achieving a series of small changes, I was able to leapfrog forward. I shifted to a much more relaxed and comfortable way of living. I even started laughing more!
In the summer of 2013, I took the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction course, which proved to be another game-changer. I’d meditated off and on for years but now that I clearly saw the benefits, I began doing so regularly. I realized that many of my patterns of thought were really getting in my way. With meditation, I became able to focus more intentionally and shift into much more resourceful patterns.
The new focus translated to greater time efficiency as well as much more comfort just being myself. I developed more gratitude for what I have, rather than dwelling on what I do not.
I wanted to broaden what I offer clients so studied in a two-year intensive mindfulness meditation teacher training program with world-renowned teachers Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield.
I’ve also deepened my practice by sitting multiple silent retreats.
Coaching has been reserved for athletes and executives for quite some time. By adapting the benefits to the realities and challenges of medicine, I became a pioneer and leader in the field of physician coaching.
Why I became a physician coach
Over the past decade, I have been increasingly concerned about the physician burnout epidemic caused by growing pressures in healthcare. Find out more about my training and how I’ve helped hundreds of physicians and physician leaders achieve more satisfying, productive, and fulfilling careers.
After experiencing the life-changing effects of coaching in overcoming my own experience with burnout, I noticed how vulnerable we, as physicians, are to this reality. My desire was to share the benefits I had experienced from coaching with other colleagues who were struggling just as I had.
I underwent training and certification at the Coaches Training Institute, one of the foremost coach training programs internationally. I attained Professional Certified Coach certification through the International Coach Federation.
Since then, I’ve coached over 500 physicians and physician leaders, utilizing a wide variety of evidence-based tools. I particularly enjoy sharing my expertise in mindfulness and positive psychology, as well as providing engaging, interactive, and insightful keynotes and workshops nationally on physician wellness, burnout, and resilience.
As a physician coach, there’s nothing better than witnessing a transformation or breakthrough in my clients’ lives. I often receive emails and messages of gratitude, telling me how pleased they are with my ability to meet them where they are with expert skill and compassion. You can hear directly from them here.
My professional background
Over my 28-year career, I’ve worked in an unusually wide variety of roles, so I understand the demands and mindset of physicians and physician leaders in a wide variety of specialties. Read more to understand my professional background and expertise.
- Over my 28-year career, I’ve worked in an unusually wide variety of roles, so I understand the demands and mindset of physicians and physician leaders in a wide variety of specialties. Read more to understand my professional background and expertise.
In my almost
- Director of the pain and palliative care programs at a major Boston HMO
- Hospitalist on the complex surgical services staff at a major Harvard teaching hospital
- Hospice medical director
- Emergency room extender
- Primary care internist
- Regional medical director of a large national hospice chain
- Academician, and entrepreneur
As a result, I have a solid understanding of the mindset of physicians and physician leaders in a wide variety of specialties.
Today, I dedicate myself to improving the work-life balance for physicians in all fields by providing tools for resilience, mindfulness, and fulfillment. I’m a part-time Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School as well as an Associate Scientist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where I developed and teach a resilience session to all Internal Medicine residents.
My publications and books:
- Author, Everyday Resilience. A Practical Guide to Build Inner Strength and Weather Life’s Challenges
- Harvard Health Guide Mindfulness Support for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
- Building Your Resilient Self®: 52 Tips to Move from Physician Burnout to Balance
- Coaching for Burnout article in the Journal of General Internal Medicine
- Physician Leadership Journal piece featuring my work in mindfulness
- 14-day meditation challenge
- American College of Physicians leadership resilience podcast
- New England Journal of Medicine article exposing the unethical nature of slow codes
- New England Journal of Medicine article Understanding Hospice