Health care providers work long hours caring for patients. In addition, they may also have non-patient care responsibilities, including teaching, research, administration and also volunteer activities. Health care providers have the same health care needs as their patients, and should have access to the same health care services as the general community. Unfortunately, health care providers sometimes neglect their own health, and may experience special barriers in accessing care.

The literature on health care providers as patients demonstrates that many do not have a primary care physician or dentist, and that even if they do they may not visit the doctor or dentist as often as they should. Health care providers are known to seek informal consultations with colleagues and friends, and some treat themselves instead of seeking professional advice and treatment.

Health care workers may experience particular barriers to seeking their own health care. Some reported barriers include concerns about confidentiality, embarrassment about health concerns, time pressures, costs, special knowledge about limitations of the health care system, and a tendency to minimize personal health problems.

We are fortunate in Boston to have many fine health care facilities and providers. Some of us choose to use Boston Medical Center, Boston University Dental School, and/or our affiliated Health Centers for our own care and the care of our families. Some of us prefer to receive care with providers who are not part of our own system. If you are new to the area or to our institution, or if you are a long term member of our community and have not yet chosen a primary care physician and dentist for yourself, the Wellness Program urges you to make the decision now.


  • I have a primary care physician
  • I have a check up with my doctor on a regular basis
  • I understand what kinds of health screening may be helpful for me (blood pressure, diabetes, nutrition, cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, etc.)
  • I am up to date with my own preventive health screening
  • I know about healthy choices for diet, exercise, and sleep
  • I have a chronic health problem, such as asthma or diabetes, and I am confident that I understand my illness, know how to manage it, and am on the right treatment
  • I can get medical help when I need it
  • My dental health is good
  • I have periodic dental check ups
  • My family is satisfied that I am looking after myself well
  • I get a flu shot every year

If you answered false or are uncertain about any of these statements, please seek advice about finding your own physician and dentist. You may want to reach out to your health insurance representative, your manager or director, a trusted friend or colleague, or a member of the BMC/MDS Wellness Committee.