Physician Health Program

Founded in 1978, the Physician Health Committee (PHC) is a standing peer review committee of the Rhode Island Medical Society. The Committee provides ongoing oversight to program staff responding to physician health issues, such as medical illnesses (for example, neurological disorders), substance use and psychiatric disorders, as well as coping with stress and burnout. We also evaluate for possible underlying health issues which may be contributing to identified disruptive or ethical behaviors.

The Physician Health Program (RIPHP) is supported by a fund within the Rhode Island Medical Society Foundation which receives annual donations in support of the program. A list of contributors can be found in the Annual Report of the Physician Health Program.

The Physician Health Program Director serves as an advisor to Brown University Alpert Medical School’s Student Health Council (SHC) which was originally modeled after RIPHP in the 1980’s. This group of medical students meets once per month to discuss referrals to its peer counseling program and to plan and implement supportive wellness opportunities for medical students

Concerned about the well-being of a doctor?

The Rhode Island Medical Society’s Physician Health Program has helped hundreds of physicians, dentists, podiatrists and physician assistants address personal health issues that can sometimes compromise professional performance. As a peer review body, the Physician Health Program and its Committee have the strong protection of both Rhode Island and federal law for the confidentiality of its work.

Download the guide to Make a Referral to RIPHP…

Common Warning Signs

Attitude/Behavior Changes

  • Rapidly turns from compassionate and caring to abrupt/caustic
  • Withdraws from friends and activities
  • Becomes mistrusting, anxious, depressed, irritable

Performance Changes

  • Misses appointments
  • Makes rounds at unusual hours
  • Can’t be reached when on call
  • Sloppy charting
  • Smell of alcohol on breath during the day

Physical Changes

  • Loss of appetite or reduced level of exercise
  • Looks tired; admits to insomnia
  • Personal hygiene deteriorates
  • Physical problems are self-treated

Relationship Changes

  • Family communication deteriorates
  • Frequent arguments, spouse blamed
  • Occurrence of spouse, child abuse
  • Children may exhibit poor school performance
  • Jealousy, infidelity leading to separation, divorce