Department of OBGYN

Physicians for Physicians


Adverse outcomes whether anticipated or unanticipated can be the result of errors or a natural consequence of providing medical care. Patients and families frequently look to physicians for both information and support after an adverse event. Physicians struggle with these issues on a regular basis and find it particularly difficult to deal with these issues when they perceive, either accurately or inaccurately, that the care they provided played a role in the adverse event. Clinicians report increased stress, sleep problems, and loss of confidence after an adverse event, particularly if it is preventable. As a result, the individual clinician is referred to as the “second victim” because of the personal and professional impact they experience. To address this need, The Physician Services Division established Physicians for Physicians, a pilot program which provides confidential peer-to-peer support to all UPMC physicians.

The goals of this program are to:

  • Minimize the human toll when unanticipated adverse events occur
  • Provide a “safe zone” for faculty and staff to receive support to mitigate the impact of an adverse event by communicating with physician peer supporters.
  • Develop an internal rapid response infrastructure of “emotional first aid” for staff and clinicians following an adverse event.

How Does the Program Work?

The program is comprised of UPMC physicians who have volunteered to act as “peer supporters.” Peers supporters have been suggested by colleagues and leadership and have undergone training to be able to:

  • Understand the literature on psychological/professional consequences of errors on providers
  • Understand principles of crisis management and peer support
  • Provide appropriate peer support, and identify those in need of formal professional counseling

For assistance, contact one of the peer supporters directly or call 412-647-3669 to be connected to a peer supporter any time of the day or night.

Peer support sessions are confidential; conversations are not recorded or documented.

Focus is not analysis of the event but the impact on the individual and providing support to the individual. Follow-up interactions between the peer supporter and individuals can be scheduled as needed.

Physicians for Physicians: Peer Support Program Volunteers

Obstetrics & Gynecology

  • Arun Jeyabalan MD
  • Madeleine Courtney-brooks MD


  • Dan Sullivan MD

Critical Care Medicine

  • Ali Al-Khafaji MD
  • Marie Baldisseri MD
  • Arthur Boujoukos MD
  • Lillian Emlet MD

Emergency Medicine

  • Michael Lynch MD
  • Charissa Pacella MD
  • Gary Pollock MD
  • Kaveh Ilkhanipour MD
  • Mike Turturro MD
  • Tom Martin MD


  • Roberto Ortiz MD

Resource Group for Peer Supporters

  • Clifford Cohen LSW
  • Susan Oerkvitz PhD
  • Jeffery D Magill MS, CTR
  • Lakshmipathi Chelluri MD, MPH