July 2022

Members & Publications


Dr. Heidi Chen Interviews AAPM&R President Dr. Deborah Venesy

1. How do you approach setting new or modifying pre-existing goals as you transition to a new year? How do you keep yourself accountable for these goals? 

Yes, I set goals.  I’ve worked at The Cleveland Clinic for over 20 years, and the Clinic conducts an Annual Professional Review (APR) for all professional staff physicians. The overall goal of our APR is to map out our personal and professional development.  It’s a two-part process that includes my yearly review with my boss and a periodic review (usually every other year, but can meet yearly) with a member of the Cleveland Clinic Board of Governors (a physician, different specialty). It’s a good way or method for me to review my own professional and personal goals. I know that if I write something down, I am more likely to achieve it (and this is coming from a verbal processor)!

2. Do you have any tips for avoiding burnout? How do you stay inspired?

My husband and I talked about this tonight on our walk. He reminded me of a quote from one of our favorite books we listened to a couple of times, Stress Management for Professionals by Roger Mellott. Roger’s quote went something like this: identify what you value, and support it behaviorally. Meaning, if you value exercise—like we do, do it!  I walk and bike for exercise—both clear my mind.  I like walking because I can walk & talk with my husband or one of our kids—great one on one time, great exercise outside, plus our yellow lab loves the exercise too.

Volunteering is another way I avoid burnout. I'm a lifelong volunteer—if we focus on others, it’s hard to get bogged down with other concerns.  Volunteering with our Academy, our church, our kids’ schools and numerous other things keeps me engaged and helps prevent burnout.

Another habit of ours---every night, at dinner, we go around the table and share our highs of the day.  When our kids were younger, we encouraged everyone to share at least three “highs”.  Some of their “highs” were very funny, and we still laugh about them today. Dan and I were teaching resilience without even knowing it!  And yes, we still go around the dinner table and share our highs of the day (no lows of the day)

How do I stay inspired? I believe my passion is internally driven; it’s certainly shaped by my family and upbringing. My entire family is super supportive—I am inspired  by my mom, my husband, my three brothers and our kids (Matt and Katie).  I’m inspired by my work colleagues and spine fellows—I learn a lot from them.  I listen/read about leadership—Brene Brown, Adam Grant, Emmanuel Acho, and many other good TED talks.  I love listening to Brene Brown’s two podcasts, “Dare to Lead” and “Unlocking Us”. Her interviews and conversations are fantastic. She’s interviewed a wide range of very inspiring people—which in turn has lengthened my list of books to read and broadened my knowledge.

3. What are some habits that you've developed over the years that increase your productivity? 

I’m a list maker.  I’ve learned not to make the lists too long or nothing gets done.

4. What has been the most difficult skill that you have had to develop over the years? 

Several! My top three, not in any particular order:

  1. Providing feedback (I like Brene’s quote, “clear is kind.”).
  2. Writing my monthly article or opinion piece for the Physiatrist!  
  3. Public speaking