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Marcy Sanchez / Military Health System

Medical school deans and other health care leaders are convening in Washington Friday to figure out ways to change the medical education system so fewer students and physicians feel stressed or depressed — and to stem the number of doctors who are killing themselves.

Why this matters: Researchers estimate that roughly 400 doctors commit suicide every year, putting medical professionals near the top for suicide rates. And more than half of physicians show signs of burnout or depression often due to the taxing, life-or-death nature of the job, among other factors. That adversely affects physicians as well as the patients they see.

"When anybody is burned out and they go to work every day, they're not putting their heart into it. The person is more likely to make mistakes," said Dr. Christine Cassel, the dean of Kaiser Permanente's medical school that is opening in 2019 and hosting the meeting.

Go deeper

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
4 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

6 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.