HHS awards grants to fight healthcare worker burnout and well-being

The Department of Health and Human Services has selected recipients of a $103 million grant to address burnout for healthcare workers and improve their mental health and well-being. announced Thursday.

The money provided under the American Plan of Rescue Act and distributed by the Health Resources and Services Administration will be divided among 45 grant recipients. According to an HRSA press release, the grants are focusing on programs in underserved and rural communities. The dollars will fund projects including hiring resilience educators to support medical staff, establishing system-wide wellness programs, and developing initiatives to address the stigma associated with health care workers seeking treatment for mental disorders.

“We see these investments as vital not only to the well-being of individual healthcare providers, but to the health and well-being of all of us,” HRSA administrator Carol Johnson said in a phone call Thursday. “A healthy population requires a healthy workforce.”

Ten organizations, including academic medical centers and community health centers, will receive a total of $28.6 million over three years to develop or improve programs that promote the mental health and well-being of healthcare workers.

The Centro de Salud de la Comunidad de San Ysidro in San Diego, Centerstone of Illinois, the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers in Worcester, and Washington University in St. Louis are the largest grant recipients. Each will receive $2,956,000 over three years.

An additional 34 organizations will receive a total of $68.2 million to develop training programs for nurses and other healthcare professionals to reduce burnout and build resilience.

The Health System Pharmacists Association plans to use the money to develop a wellness ambassador program that will raise awareness of burnout among pharmacists and support local wellbeing strategies, especially among those who practice in tribal, rural or other underserved areas. .

“We are honored to be selected by HRSA to lead this important effort as part of our longstanding commitment to improving the well-being and resilience of pharmacy and healthcare workers,” said Paul Abramowitz, CEO of the Health System Pharmacists Association.

The Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers will develop customized programs at five clinics to address mental health and burnout issues and help integrate these efforts into daily activities.

“As the shortage of staff in the healthcare system becomes more acute, medical centers have been hit the hardest. Resilience and wellness programs offer a critical recruitment and retention tool to attract and retain a strong and healthy workforce,” Toole, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Kerin O., wrote in an email.

The $6 million grant will also establish a national technical assistance center for health worker resilience and public safety at George Washington University. The center will provide assistance to 45 grant recipients and bring the lessons learned from grant projects to a wider range of healthcare professionals, Johnson said.

Health care workers are reporting staggering levels of burnout and stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. An American Medical Association survey found that 49% of the nearly 21,000 workers surveyed experienced burnout between May and October 2020.

Many healthcare professionals have quit their jobs during the pandemic, and nearly half of respondents in a recent Doximity survey of doctors said they were considering leaving the field.

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