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Schwartz Center launches new initiative to improve well-being for health care workers

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Six organizations to implement programs based on six principles for healthy workplace culture.

Six health care organizations will launch a new program that aims to improve patient care while enhancing well-being for physicians, other clinicians, and support staff.

The nonprofit Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare announced its inaugural Healing Healthcare Initiative (HHI) to provide solutions that improve workers’ well-being, “so they can focus on delivering equitable, compassionate patient care.” Six institutions around the country will combine six principles with evidence-based resources, tools, and support for staff members.

“We know that around 60% of health workers experience burnout. They are exhausted and stretched thin at best – and at worst they are anxious, depressed and suffering from traumatic stress,” Schwartz Center Chief Medical Officer Beth Lown, MD, said in a news release. “This is causing hospital and health systems to experience unprecedented health worker shortages, leading to financial strain and increased medical errors.

“The Schwartz Center has developed this new initiative to achieve real progress in healing our health care system, so health workers can heal their patients,” Lown said.

The six organizations are:

  • Children's Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Denver Health in Denver, Colorado
  • New York City Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, New York City, New York
  • TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital Houston, Texas
  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Medical Center, Little Rock, Arkansas

HHI will focus on six key principles, according to the Schwartz Center:

  • Diversity and Equity: Promotes equity by identifying, addressing and dismantling all forms of structural discrimination and racism.
  • Inclusion, Voice and Choice: Ensures inclusion by involving its health workers in decision-making and creating solutions.
  • Mental Health and Well-being: Values its health workers’ mental health and wellbeing by reducing stigma, investing in programs and addressing systemic barriers.
  • Psychological and Physical Safety: Protects its health workers and patients by creating a safe, trusted environment.
  • Team Cohesiveness and Collaboration: Fosters mutual respect, shared purpose and collaborative learning among its health workers.
  • Trust and Trustworthiness: Builds trust with its patients and health workers by involving them in organization updates and decisions.

“Systems change can feel overwhelming, and it’s certainly complex,” Lown said. “But the Healing Healthcare Initiative was designed to help healthcare leaders navigate this complexity and feel confident in the solutions they advance because they are rooted in the six key principles vital for a health system to deliver quality, compassionate care by a thriving workforce. We hope to help leaders break down silos and integrate existing work across their organizations.”

The Schwartz Center was founded by the late Kenneth B. Schwartz, health care attorney who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1994. The center’s mission is to put compassion at the heart of health care through programs, education, and advocacy, and it has more than 600 member organizations in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

HHI was developed and is offered with support of the Brave of Heart Fund, founded by the foundations of New York Life and Cigna, and administered by E4E Relief, according to the Schwartz Center. E4E Relieve receives donations from Bank of America and other financial and technology businesses.

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