Milken to Host Federal Pandemic Burnout Initiative – The GW Hatchet

Media credit: Grace Hromin | Master Photo Editor

A recent survey of healthcare workers found that the majority reported mental health impacts from the pandemic.

A research institute at the Milken Institute School of Public Health was awarded $6 million earlier this month to mount a federal initiative to address burnout and stress among healthcare professionals during the pandemic.

The Health Resources and Services Administration awarded the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute of Health Workforce Equity grant to develop an organizational hub where 44 higher education institutions and health systems will exchange potential support services over the next three years . The HRSA will fund grants for institutions to create a training program and mental health promotion system for health professionals alongside the center.

Candice Chen, project manager and associate professor of health policy and management, said the Technical Assistance Center for Workforce Resilience in Health and Public Safety will provide recipients with webinars and trainings to combat the burnout in healthcare.

“We want to make sure that we’re really maximizing their work, their learnings, and making sure they’re available to those who need them,” she said.

Chen said the center will oversee how grantees advance their work with potential changes such as new methods of childcare delivery and observe each organization’s health care environment to learn more. learn more about the current challenges that must become national priorities.

She said the center will provide beneficiaries with technical assistance to professionals such as emergency medical technicians who might be under pressure to obtain medical certifications. She said the impact of the pandemic on healthcare personnel has increased burnout and suicide rates among doctors and nurses.

“COVID is only increasing the strain on our healthcare workers exponentially, so it’s really important to draw attention to this issue so that we can begin to address some of the underlying issues,” said Chen.

According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Washington Post, of more than 1,300 frontline healthcare workers, 55% experienced burnout and 62% reported mental health impacts from the pandemic.

Patricia Pittman, co-investigator on the project and director of the Mullan Institute, said the institute will not work directly with healthcare professionals, but will host learning sessions to assess care burnout initiatives. health of beneficiaries and ensure that organizations improve.

She said the center is preparing to meet soon with its partners — the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Moral Injury of Healthcare and the American Federation of Teachers — and the 44 beneficiaries. She said the center team will include healthcare workers from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the School of Nursing.

“There will be a lot of readings and interviews, and we will share this work with all the organizations that are in the Technical Assistance Center,” she said. “Everyone is very interested in understanding what’s happening on the ground and what the plans will have and we’re going to convene those beneficiaries.”

Public health experts have said the new center will address the need to address burnout and mental issues in healthcare communities and can target personal issues faced by healthcare workers, such as a increased stress.

Ralph DiClemente, associate dean for public health innovation at the New York University School of Global Health, said the tools and resources the center provides to other institutions will depend on the level of burnout and the challenges professionals face. of health are faced within these institutions. communities.

DiClemente said healthcare communities should use tools like surveys so healthcare workers can convey the specific solutions and strategies they need to address burnout and improve their health. mental.

“I hope some strategies will be developed through this program to compensate for this lack of personal interaction and personal touch, if you will, so that people feel more engaged and supported,” he said. .

Joseph Amon, director of Drexel University’s Office of Global Health, said the center can identify healthcare professionals’ needs and strategies to meet them, but should provide larger-scale solutions for improve the structural factors that make work in the field of health. difficult care industry.

“Healthcare workers are an incredibly important frontline resource that we need to protect and support as much as possible,” he said.

Zahaan Riyaz contributed reporting.

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