AMA honors Sanford Health for promoting clinician well-being

Health system earns recognition for preventing work-related stress and burnout

AMA honors Sanford Health for promoting clinician well-being

Sanford Health has earned gold recognition from the American Medical Association as a Joy in Medicine recognized organization.

The prestigious AMA distinction is granted only to organizations that attest to the rigorous criteria of the Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program and demonstrate a commitment to preserving the well-being of clinical care team members through proven efforts to combat work-related stress and burnout.

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“At Sanford Health, it is our philosophy to be purposeful with our intent of making sure our clinicians enjoy their practice,” said Heather Spies, M.D., physician director of clinician experience & well-being. “We know that when we invest in our clinicians, we’re ensuring all of our patients receive the best care possible. This recognition is a testament to our dedication to the well-being of our caregivers.”

Burnout rates among the nation’s physicians and other health care professionals spiked dramatically as the COVID-19 pandemic placed acute stress on care teams and exacerbated long-standing system issues. While the worst days of the pandemic have passed, the lingering impact of work-related burnout remains an obstacle to achieving national health goals.

Caring for the caregivers

“Health organizations that have earned recognition from the AMA’s Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program are leading a national movement that has declared the well-being of health professionals to be an essential element for providing high-quality care to patients, families and communities,” said AMA President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., M.P.H. “Each Joy in Medicine recognized organization is distinguished as among the nation’s best at creating a culture of wellness that makes a difference in the lives of clinical care teams.”

“The goal of the Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program is to unite the health care community in building a nationwide culture committed to the well-being of clinical care teams by helping health organizations invest in action plans promoting professional fulfillment and meaning that clinicians find in caring for their patients,” said Christine Sinsky, M.D., AMA vice president of professional satisfaction.

Sanford Health has built a culture of well-being through:

  • An enterprise clinician well-being council
  • Peer support groups
  • A mentorship program
  • A clinician assistance program that includes confidential counseling
  • A professional practice support program with peer coaching
  • The RISES clinician leadership development program rooted in encouraging self-care, wellness, building relationships and promoting healthy work-family-life integration

Since its inception in 2019, the Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program has recognized more than 100 organizations across the country. In 2022, a total of 72 health systems nationwide earned recognition with documented efforts to reduce system-level drivers of work-related burnout and demonstrated competencies in commitment, assessment, leadership, efficiency of practice environment, teamwork, and support.

Learn more about the AMA Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program at

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Posted In Awards & Recognition, Company News, News, People & Culture, Physicians and APPs, Workplace Health