The American Medical Association has recognized Sanford Health as a recipient of the 2021 Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program. The AMA distinction recognized an elite group of 44 health systems for their demonstrated commitment to preserving the well-being of health care team members by engaging in proven efforts to combat work-related stress and burnout.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed extraordinary stress on physicians and other health care professionals,” said AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, M.D. “While it is always important for health systems to focus on the well-being of care teams, the imperative is greater than ever as acute stress from combatting the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to higher rates of work overload, anxiety, and depression. The health systems we recognize today are true leaders in promoting an organizational response that makes a difference in the lives of the health care workforce.”
A national study examining the experiences of physicians and other health care workers who worked in health care systems during the COVID-19 pandemic found that 38% self-reported experiencing anxiety or depression, while 43% suffered from work overload and 49% had burnout.
Candidates for the Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program were evaluated according to their documented efforts to reduce work-related burnout through system level drivers. Scoring criteria was based on demonstrated competencies in commitment, assessment, leadership, efficiency of practice environment, teamwork and support.
“At Sanford Health, we are intent on ensuring that our people are treated as human beings first and as clinicians second,” said Heather Spies, M.D., physician director of clinician experience and well-being. “This award is a testament to being deliberate and purposeful in how we invest in and support our clinicians. We have a comprehensive strategy to support the well-being of our caregivers and promote awareness and prevention of mental health issues. We want our clinicians to know that it’s OK to not be OK sometimes.”
Sanford Health has built a culture of well-being through resiliency groups, trainings, mentorship, a clinician assistance program that provides confidential counseling, a physician wellness council and other programs that encourage self-care, wellness and a healthy work-family-life balance.
Launched in 2019, the Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program is a component of the AMA’s practice transformation efforts, an ambitious initiative to advance evidence-based solutions that fill the knowledge gap in effective solutions to the physician burnout crisis.
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