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American Medical Association honors UM Health-West for promoting well-being of healthcare workers

University of Michigan Health-West has earned recognition from the American Medical Association (AMA) as a Joy in Medicine recognized organization. The prestigious bronze AMA distinction is granted to organizations that meet 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.

“UM Health-West is honored to receive bronze recognition from the AMA for our initiatives that enhance the well-being of our team members,” said Angelica VanderLaan, UM Health Partners lead innovation program coordinator and chief of staff. “Our mission is to provide opportunities for personal growth, positive practices, and promote a culture of compassion to improve overall well-being of our physicians, advance practice providers and staff so they can provide the best care for our patients.”

UM Health-West has developed an internal well-being culture through several programs. Since July 2022, 50 staff members have received Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) debriefing training, offering support for traumatic incidents. High Reliability Organizing training was introduced last year to prevent clinical adverse events and promote transparency. UM Health-West collaborated with the Mental Health Foundation to develop a two-year suicide awareness and prevention curriculum, training staff in mental health first aid as Be Nice champions. The organization’s Office of Professional Well-Being also established a well-being advocate network, cultivating comradery through team leaders, plus electronic environment elbow-to-elbow support services, executive coaching, Ask-Listen-Empower (ALE) sessions, provider communication and recognition programs which decrease burnout and foster community and engagement. These efforts reflect UM Health-West’s commitment to staff well-being and mental health support.

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.

“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.”

Since its inception in 2019, the Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program has recognized more than 100 organizations across the country. In 2023, 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