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09:02 AM

AMA Recognizes Health Systems that Care for the Caregivers

As half of health care workers report burnout amid COVID-19, AMA acknowledges achievements that improve joy in medicine

The American Medical Association (AMA) recognized 44 health care organizations as recipients of the 2021 Joy in Medicine™ Health System Recognition Program. The AMA distinction recognizes health systems with a 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.”

Children’s Mercy Kansas City was one of the groups recognized.

“A robust wellbeing program is no longer just something nice for organizations to have, it is a must. It’s also important to note that wellbeing initiatives that only address personal resilience are not enough to reduce burnout.” said Dr. Angela Myers, Interim Medical Director, Center for Professional Wellbeing, Children’s Mercy Kansas City.

“In response to the pandemic, we quickly implemented a COVID-19 Employee Wellbeing Support Team that offers support directly to teams to help manage the new stressors we all experienced - changes in work environment, feelings of isolation, anxiety about COVID-19 and the stress of managing work and home,” said Stephanie Burrus, Interim Chief Wellbeing Officer. “We also have extensive support services including mindfulness-based stress reduction classes, virtual support groups and 1:1 sessions with licensed clinical social workers.”

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.

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.

“The recognition program offers a roadmap to guide health system leaders who are interested, engaged and committed in efforts to fight the root causes of burnout in the health care workforce,” said AMA Vice President of Professional Satisfaction Christine Sinsky, M.D. “The 44 health systems recognized this year by the AMA are creating momentum in the health care community for a united commitment to widespanning change in the culture of medicine that emphasizes professional well-being in health care.

The AMA continues to work on every front to address the physician burnout crisis. Through our research, collaborations, advocacy and leadership, the AMA is working to make the patient‐physician relationship more valued than paperwork, preventive care the focus of the future, technology an asset and not a burden, and physician burnout a thing of the past.


See the full list of organizations recognized as 2021 Joy in Medicine Health Systems