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U of U Health Granted Nearly $3 million to Promote Resilience and Mental Health among Health Care Workforce

Resiliency Center
February 14, 2022 – The Resiliency Center at University of Utah Health (U of U Health) has been awarded a three-year grant of $2,955,996 from the US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for promoting resilience and mental health among the health care workforce. The Resiliency Center was created five years ago to foster wellness for all employees at U of U Health, both clinical and non-clinical. The awarded grant was titled, "Promoting Resilience among Healthcare Workers in Diverse Practice Settings in the Intermountain West."

The Resiliency Center directors—Amy Locke, MD; Megan Call, PhD; and Ellen Morrow, MD—led a team of investigators from multiple departments in this submission. "Only 10 groups were awarded this funding nationally," Call says. "It is a great opportunity for the collective efficacy for U of U Health. The timing of this award comes after two full years of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is stretching health care teams and individuals in unique ways, leading to high levels of persistent stress with concern for longer term mental health implications."

Locke described the goal of the project as continuing to refine the framework for considering the professional well-being of people who work in health care, increase the impact of programming, and expand this work to rural affiliate hospitals and the Utah Departments of Health and Human Services. "We plan to expand the influence of the Resiliency Center to a broader audience both internal and external to our medical center," Locke said. "We plan to design trainings with the intention of scalability to rural sites through virtual means, thereby increasing access to mental health support and reducing burnout throughout the Mountain West. It is essential that we focus on the complex nature of professional well-being and burnout with interventions that address individuals, teams, and leaders with an eye on personal well-being, the culture of the organization, and thoughtfully designed systems that supports our people."

When the Resiliency Center was created in 2017, it joined a nationwide push to address burnout. The center is aimed at supporting professional well-being through advocacy, programs, and collaboration. It exists as a convener and incubator for well-being work, using a collaborative approach to leverage skills and expertise across the university, creating a vision and road map for the organization with an aim to promote personal resilience, build a team culture of wellness, and inform system issues in a way that moves towards optimal work environments.

The HRSA grant is part of $103 million in American Rescue Plan funding, to be awarded over three years, to reduce burnout and promote mental health in the health care workforce. These awards, which take into particular consideration the needs of rural and medically underserved communities, will help health care organizations establish a culture of wellness among their workforce and support training efforts that build resiliency for those at the beginning of their health careers.