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UCHealth recognized by American Medical Association for commitment to well-being of health care professionals

Oct. 19, 2021

Colorado Springs, Colo.  (Oct. 19, 2021) – UCHealth was recognized by the American Medical Association for its demonstrated commitment to the well-being of physicians and other  health care workers, many of whom have experienced work-related stress and burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UCHealth’s southern Colorado region – which includes Memorial Hospital Central, Memorial Hospital North, Grandview Hospital and Pikes Peak Regional Hospital – and UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora were among 44 recipients of the 2021 Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program.

Candidates for the recognition were evaluated according to their documented efforts to reduce work-related burnout, according to the AMA. Scoring criteria was based on demonstrated competencies in commitment, assessment, leadership, efficiency of practice environment, teamwork and support.

“When we created the Physician Wellness Program in UCHealth’s southern Colorado region, we recognized that we needed to address the system-based drivers of burnout as well as promote the individual resilience of physicians,” said Dr. Robert Lam, director of physician wellness and an emergency medicine physician.  “We wanted to make sure we were working to measure the root causes of the burnout epidemic as we continually strive to make the workplace better for our medical staff. This recognition highlights that efforts are aligned with the best practices of creating an optimal working environment to promote the joy of practicing medicine.”

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.

“We are thrilled to be alongside so many outstanding organizations as we all progress in our journey to decrease burnout and enhance the inherent Joy in Medicine that brought us all to this field,” said Dr. Elizabeth Harry, UCHealth’s senior medical director of well-being. “We are excited to continue our journey in this space with all of our care team partners as we navigate the ever-changing pressure health care faces.”

“Hospitals are filled with stressful situations and the constant need to be focused on our patients,” said Joel Yuhas, president and CEO of UCHealth Memorial.  “Creating and maintaining a work environment for our employees and providers that allows each person to practice at top of scope and deliver their best is central to our ability to fulfill our mission of improving lives. I am grateful for the dedication of our health care family at UCHealth, which breathes our mission each and every day, even in the most trying of times as experienced during this pandemic.”

AMA President Dr. Gerald E. Harmon also cited the extraordinary stress experienced by physicians and other health care professionals over the past 19 months. “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,” he said. “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.”

Other recipients included Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, Mayo Clinic, Boston Medical Center, Michigan Medicine University of Michigan, Stanford University, UPMC, Orlando Health and University of Utah Health.

About UCHealth

UCHealth is an innovative, nonprofit health system that delivers the highest quality medical care with an excellent patient experience. UCHealth includes 26,000 employees, 12 acute-care full-service hospitals and hundreds of physicians across Colorado, southern Wyoming and western Nebraska. With University of Colorado Hospital on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus as its academic anchor and the only adult academic medical center in the region, UCHealth is dedicated to providing unmatched patient care in the Rocky Mountain West. Offering more than 150 clinic locations, UCHealth pushes the boundaries of medicine, providing advanced treatments and clinical trials and improving health through innovation.

Cary Vogrin
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