Published January 28, 2022
The School of Nursing will use a nearly $2.3 million federal grant to design a “mindful approach” to reducing burnout and promoting resilience among health care workers in rural and underserved areas.
The grant, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, supports UB’s Health and Public Safety Workforce Resiliency Training Program.
The three-year program will develop a plan using evidence-based and/or evidence-informed strategies. These strategies are designed to reduce and address burnout, suicide and other mental health conditions, while also promoting resilience among health care students, residents, professionals, paraprofessionals, trainees and employers of such individuals in rural and medically underserved areas.
The program is especially crucial due to the strain and extra demands on health care professionals, according to university and government administrators instrumental in securing the grant.
“Addressing the mental health of our health care workforce is something we take quite seriously,” says Yu-Ping Chang, senior associate dean in the School of Nursing and principal investigator on the grant.
“Even prior to COVID, nurses, physicians and other health care professionals were experiencing a high level of stress and fatigue,” Chang explains. “The pandemic has only added to this problem. Caring for oneself while in the midst of caring for others is a demanding challenge, requiring specific attention and dedicated time to practice, which we will address through this very important project.”
Rep. Brian Higgins, whose office announced the grant, says the COVID-19 pandemic has put a considerable amount of pressure on New York State’s health care system, “especially on workers who have been on the front lines of the pandemic since Day One.”
“This grant provides critical funding for training to better address burnout and mental health, while promoting resiliency among health care professionals working in underserved communities,” Higgins says.
Addressing this concern is of particular importance as New York State became the epicenter for COVID-19 infections early in the global pandemic.
According to the most recent data, New York has been the hardest hit state in terms of job losses and deaths per capita due to COVID-19, placing an especially high burden on its health care workforce.
Three health care systems in rural and/or medically underserved areas in New York State will participate in the resiliency program, UB Nursing officials note.
This program will provide training that includes immediate short-term resiliency training, including an eight-week Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Program to meet the immediate needs of health care professionals; a Long-term Resiliency program consisting of core training workshops; and a Train-the-Trainer program to promote long-term sustainability for each partner organization.
The program also features a Steering Committee designed to assist with curriculum development — including monitoring and modifying for each organization’s needs — and a system-level protocol for promoting resilience, and for promoting equity, diversity and effectiveness of the program within each partner organization.
Additionally, the program puts in place a system-level protocol designed for promoting resilience, as well as diversity, equity and effectiveness at each organization.
All trainings will be offered to program participants free of charge. Funding provided by the grant will be used to hire personnel to carry out program activities, as well as cover costs associated with conducting trainings.
Andrea Manyon from the Department of Family Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and Christopher Barrick from the School of Nursing are co-investigators on the grant.