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American Medical Association Honors Northwestern Medicine For Promoting Well-Being Of Health Care Workers

Northwestern Medicine is one of only ten organizations nationally to receive the gold-level distinction

CHICAGO – October 3, 2023 – Northwestern Medicine has earned recognition from the American Medical Association (AMA) as a Joy in Medicine™ gold-level recognized organization, one of just ten nationally. The prestigious AMA distinction is granted only to organizations that attest to 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.

“As a health system, we have made the health and well-being of our physicians, nurses and staff a high priority to ensure that we are caring for those that care for our patients,” said Howard Chrisman, MD, president and chief executive officer, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare. “We are committed to creating an environment that provides our employees with programs and offerings that support those in need and nurture those that are thriving.”

Committed to improving the health and wellness of their employees, in March 2022, Northwestern Medicine created the Office of Well-Being and named Gaurava Agarwal, MD, as Chief Wellness Executive for the health system. Under Dr. Agarwal’s leadership, the Office of Well-Being supports the health system’s desire to achieve the Quadruple Aim through a variety of programs and numerous collaborative partnerships with stakeholders across the health system.

Current programs offer by Northwestern Medicine’s Office of Well-Being include:

·       Scholars of Wellness a professional development program with the objective to create a critical mass of wellness experts to drive meaningful change at NM.

·       P2P Peer to Peer Support – a confidential peer-to-peer service that provides acute, emotional, and psychological first aid to clinicians who experience adverse events

·       I.G.N.I.T.E. Employee Groups organization sponsored, peer-led meetings with the goal of encouraging collegiality, shared experience, connection, and meaning in work to improve and support professional well-being. 

It was an honor to be first recognized in 2019 at a bronze level but to achieve gold level, the highest designation, is a reflection of the commitment we have made to the well-being of our people. Our goal is to empower our leaders so they can identify and deploy efforts that will create positive and efficient work environments for teams and individuals,” said Gaurava Agarwal, MD, Vice President, Chief Wellness Executive, Northwestern Medicine. “The well-being of our workforce is essential to sustain a thriving, high-performing workplace that continues to advance our Patients First mission.”

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 past, 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.”

"The goal of the Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program is to unite the health care community in building a nationwide culture committed to the well-being of clinical care teams by helping health organizations invest in action plans promoting professional fulfillment and meaning that clinicians find in caring for their patients,” said Christine Sinsky, M.D., AMA vice president of professional satisfaction. 

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.

To learn more about Northwestern Medicine, visit http://news.nm.org/about-northwestern-medicine.html.

Learn more about the AMA Joy in Medicine™ Health System Recognition Program at ama-assn.org/joyinmedicine