• Press Release

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Receives New HRSA Grant to Promote Well-Being and Enhance Resiliency Among Health Care Workers

$2.1 million grant will fund a new training initiative to reduce mental health burden associated with health care and the COVID-19 pandemic

  • New York, NY
  • (February 16, 2022)

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has been awarded a three-year, $2.1 million Health Workforce Resiliency grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) to develop a new training initiative that will promote well-being, enhance resilience, and aim to reduce the burden of mental health conditions, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation among the health professional workforce.

The grant will fund the development, implementation, and staffing of CARE (Culture, Access, Resilience, Education): Enhancing Resilience and Mental Health in the Mount Sinai Health Care Workforce Through Training, Access to Care and Culture Transformation. A collaboration between Mount Sinai’s Office of Well-Being and Resilience and the Center for Stress, Resilience, and Personal Growth, this undertaking will deliver innovative team-based training interventions supported by system-level, structural initiatives that promote a culture of well-being and workplace efficiency. The grant will also expand behavioral health care screening and treatment programs offered through the Center.

“Mount Sinai’s workforce, in particular our front-line care workers, have long experienced the significant mental health burden associated with working in a health care environment—a burden that has been exacerbated over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jonathan Ripp, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Medical Education, and Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Dean for Well-Being and Resilience, and Chief Wellness Officer at Icahn Mount Sinai.

“Although Mount Sinai has been a leader in responding to the psychosocial needs of our workforce, the breadth and reach of our efforts pale in comparison with the increased burden that our vast and diverse workforce is facing, and will continue to face, in light of the pandemic. This grant recognizes our pioneering work in this space, but more importantly, it provides us with timely, vital support to ramp up our mental health efforts, particularly among our emergency departments and intensive care units, where the impact of the pandemic has been acute.”

CARE has two educational training components. One, “Targeted Onsite Resilience and Mental Health Training,” will initially focus on engaging and building resilience among health care workers in high-need patient care units, where the risk of burnout and other mental health symptoms is high, before being rolled out to the entire Mount Sinai workforce. The other component, “Leadership Training in Well-being Culture and Practice Efficiency,” will enable unit leaders to develop the skills and demonstrate the behaviors necessary to foster a workplace culture that continually promotes well-being and resilience and nurtures mental and emotional health. Training will be paired with two system-level well-being support intervention components: an enhanced mental health screening, referral, and treatment program, and a Health System well-being culture communications initiative. Interventions will include resiliency huddles for Mount Sinai’s emergency department and intensive care unit teams and expanded access to behavioral health care services.

“There are many contributors to burnout and adverse mental health in the health care setting, necessitating a coordinated, multipronged approach to achieve a significant, lasting impact in reducing that burden,” said Jonathan DePierro, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Icahn Mount Sinai and Clinical and Research Director of the Center for Stress, Resilience and Personal Growth. “Through CARE, we are taking a strategic, comprehensive approach to mental wellness that will raise awareness, destigmatize supports, provide training, and contribute to structural change at all levels so that we can maximize our impact and provide ongoing support for our entire workforce.”

Development of the CARE program and supporting curricula is underway and the grant will facilitate the recruitment of staff to coordinate these efforts, deliver training, and provide expanded behavioral health care services. “The project goals are to pilot these programs, determine what works, refine the curricula, and create a sustainability plan to ensure that these programs remain fully accessible to faculty and staff long after the grant period,” said Lauren Peccoralo, MD, MPH, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Well-Being and Development, and Associate Professor of Medicine at Icahn Mount Sinai. “As we build out and refine these programs, curricula, and processes, we can achieve better outcomes for our workforce in terms of their well-being and for our patients in terms of enhanced care.”

“We also intend to share the models we develop and the insights we gain with other health care centers in keeping with the reporting requirements of HRSA but also with our mission as an academic center,” added Dr. Ripp. “In doing so, we hope to advance the field’s ability to address well-being and mental health issues, so the result of our efforts could be multiplicative.”

About the Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in several pediatric specialties. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: It is consistently ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools," aligned with a U.S. News & World Report "Honor Roll" Hospital, and top 20 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding and top 5 in the nation for numerous basic and clinical research areas. Newsweek’s “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals” ranks The Mount Sinai Hospital as No. 1 in New York and in the top five globally, and Mount Sinai Morningside in the top 20 globally.

For more information, visit https://www.mountsinai.org or find Mount Sinai on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.