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Temple Health Honored by American Medical Association for Promoting Well-Being of Health Care Workers

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The health system is one of only 28 organizations nationwide – and the only hospital system in Philadelphia – to earn recognition.

Temple Health is one of only 28 organizations nationwide – and the only hospital system in Philadelphia – to earn recognition today from the American Medical Association’s Joy in Medicine™ Health System Recognition Program. The AMA distinction is granted only to those organizations that demonstrate a commitment to preserving the well-being of clinical care team members by engaging in proven efforts to combat work-related stress and burnout.

“We are pleased that the AMA has chosen us as one of the recipients of their Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program,” said Michael A. Young, MHA, FACHE, President and CEO of Temple University Health System. “Here at Temple, collaboration, teamwork, wellness and resilience go to the core of our culture. The array of well-being and recognition programs we offer to our physicians and staff are second to none and we look forward to building on this momentum.”

“Health systems that have earned recognition from the AMA’s Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program have demonstrated that the well-being of health professionals is essential to caring for the health and wellness of patients, families, and communities,” said AMA President Jack Resneck Jr., MD. “United by a commitment to build a culture of wellness that energizes care teams, the recipients of the Joy in Medicine Recognition are at the forefront and among the best at creating a workplace that makes a difference in the lives of clinical caregivers.”

A 2021 report based on research led by the AMA shows that “feeling valued by one’s organization was strongly associated with lower stress” and serves as a protective factor against work-related physician burnout. This important finding has paved the way for many organizations to re-examine how leadership, culture, peer support, and removing obstacles to patient care act together to create the conditions where joy, purpose, and meaning in medicine are possible. This year’s Joy in Medicine recipients have all taken important steps to support physician well-being for the long term.

In early 2020, the Temple University Hospital Practitioner Wellness Committee was restructured under direction from Medical Staff Leadership, fortuitously just before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The committee, led by Chair Stacey Jeronis, MD, Professor and Associate Chair of Clinical Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, along with Vice Chair Megan Healy, MD, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, both at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, meets monthly and includes junior-level, mid-level, and senior-level faculty and representatives from across the health system. The committee aims to address three key components of practitioner well-being: a culture of wellness, practice efficiency/systems issues, and personal resilience. In the short time since its inception, the committee’s initiatives have included:

  • A wellness mini grants program. Physicians and advanced practice practitioners can apply for funding for a wellness-related initiative – two were just funded.
  • Improved schedule autonomy for providers through changes to the “bump” rules for scheduling.
  • The Temple Peer Support Network. Practitioners who have a difficult case or who need to vent can request a check-in call with a peer.
  • Minimal meeting month, which is now a standing annual initiative to cancel non-essential meetings in August.
  • Peer recognition awards. The Owl Ribbon Awards recognizing outstanding professionalism, teamwork, and leadership are featured in the committee’s newsletter.
  • An electronic health record (EHR) audit.
  • Interdepartmental grand rounds series on key wellness issues.
  • A burnout assessment for all practitioners, with specialty-level feedback shared with leadership.
  • A lactation room was created in the main OR space in response to feedback from surgeons.

The AMA began the Joy in Medicine Recognition Program in 2019 to create momentum for wide-spanning change in the culture of medicine that emphasizes professional well-being in health care. This year, 28 health systems nationwide earned recognition, representing more than 80,000 physicians, 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. This year’s recipients join over 50 organizations representing more than 120,000 physicians, recognized by the program since its inception in 2019.