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In January 2022, Debora Goldberg, associate professor in Mason’s College of Public Health, was awarded a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) cooperative agreement to create Mason’s Health and Public Safety Workforce Resiliency Training Program. The program delivers education and training activities to advance the overall safety, health, and well-being of a diverse population of nurses, social workers, public health practitioners, and health care leaders practicing in rural and underserved communities.
“Our resiliency program is helping front line health care workers and managers prioritize their staff’s mental health and well-being, as well as their own. The burnout these workers feel is real and constant due to longer work hours, inadequate staffing, sleep deprivation, and increased exposure to death and dying. Our program will improve the lives of health care workers, which will help them be more present and improve the health and well-being of their patients,” said Goldberg.
Here are some of the actions the program has taken in its initial year:
More than 200 undergraduate students completed the GCH325 Stress and Well-Being course in 2022. Since July 2022, the program provided tuition support for 51 undergraduate students with a major or minor in health-related fields. Around 100 students will receive tuition funding to complete the course in 2023 and 2024.
The Leading Thriving Organizations Certificate Program, developed by the Mason Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, focuses on leaders in the health care industry. The five-week leadership training program examines organizational contributors to employee health and well-being, humanity at work, and how to manage stress in the workplace. So far 17 public health leaders and managers have been trained with plans to train another 54 in 2023.
In 2022, 29 health care professionals completed the Mental Health First Aid Certificate course. The course will be offered to community health care professionals four times in 2023. Mental Health First Aid teaches skills to respond to the signs of mental illness and substance use.
Goldberg and her team have plans to offer a resilience program for frontline health care workers and are currently working with a vendor to build a virtual reality simulation case to address workplace violence.
Additionally, Goldberg presented at the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Panel Discussion on "Sustainable Strategies to Support Resiliency and Professional Well-being for Healthcare” in December 2022. This year, program experts are scheduled to speak at multiple conferences to advance knowledge on health workforce issues, specifically addressing mental health challenges among health care professionals.
The program’s next event is Caring for Your Well-Being Through Reflective Writing on Thursday, March 30 at 3 pm in the Population Health Center’s Multipurpose Room. In this interactive workshop, individual well-being is explored through writing to help you process events. Email Leslie Wilcox at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to RSVP.