On March 10, 2021, UIHealth kicked off the first virtual UIH Emotional Well-being and Recovery Town Hall with UIH Leadership (VCHA Robert Barish, CEO Mike Zenn, COM Dean Mark Rosenblatt, CNO Shelly Major, and CMO Terry VandenHoek) along with keynote speaker Josh Morganstein, MD, Associate Professor and Assistant Director at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress in the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Morganstein is a recognized expert on stress and trauma and has consulted with several local, national and international organizations to support the well-being of individuals and communities adversely impacted by traumatic events.
Dr. Morganstein described stressors as representing a broad spectrum in both their nature and magnitude, and further described our physiological and psychological responses to stress as also being broad and diverse - and often normal and appropriate responses. Therefore, support and interventions should be customized to individuals and groups based on their special circumstances and preferences as much as possible.
In preparation for the Town Hall, a needs assessment was sent to all UIH staff, trainees and faculty as part of our effort to develop mechanisms and strategies tailored to the emotional needs of UIH staff.
It was apparent from the responses that COVID-19 was the primary stressor over the last 6-12 months. A significant number of respondents indicated difficulty with stress/tension/anxiety, sleep, social support and balancing work-life challenges. With regard to the nature of the support and interventions that they would like to see, respondents expressed preferences for ‘wellness’ based interventions including nutritional education, sleep hygiene, mindfulness, and concentration and meditation exercises. There was also interest in short-term talk therapy.
This Town Hall is the first of what we hope will be a series of conversations and dialogues with the staff and leadership of UIH over the next several months to best meet the identified needs and serve UIH staff, trainees and faculty more effectively in the future.