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Higgins: $1 million in federal funding for University at Buffalo to support health care workers


Mon, Jan 24th 2022 12:30 pm

Funding provides mental health support for medical professionals & students in underserved communities

Congressman Brian Higgins announced a federal grant totaling $1,079,333 awarded to the Research Foundation for the State University at New York. Funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the grant supports the University at Buffalo Health and Public Safety Workforce Resiliency Training Program.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put a considerable amount of pressure on New York state’s health care system, especially on workers who have been on the front lines of the pandemic since day one,” Higgins said. “This grant provides critical funding for training to better address burnout and mental health, while promoting resiliency among health care professionals working in underserved communities.”

Dr. Yu-Ping Chang, the UB School of Nursing’s senior associate dean and principal investigator on the grant, said, “Addressing the mental health of our health care workforce is something we take quite seriously. Even prior to COVID, nurses, physicians and other health care professionals were experiencing a high level of stress and fatigue. The pandemic has only added to this problem. Caring for oneself while in the midst of caring for others is a demanding challenge, requiring specific attention and dedicated time to practice, which we will address through this very important project.”

Early in the pandemic, New York state became the epicenter for coronavirus infections. Overall, the state has been hit particularly hard in terms of job losses and deaths due to COVID-19, placing a significant burden on its health care workforce. 

The grant provides support for the UB’s Health and Public Safety Workforce Resiliency Training program, which aims to cultivate resilience among health care professionals in the workplace through mindful approaches to workplace burnout. The program aims to develop health professions training activities designed to reduce and address burnout, suicide, and mental health conditions among health care students, residents, professionals, paraprofessionals, trainees and employers of those in rural and medically underserved communities.

Three health care systems across New York will participate in the program. UB will provide several trainings throughout the duration of the program, including immediate short-term resiliency training, an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program, a long-term resiliency training program with core training workshops, a “train-the-trainer” program to promote long-term organizational sustainability, and a steering committee designed to assist organizations with curriculum development. Additionally, the program put in place a system-level protocol designed for promoting resiliency, as well as diversity, equity and effectiveness at each organization.

All trainings will be offered to program participants free of charge. Funding provided by the grant will be used to hire personnel to carry out program activities. Additionally, it will cover the costs associating with conducting trainings.

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