Feds Provide Nearly $3 Million to Area Health Centers to Address Frontline Worker Stress

Dr. Guy Fish, president and CEO of Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, shakes hands in August of 2021 with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra while state Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and Congresswoman Lori Trahan look on. (Courtesy photograph.)

The ancient proverb “Physician, heal thyself,” received a literal endorsement this week when the federal government formally awarded area health centers nearly $3 million.

The money is aimed at improving “the retention of health care workers and help respond to the nation’s critical staffing needs by reducing burnout and promoting mental health and wellness among the health care workforce.” The grant was awarded to the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers,” which serves the needs of the state’ 52 community health center organizations, including Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, which operates in Lawrence, Haverhill and Methuen.

“I have traveled to many health centers across the country and know that the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified issues that have long been a source of stress for frontline health care workers — from increased patient volumes to long working hours,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “This funding reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensuring we have enough critical frontline workers by supporting health care providers now and beyond as they face burnout and mental health challenges. We will continue to promote the well-being of those who have made so many sacrifices to keep others well.”

The grant comes from the American Rescue Plan Act.

According to officials, “COVID-19 has compounded rates of depression and anxiety among health care workers. The relentless physical and emotional demands of treating patients during a pandemic have exacerbated longstanding barriers to workplace well-being. While the challenge is complex, these multi-year awards will support proven strategies for health care providers, academic institutions and other recipients to reduce burnout and build resiliency.”

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